‘I’ve become a lot tougher’: Expatriate teachers’ experiences of precarity and resilience in non-traditional international schools in China

Adam Poole, Tristan Bunnell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The arena of education known as ‘international schooling’ has grown enormously, from a body of 2,500 schools in 2000 to almost 13,500 by 2022. By 2019, China had emerged as having the most schools delivering a non-national curriculum in English outside of an English-speaking nation. The arena continues to be dominated by British and North American educators. One enduring aspect of workplace reality is the short-term contract, normally of between two and three years. The field is acknowledged to be inherently precarious and insecure, with high levels of turnover, and a bleak ‘negative’ lens of imagination has always persisted. This paper focuses attention on the lived experiences of expatriate teachers among the growing body of ‘non-traditional international schools’ that might be best termed ‘Chinese Internationalised Schools’. Through in-depth phenomenological interviewing of six expatriate teachers, the reality of ‘short-termism’ was examined. Whilst the findings highlighted, as expected, the negative aspects of short-term employment, the findings also identify many positive outcomes. These include opportunities for developing resilience, agency, and reinvention. This offers scope for a new vision, based upon the accumulation of ‘resilience’, which helps to explain the continuous growth of the arena despite the presence of precarity.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBeijing International Review of Education
Publication statusAcceptance date - 29 Dec 2022

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