Labour Studies Index

Updated: 2022-05-16

"Something to Just Hold On To": Occasional Teaching and Collaborative Inquiry in Precarious Times

Document type Thesis
Author Walkland, Tyler Andrew
Degree Master of Arts, OISE
Publisher University of Toronto; Toronto
Date 2017
Pages 115 pages


This thesis is the product of a collaborative inquiry involving six occasional teachers, myself included, who came together over five months to share our experiences of navigating a teacher labour market ruled by teacher surplus, job shortages, and increasing employment precarity. Together we took an inquiry stance on occasional teaching (Cochran-Smith Lytle, 2009) and explored the consequences of precarious teacher employment for teaching, learning, working, and living. Here I document the myriad ways precariousness shapes not only our career trajectories but also our everyday experiences of practice, our professional identities as educators, and our engagement in political action and institutional change efforts. I also offer specific processes and interventions that mitigate the risks of long-term employment precarity for teaching and learning. Throughout, I rely on my participantsâ words as well as my own to tell a story about our work, what it means to us, and why it matters.