"Still game": An analysis of the life history and career disappointments of one veteran male teacher of physical education in Scotland

  • Thorburn M
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Relatively little is known about veteran teachers’ professional lives and especially of veteran teachers who have failed to secure promoted teaching positions. This is a weakness in our understanding of teachers’ lives given the social and policy changes which have taken place in teaching over recent decades. Through a series of 10 semi-structured interviews, this paper examines the life history of one veteran male teacher of physical education in Scotland who has taught for nearly four decades in the same school. Findings revealed that “Jack’s” resilience, solace in subject teaching and sense of vocational identity was helpful in coping with lack of promotion and a deteriorating school and community environment. However, diminishing professional development opportunities, a reduction in communities of physical educationalists working together, combined with limited collaborative managerial cultures in school led to the later parts of Jack’s career being isolated and disconnected in comparison with earlier years.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Careers
  • Life history
  • Professionalism

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  • Malcolm Thorburn

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