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Five years in: a case study of an Australian early-career secondary school music teacher

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 April 2024

Jennifer Anne Robinson*
The University of Sydney, Camperdown, NSW, Australia


Early-career secondary school music teachers navigate many challenges as they settle into the profession. These include consolidating their knowledge of subject content, gaining classroom confidence and honing skills in classroom management. In addition, their sense of belonging can be enhanced by working at collegial relationships within their faculty, across the school and feeling a part of the wider school community. These factors can elicit a ‘make or break’ response for continuing in the profession.

This paper reports on a case study of an Australian early-career secondary school music teacher, in her fifth year in the profession. The case study, as a part of a larger study, sequenced quantitative and qualitative research methods, allowing insight into the music teacher’s working life and enabled the researcher to understand factors that impact daily practice. Themes explored in the study include motivation, perception of value, stress and the difficulties of securing permanent employment. The music teacher presented a positive approach to her work through her development of resilience and shared her future goals and dreams.

This research offers suggestions on how schools and education authorities can best support early-career secondary school music teachers to enable them to become resilient, confident and valued practitioners for the future.

© The Author(s), 2024. Published by Cambridge University Press

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