Reporting the 'exodus': News coverage of teacher shortage in Australian newspapers
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Many developed countries, including Australia, struggle to recruit and retain adequate numbers of schoolteachers. Over the past decade every Australian state has experienced teacher shortages and, at various times, there has been a national shortfall of qualified teaching staff. This paper considers the reporting of teacher shortage in four metropolitan daily Australian newspapers over a 10-year period. The focus of the analysis is on the newspapers' portrayal of teachers throughout the coverage. The key themes identified were found to be consistent across the four publications. Teachers were frequently portrayed as leaving, or planning to leave, the profession due to dissatisfaction with pay, difficult students and/or excessive workloads. Furthermore, teachers were depicted as low achievers. Teachers' voices were largely absent in the reporting, and the coverage rarely acknowledged the benefits and rewards of teaching as a career. The implications of these findings are discussed and recommendations for journalists and educators outlined.
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