Early childhood educators’ experiences in their work environments: Shaping (im)possible ways of being an educator?
Efforts to support early childhood workforce stability over many years, and across many national contexts have had limited success. Research and policy attention appears to be shifting to ways of supporting the sustainability of the early childhood workforce, and, ways that educators’ experiences in their work environments might be implicated in these issues. The purpose of this paper is to explore the complex interrelations between educators’ work environments and their experiences, as an entryway for thinking differently about workforce sustainability. A rhizoanalytic approach is used to explore one educator’s experiences in her work environment, through readings of visual, textual and affective data. The readings of (im)possible ways of being an educator shaped by this work environment, are then used as prompts for thinking differently about workforce stability and sustainability. The paper concludes with calls for an approach to supporting workforce stability and sustainability, that is based on the recognition of the interrelatedness and mutual interests of children, educators, families and governments.