Experiences working split shifts: a phenomenological study of early childhood educators
thesisposted on 23.05.2021, 17:10 by Erica Saunders
Care work in general, and the work of early childhood educators, in particular, are both undervalued and gendered (Langford, Richardson, Albanese, Bezanson, Prentice, and White, 2017). While there is substantial research outlining the low wages and undervaluation of Ontario’s Registered Early Childhood Educators (RECEs), there is no known research on the effects that split shifts have on workers in this sector. Split shifts, when viewed by a worker as problematic, were found to be detrimental to overall health in the case of bus drivers (Ihlström, Kecklund, and Anund, 2017). It is not known whether the same could be said for RECEs. Given this noted gap, there is a need for research on the impact of working split shifts on RECEs. This study aims to address this noted absence of research for this female-dominated workforce performing care work. In order to do so, ten RECEs who self-report working a split shift were asked about their experiences through in-person, semi-structured interviews. These interviews gathered insight on how RECEs perceive that this work arrangement affected them professionally and personally, as well as what they believed could be done to address this scheduling system. Some of the key findings were that working split shifts resulted in even lower than “normal” compensation, and a sense that RECEs were being policed. There were also concerns about space and language indicating ownership of classroom space, as well as challenges navigating territoriality around that space. Finally, there was an overall feeling that split shifts helped to further undervalue the undervalued RECEs in general.