Social work education in Australia is bound by a range of rules and assumptions supported by both higher education institutions and the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW). This autoethnography explores a range of contradictions within social work education from the unique perspective of someone who was simultaneously a student and academic in social work. This experience occurred because, although PhD qualified in social work, rulings set down by the AASW lead to me being excluded from consideration in permanent roles. The position led me to becoming an online Master of Social Work (MSW) student whilst still being a social work educator allowing me to explore a range of contradictory rules and processes within social work education. Analysis of my reflections, journals, assignments and conversations with colleagues unveiled a range of mixed messages in relation to social inclusion, technical rationalism, self-care and field placement supervision. My findings contribute to current debates about how neoliberalism currently impacts on inclusion in social work education and development of a professional identity. In exploring my dual roles, this autoethnography unveils contradictions within social work education and accreditation that question the social justice mission of the profession.
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