Teacher self in the novice secondary teacher : creation and manifestation



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This qualitative case study examined the creation of the teacher self in the novice secondary teacher and its manifestation in classroom practice. In asking, how is the teacher self created through educational experiences, the researcher explored participants' educational memory, teacher preparation programs, experiences of the first year/s and educative life experiences. Simultaneously, the researcher focused on how the teacher self was or was not manifested in classroom practice. This study argued the creation of teacher self was a constant negotiation and state of dissonance between a cluster of experiences. The dissonance and resulting compromises of teacher self that occurred were apparent in four ways. First, the majority of the study participants believed their students would be as they were in during high school; however, all of them encountered differing realities. This paradox aroused an awareness of privilege, but not necessarily critical consciousness in the teacher selves of the participants. Second, it appeared there was an inconsistency between the participants' value and understanding of educational/instructional theory in influencing their teaching selves. All participants claimed pedagogical and curriculum conceptual understandings played a minimal role in shaping their teacher selves and classroom practice; however, interviews and observations demonstrated educational/instructional theory was visible in the classroom. Third, based on past educational experiences, the participants perceived the teacher self to be autonomous in the classroom; however, external forces, mainly high stakes standardized testing, collided with the teaching selves' vision of autonomy. Finally, there were times when participants believed their teaching selves were securely manifested in their classroom practices. Despite the informants' claims, there was ample data indicating that often teacher self did not emerge in ways informants assumed. The findings of this study suggested all facets of teaching--teacher preparation, teacher induction and teacher research--take a more in-depth examination at how past and present educational experiences shape the teaching self and in turn how the teaching self is or is not manifested in classroom practice.