Identity Formation and the Development of Self in Early Career Teachers
Hale, Kimberly Danielle
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Many aspects of teaching involve the personal dimension of teaching and yet this dimension is often neglected and overlooked as we prepare teachers and sustain teachers in their work. The personal beliefs, attitudes and emotions of teachers often determine the decisions that teachers make in their classrooms. Increasingly, educational researchers have found that effective teachers are aware of this dimension. The aim of this study was to better understand how teachers' self perceptions and understandings of teaching evolve and change across their professional lives and what events contribute to these understandings. A series of in-depth individual interviews were conducted with six early career public education teachers who were also alumni of the graduate teacher education program at Virginia Tech. Interview data were supplemented with a review of artifacts from preservice teacher education program, visual representations of teacher identity development at various stages over the career of teaching and a timeline of significant events encountered during the teaching career. Results of this research suggest that teachers' understandings of the multiple complexities of teaching deepen within the first years of teaching; teaching is emotional work; and the context of teaching heavily influences teachers' practice of teaching regardless of their beliefs about teaching. Suggestions for university teacher education programs and local school districts are discussed.
- Doctoral Dissertations