Understanding teacher identity from a symbolic interactionist perspective : two ethnographic narratives.
- Authors: Smit, Brigitte , Fritz, Elzette
- Date: 2008
- Subjects: Educational change , Narrative inquiry , Symbolic interactionism , Teacher identity
- Type: Article
- Identifier: uj:5763 , ISSN 2076-3433 , http://hdl.handle.net/10210/7770
- Description: In this ethnographic inquiry we portray two teacher narratives reflecting educational change in the context of two South African schools. The study was conducted as part of a larger inquiry into ten schools in urban South Africa. A decade of democracy begs some attention to educational progress and reform, from the viewpoint of teachers and with the culture of their schools as the inquiry’s landscape. We present two ethnographic narratives, crafted of a typical ‘township/rural’ school, and an established Afrikaans school, with two teachers as the main social actors. Data were sourced from passive observations, interviews, informal conversations, and journal data. These field texts were analysed for content and narrative using, as methodological frame, the ‘Clandininian’ “metaphorical three-dimensional inquiry space”. Three data themes, teacher authority, commitment to the profession in terms of staying or leaving, and multitasking are theorised from a symbolic interactionist framework, using constructs such as situational, social and personal identity. The major finding of this inquiry speaks to the power of the working context, the educational landscape, which appears to be a much stronger force in the development of teacher identity than national educational policies.
- Full Text:
A narrative analysis of educators’ lived experiences of motherhood and teaching
- Authors: Knowles, Mariska , Nieuwenhuis, Jan , Smit, Brigitte
- Date: 2009
- Subjects: Multiple role expectations , Working mothers , Mother educators
- Type: Article
- Identifier: uj:5744 , ISSN 0256-0100 , http://hdl.handle.net/10210/7746
- Description: In this article we argue that mothers often construct images of what they perceive as society’s expectations of them. These images become the parameters in the eyes of society to which they aspire. This is reminiscent of the adage: “I am not who you think I am. I am not who I think I am. I am who I think you think I am”. This study is based on analysis of the life-stories of four professional female educators. These mother-educators shared their assumptions, cultural values and beliefs and showed how these shaped the subjective construction and harmonisation of the multiple roles of mother and educator. It was found that they often find themselves faced with the conflicting and complementary dimensions of the multiple roles of mother and professional. We contend that these mothers set high standards and expectations for themselves as mother-educator and they worry about failing, not only themselves, but also ‘others’. They see the world of work, including parents, educators and school principal, as being against them — which is possibly a manifestation of a faltering self-image and linked to feelings of inadequacy. It is argued that mother educators need to negotiate new meaning in terms of their own perceived multiple role expectations so as to enable them to experience success as both homemakers and professionals. The challenge for the mother then is to engage in a constant search for her own identity.
- Full Text: