Teacher identity in the middle years
Whether you are a member of the profession or a member of the public, it is typical to hold beliefs, expectations and attitudes about what it means to be a teacher. Furthermore, it is typical to have ideas about the identity of different kinds of teachers, whether they be primary or secondary, or subject specific, such as science or history, maths or drama. These preconceived ideas are shaped by a range of factors, including personal experience, the political climate, cultural expectations and even popular culture (Cohen, 2008). As those aspiring to be teachers enter into professional education, they are likely to already have firmly entrenched beliefs about their future identity as a teacher. These beliefs also contribute to shaping individuals' motivations for becoming a teacher (Brown, 2005). For this reason, during teacher education programs it is common for teacher educators to build opportunities for student teachers to rethink their professional identity. Teachers who work in the middle years are in a teacher subcategory that is relatively new, and about which there is not a great deal known. Cross (2006) found that teachers who work in the middle years often see themselves as having to adopt complex professional identities. These teachers report that they view themselves not only as teachers of a particular year level, for those in primary settings, or a particular subject area, but also as middle years teachers. Each of these professional identities carries with it a range of implicit attitudes, beliefs, ideas and practices. Teachers in the middle years must, therefore, learn to negotiate identities that enable them to work in each of these contexts. This chapter explores the concept of teacher identity in the middle years, and includes an analysis of visual images and textual analysis exploring the development of middle years teacher identity in pre-service teacher education.
Big Fish, Little Fish: Teaching and Learning in the Middle Years
Teacher Education and Professional Development of Educators