So this week in lecture, Dr. Crooks was talking about constructions of teacher identity. We explored various perspectives of teachers and how their identities are shaped/influenced. Dr. Crooks provided us with a list of things that contribute to the development of our identity, her list included: race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religion, family, political beliefs, education and of course, occupation & in our case, the occupation would be teaching! When I consider what I think a teacher is, two different answers surface in my mind. One being slightly more superficial and the other is more of the teacher I hope to be one day.
- My first consideration of a what a teacher is would be a beautiful, young, white woman in a brightly coloured and highly decorated classroom. She always looks totally put together, wearing heels in the classroom daily. Basically, I think about the visual aspect of a teacher.
- My second consideration of a teacher is less about appearance but more about character. A teacher is someone who inspires children and empowers them. This teacher deeply cares for the students in their classroom & works hard to ensure that each student’s needs are met, allowing them to feel valued in the classroom.
The first construction of a teaching identity is likely a result of media and how teacher are portrayed in the movies that I’ve seen. There are so many different kinds of teachers portrayed in films and on tv that I can’t help but think of these kinds of teachers when I consider who a teacher is. The second construction of a teaching identity is likely a result of my studies at the U of R. I have learnt a lot from my professors and teachers in the past 2 years, and many of these things have challenged my previous beliefs of what a teacher is.
In the Yerks reading, she mentions how “wearing shoes that would click when I walked down the hall made me feel like a teacher” (p.6) (Yerks, 2004). She says this is one way that she felt that she fit into the teaching into the teaching discourse. I can certainly relate to what she says here. I’ve experienced many moments where I have thought to myself, “Man, I really feel like a teacher.” Working in a before and after school program provides me with these experiences almost daily. Reading books to kids, leading them in activities, walking them down the hall, etc. All of these things really make me fell like I fit in to this discourse of teaching, despite the fact that I am not yet a certified teacher.
A question that I was left with after lecture was how does our teacher identity change in different areas of school? Are you a different teacher when you are coaching cross country? In the library? Seen by your students in the grocery store perhaps? How does our environment shape our identity as professionals?
Until next time,