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Teacher Identity: Finding the Teacher in Me. Windi D. Turner Introduction to Critical Pedagogy Spring 2012 Dr. Tilley-Lubbs. t he teacher in me . . .

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Teacher identity finding the teacher in me

Teacher Identity: Finding the Teacher in Me

Windi D. Turner

Introduction to Critical Pedagogy

Spring 2012

Dr. Tilley-Lubbs

T he teacher in me
the teacher in me . . .

  • To some, I am a daughter, a granddaughter, a sister, and an aunt. To one, I am a mother and to another, a wife. To many, I am a friend.

  • To even many more, I am a teacher.

Teacher identity
Teacher Identity

  • A buzzword in education is teacher identity, a concept construed around the social, personal, political, self, and other. A concept referred to as teachers ‘arguing’ or giving an accountability for themselves.

  • Identity formation is closely related to the dialogues and the communities that we work within.

  • Similar to pedagogical practices, identities should be continually renegotiated within specific contexts (Clarke, 2009).

Teacher identity1
Teacher Identity

  • Much of what constitutes teacher identity has hinged on age old assumptions about teaching.

  • The teacher has been the authoritative figure within the classroom who delegates information to students from a textbook alongside a laundry list of skills, tasks, and competencies.

  • The teacher has no feelings, no life outside of the classroom, and certainly no sense of fashion.

Teacher identity student identity
Teacher Identity ~ Student Identity

  • Teacher identity significantly persuades student identity (Hoffman-Kipp, 2008).

  • Their personal theories of teaching, particularly the perceptions they have of students, are critical to the extent to which their pedagogies are genuine; the latter, ideally, offering contexts within which students are supported in cultivating their authenticity (Kreber, 2010).

Mirror mirror on the wall
Mirror Mirror on the wall . . .

  • As Parker Palmer (2007) expresses, “we teach who we are” (p.2). He explains that teaching surfaces from within and, as teachers teach, they project their soul onto their students, subject matter, and manner of being together.

  • Finally, he summarizes, “Good teachers possess a capacity for connectedness. They are able to weave a complex web of connections among themselves, their subjects, and their students so that students can learn to weave a world for themselves” (p.11).

  • In this respect, teaching mirrors the self.

The courage to teach: Exploring the inner landscape of a teacher’s life

Freire on banking education
Freire on “banking education”

  • Freire argues that the banking concept of education limits the student’s ability to develop individual opinions and eventually an individual identity (Freire, 2000).

  • What this ultimately implies is that if students are to develop an individual identity through academia, this information must be desegregated into the larger context of who they are rather than just the information they can articulate when asked by their teachers.

Pedagogy of the oppressed

Freire on cultural identity and education
Freire on “cultural identity and education”

  • Freire (1998) explicitly verbalizes that teaching is a political practice whereas teachers are the politicians. In order to accomplish being more scientifically competent, it is essential for teachers to know who their students are.

  • “Educators need to know what happens in the world of the children with whom they work. They need to know the universe of their dreams, the language with which they skillfully defend themselves from the aggressiveness of their world, what they know independently of the school, and how they know it” (p. 130).

Teachers as cultural workers: Letters to those who dare teach


  • Clarke, M. (2009). The ethico-politics of teacher identity. Education Philosophy and Theory, 41, 185-200. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-5812.2008.00420.x

  • Freire, P. (1998). Teachers as cultural workers: Letters to those who dare teach. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

  • Freire, P. (2000/1970s). Pedagogy of the oppressed. (30th anniversary ed.). New York, NY: Continuum.

  • Hoffman-Kipp, P. (2008). Actualizing Democracy: The praxis of teacher identity construction. Teacher Education Quarterly, 151-164.

  • Kreber, C. (2010). Academics’ teacher identities, authenticity and pedagogy. Studies in Higher Education, 35(2), 171–194.

  • Palmer, P. (2007). The courage to teach: Exploring the inner landscape of a teacher’s life. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Teacher identity finding the teacher in me

Journal of ThoughtIssues in Teacher Education (ITE)The National Journal of Urban Education and Practice