Week 10- Constructions of Teacher Identity

3 Things I Learned
The first and most important thing I learned this week was the formulation of our identity. There are numerous factors that make up our identity. The contributing factors are often thought of in simple labels such as race, religion and occupation. However, your identity is so much more than that. Past mistakes, lessons learned and dreams you have for yourself, all contribute to a greater and broader sense of who we. Our identity is complex and multidimensional. This week stressed the importance of examining who we are, how people see us, and how we view ourselves. This is important because having a better understanding of who we are will help guide us in the choices we make.

This week we discussed the word discourse. This is a word I have heard but never truly understood. Discourse can be defined as, “…a body of thinking and writing that uses shared language for talking about a topic, shared concepts for understanding it and shared methods for examining it”. We all belong to several different discourse communities within our society, which frame how we think, understand and act. Discourse is a major contributor in forming who we are and building our identity. In simple terms, discourse can be described as a normal, or what is expected of an individual based on the society they live in.
The above point leads in to the final thing I learned. The Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation has standards and codes that teachers must follow. They clearly outline what the STF believes the role of a teacher is, what they should do, and what makes a good teacher. This helps shape us into the teachers we are going to become.
2 Connections I Made
In the reading, “Teacher Identity” by Krista Yerkes, she discussed the difficulty she had transitioning from the role of student to teacher. This is something I believe many individuals, including myself, can understand, regardless of their career path. Spending 20+ years as a student it is difficult to imagine myself in a different role. Going from being taught, to now teaching others, is a challenging evolution. I have asked myself similar questions to the ones Yerkes asked herself. How does one act like a teacher? What qualities do teachers possess? As said in the article, “teaching is a discourse all in its own”. When entering into a new discourse it can be difficult to find our way and feel like we belong. As I move through my studies I think it is important to realize that formulating our teacher identity will take time. Creating relationships with other pre-service teachers and mentors will aid in this transition. Others can offer a lot of advice and knowledge, allowing us to grow into the teachers we are meant to be.

During lecture we discussed the concept of ambiguity. The teaching profession is filled with ambiguity. You cannot predict everything that will happen within the classroom. You can only plan so much, therefore you have to be flexible and open to change. As someone who likes structure, order, and plans, this is something I will struggle with as a teacher. I have to realize that as a future teacher new challenges will “hit” me each day, and I have to be able to adapt when dealing with them. Embracing the uncertainty can lead to transformative change in our lives.
1 Question I Have
Through lecture and seminars there has been the recurring idea that teachers carry their identity with them at all times throughout their life. I feel this is a huge responsibility to place on a person. At what point are we allowed to shed our teaching identity? I feel that being a teacher is just one aspect of who we are. It’s the combination of our other qualities that make me us who we are. For example, if a parent sees a teacher at a social event enjoying a few drinks, that should not change the parent’s opinion about that person as a teacher. Their actions in the classroom should determine how they feel about them as teacher.

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