Stabilizing and Destabilizing the “Ideal” Teacher in a Rural Teacher Book Group: Protective Guide, Moral Exemplar, and Purveyor of Middle Class Values

Jean Ketter, Cynthia Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

This research is an ethnographic case study of a book group focusing on the reading and teaching of multicultural literature in a rural, predominately white, middle school setting. We examine how participants co-constructed teacher identities through the parallel narratives they created about themselves and their students. We discovered that the socio-historical models of teaching circulating in the group were taken up, recontextualized, and contested according to local notions of the ideal female teacher, particularly as inculcators of middle-class values. Despite efforts to challenge limiting identity constructions of teacher and student through creating more liberatory narratives, participants struggled to imagine a pedagogy that interrupted their stable notions of teaching and selfhood. We found that the choices about what literature to read with students and how to engage with them in critical conversations about that literature were implicated in the possible teacher selves one could enact in the classroom.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-109
Number of pages33
JournalCritical Inquiry in Language Studies
Volume12
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 3 2015

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