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From stories of staying to stories of leaving: a US beginning teacher’s experience

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Abstract:

This narrative inquiry traces a beginning teacher’s unfolding career over a six-year period in a diverse middle school in the fourth largest city in the USA. The work revolves around two conceptualizations: ‘stories to live by’ and ‘stories to leave by.’ How these identity-related phenomena surface and play out in an entry-level teacher’s experiences become revealed. The stories of experience lived and told, and relived and retold, illuminate the influence of context on beginning teachers’ knowing. The interwoven nature of educators’ lives also forms a major theme. In the final analysis, the beginning teacher’s ‘stories to live by’ are no longer able to sustain her in her urban teaching milieu. Shifting occurs and ‘stories to leave by’ prevail.

Keywords: beginning teachers; narrative inquiry; teacher attrition; teacher identity

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00220272.2013.797504

Publication date: 2014-01-02

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