This chapter is a collection of reflections on the broader concept of my “story to live by” (Connelly & Clandinin, 1990; Craig, 2008, 2014) as a beginning English Language Arts teacher. Burrowing deeply into the impact of a single phrase from a conversation with a found mentor at the close of my first year, the chapter explores the journey of sustaining in the profession by examining what is here within discussed as a narrative undercurrent that carries each educator toward his or her “best-loved Self” (Craig, 2013; Schwab, 1954/1978). This concept is introduced, and then reflected upon in correlation with the development of knowledge communities (Olson & Craig, 2001; Craig & Huber, 2007), narrative authority (Olson, 1995), and narrative identity (Connelly & Clandinin, 1999; McAdams, Josselson & Lieblich, 2006).
In meditating on the broader narrative, I arrived at the conclusion that the conversation referenced initiated my discovering essential elements of my best-loved Self, and my seeking to actualize them within a forged knowledge community. I moved forward and expanded my knowledge “for,” “in,” and “of” practice (Cochran-Smith & Lytle, 1998). Through this process, I authored and re-authored myself through conflicts noted across the literature as factors contributing to beginning teacher attrition rates (Craig, 2014; Schaefer, 2013) and preserved my story to live by.
Auzenne-Curl, C. (2017), "Sing it Over: Meditations on “Best-Loved Self” and Sustaining in Secondary English Language Arts", Crossroads of the Classroom (Advances in Research on Teaching, Vol. 28), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 99-118. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1479-368720160000028011
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