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Stories of an English Language Arts Teacher in a High Need Secondary School: A Narrative Inquiry into Her Best-Loved Self

Crossroads of the Classroom

ISBN: 978-1-78635-797-7, eISBN: 978-1-78635-796-0

Publication date: 25 April 2017


This is a narrative inquiry into the phenomenon of teacher retention. Specifically, we study an 18-year teaching veteran’s stories that span her career. We address the question of what sustains her in her profession. We chose to “see big” (Greene, 1995) our teacher participant, Anne, exploring, with her, the particulars of her teaching world, the contextual factors, emotional processes, and her relationship with her administration, subject matter, students. The research opens a view into Anne’s decisions along the way that contributed to her constructing a “story to stay by” (Craig, 2014; Ross & Prior, 2014). Narrative inquiry helped us see big through Anne’s stories. Anne’s best-loved self was closely connected with her professional knowledge landscape. In Anne’s case, her interactions with students, her collaboration with other teachers, and her reactions to the evaluation system stimulated the evolution of her perceptions of herself as a teacher. Therefore, the best-loved self is featured as a dynamic image resulting from continuous interactions between the teacher and other components of the professional knowledge landscape. The teacher’s meaning-making of those interactions, likewise, plays a significant role in shaping his or her image of the best-loved self. Our inquiry into the best-loved reminds teachers that they can cultivate their best-loved selves through personal storytelling that begins with reflection. Anne’s stories of fear, doubt, hope, inferiority, and joy may be important for other teachers. Such reflection may yield further insight into the behaviors and beliefs that encourage and sustain teachers.



Li, J. and Logan, K.D. (2017), "Stories of an English Language Arts Teacher in a High Need Secondary School: A Narrative Inquiry into Her Best-Loved Self", Crossroads of the Classroom (Advances in Research on Teaching, Vol. 28), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 137-156.



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