Teacher Identity Discourse as Identity Growth: Stories of Authority and Vulnerability

  • Janet AlsupEmail author


In this chapter I describes the results of a qualitative, interview-based study exploring the teacher identity development of six female English education pre-service teachers at a large Midwestern university in 2016. I focus on the discourse of Teresa, one of the six students in the study. Her stories exemplify one of the key findings: a new generation of student teachers engaged in much narrative discourse, and by association identity work, related to their often conflicting understandings of professional enactments of authority and vulnerability. I also includes examples of instances when Teresa engaged in meaningful identity work by voicing “narratives of balance” between these two poles of subjectivity. Through these stories of balance, Teresa begins to negotiate ‘conceptions of self and other’ that, as a young student teacher, often result in cognitive and affective dissonance. Such negotiation results in more complex and comprehensive understandings of student-teacher and teacher-mentor relationships, and, hence, professional identity growth.


Identity Teacher education Agency Vulnerability Authority Narrative Interview-based Professional identity Transformation 



Special thanks to doctoral research assistant Ileana Cortes Santiago, without whom this could not have been written.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Curriculum and InstructionPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA

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