Stories from the Field
Edited By David J. Connor and Beth A. Ferri
Introduction: Learning from Teachers’ Lives
DAVID J. CONNOR & BETH A. FERRI
Because we understand the world through stories, we have endeavored to make this book story-centered to engage the reader on a personal level. As long time colleagues, collaborators, and co-authors, we have often traded stories of our early experiences in education before we came to know each other. These memories are contextualized in classrooms and communities, featuring children and youth, their parents, former teaching colleagues, and school leaders. What they have in common is a mixture of funny incidents, serious happenings, and insightful observations about the living, breathing, organic nature of schooling. To state the obvious, much of what initially resonated within us during this era in our lives has stayed within us, constituting part of who we are to this day.
Just as we have shared our stories with one another, we also noticed that other seasoned educators do the same. At conferences and presentations, professionals who began their careers in K-12 schools and are now university-level teachers and researchers, often reminisce about the time they started their careers. Specific children from their classes are described in great detail, along with fellow teachers who “showed them the ropes,” administrators in both positive and negative light, and parents who advocated for the needs of their own children. Along with these character profiles, seasoned educators also describe their initial realizations about how education systems functioned through regulations, processes, and customs they were required to follow, and the overarching organizational structures...
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