Moving from Idealism Towards Hope
Chapter 6. The Complex, Politicized Process of TFA and CM Identity Development
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THE COMPLEX, POLITICIZED PROCESS OF TFA AND CM IDENTITY DEVELOPMENT
Rather than a fixed entity, identity is a changing construction and performance (Butler, 1990; Foucault, 1977; Rigole, 2011). Identity development is the ongoing process of narrowing the gap between actual identities and designated identities, what is and what can be (Connelly & Clandinin, 1999; Sfard & Prusak, 2005). The process of identity development is complex and politicized; power and knowledge are inter-related in a way that makes every relationship, every narrative, a negotiation of power (Foucault, 1977).
Within this landscape, CMs struggled to understand their intersecting, developing personal and professional identities as new TFA teachers. CMs experienced a conflict between the nature of identity development as a process and a pressing, immediate need for improvement as new teachers. Additionally, many CMs felt ill-equipped to work through their questions about complex racial, class, cultural, and political dynamics experienced while teaching. These CMs felt they lacked the language, time, and support to engage meaningfully in understanding their own identities independently or in relationship to their students’ identities.
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