Professional paradoxes: Context for development of beginning teacher identity and knowledges

Year: 2003

Author: White, Julie, Moss, Julianne

Type of paper: Refereed paper

It is anticipated that the current workforce of teachers in Victoria, Australia will retire within the next 5-15 years. The paradox for teachers at the career entry point is that while they are expected to quickly assume responsibility for education in this state, beginning teachers are reporting dissatisfaction with teaching and describing it as an 'unprofessional' profession. Drawing from recently commissioned research for the Victorian Institute of Teaching, a study of sixty beginning teachers and a micro study of the 'internship' experience of teacher educators, this paper explores the consequences of what counts as professional knowledge. By problematising identity issues for beginning teachers it is hoped that greater understanding of the complexities of their realities is revealed. The aspirations for the (re) generation of a profession are entangled in discordant displacement of meanings of what it is to become a teacher. What do 'othering' and power(less) positions of beginning teachers mean for the immediate future of the profession? What then are the implications for school contexts, colleague support and pre-service teacher education?