Learning to teach: Narratives from early career teachers

Year: 2004

Author: McCormack, Ann, Gore, Jennifer, Thomas, Kaye

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The transition from preservice teacher education to practice in the workplace brings about a shift in role orientation and an epistemological move from knowing about teaching through formal study to knowing how to teach by confronting the daily challenges of the school and classroom (Feiman-Nemser, 2000). Becoming a teacher therefore requires not only the development of a professional identity but the construction of professional knowledge and practice. Studies examining the professional growth of beginning teachers during their initial teacher education course and the early days of teaching have recognised the uniqueness of each graduate, however, some common themes have emerged. This paper details a longitudinal study that tracked a sample group of 16 early career teachers through their first year of teaching. The teachers were encouraged to write about their experiences in journals and were interviewed along with a nominated mentor/support person in an attempt to provide a clearer understanding of how early career teachers achieve control of their own teaching and professional growth. This paper will make use of qualitative data to discuss their experiences and professional growth with the view to informing and strengthening teacher inservice support programs..