Teachers in their place: Locating teacher identity

Year: 2007

Author: Kerkham, Lyn

Type of paper: Refereed paper

To be in a place is not just to be situated somewhere, but to participate in a set of social relations and representations of place that profoundly influence who we see ourselves to be, and how we belong. In this paper I draw on interview data from my doctoral study "Teachers in their place: teachers at work in an environmental communications project" to consider the ways in which one early career teacher's history, biography and everyday life interact with teacher identity and professional practice. Using a combination of aspects of narrative and discourse analysis of her place stories produces an account not only of moments of simultaneously expressed multiple stances but an emergent understanding of place as a significant dimension of teacher identity.

I suggest that the complicated relations between identities, places and pedagogy make problematic the policy notion of the generic teacher who teaches anywhere, disconnected from the socio-spatial contexts in which he or she works, and argue, in terms of both teacher identity and pedagogical practice, that places matter.