The rollercoaster ride of establishing a middle years of schooling beginning teaching identity: A narrative account

Year: 2009

Author: Smith, Neville

Type of paper: Refereed paper


The aim of this study was to explore how middle years of schooling educated beginning teachers perceive their identity construction through teaching within their first year at school, generally referred to as the induction period. Internalised individual factors such as perceived teaching beliefs and practices were investigated in accordance with professional issues of self interests and socio-cultural interests that challenge and confront beginning teachers. Framed in the background was an analysis of socialising factors within a school organisation, namely induction programs and practices and the influence this had on the construction of a teaching identity.

The study involved a sample of four Middle Years of Schooling teachers who were in their first year of teaching and working within a different range of contextual school organisations. The study utilised narrative research to explore these four teachers’ stories which is considered an effective analytical tool to gather powerful and rich data in the construction of identity. Kelchtermans & Ballet’s (2002) study on beginning teachers’ beliefs, ideas and practices was used as the theoretical framework to analyse how perceived beliefs and practices impact on beginning teaching identity through categorising and comparing interview data.

The results from this study found how constructing a middle years of schooling beginning teaching identity became a rollercoaster ride of a developing, weakening and reaffirming process. It highlighted the influential importance that perceived teaching beliefs and practices has on the development of a teaching identity when framed against powerful school organisational professional issues that confront and challenge these beliefs (Kelchtermans & Ballet, 2002).