Creating Cultures of Daring Greatly for Early-Career Teachers and Early-Career Faculty

Creating Cultures of Daring Greatly for Early-Career Teachers and Early-Career Faculty

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-7267-2.ch017
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Being an early-career teacher and an early-career faculty member are experiences that are fraught with vulnerability. Yet, the vulnerability that underlies these processes of becoming are not always addressed within academic cultures. Unless early-career teachers and early-career faculty are taught how to engage with vulnerability productively, early-career teachers and early-career faculty may blame themselves for the challenges that they encounter, when, in fact, these challenges may be more indicative of the complexity of their professional role rather than a reflection of their personal shortcomings. This chapter will draw on the writing of Brene Brown to describe how early-career teachers and early-career faculty members can choose to engage with vulnerability by daring greatly. This chapter will also make recommendations for how programs of teacher education and institutions of higher education can promote cultures in which the disposition of daring greatly is encouraged and supported.
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The Experience Of Vulnerability As An Early-Career Teacher

The endeavor of learning to teach involves many challenges. First, early-career teachers must revise their initial beliefs about teaching and learning (Britzman, 1986; Norman & Spencer, 2005). These beliefs, which are often too simplistic to explain the complexity of the classroom, influence the way that beginning teachers engage in the work of teaching (Deemer, 2004). For example, prospective teachers who enjoyed their own past school experiences may presume that all students share this enthusiasm (Britzman, 1986). Additionally, teachers who themselves succeeded in school by taking notes and completing homework may (mistakenly) presume that all students can learn successfully via this method (Holt-Reynolds, 1992). Thus, in order to learn how to address the learning needs of all students, early-career teachers must reconsider and revise these beliefs as they begin their work (Barlow & Reddish, 2006), and this process of revising what one previously believed can give rise to feelings of uncertainty, doubt, and vulnerability.

Second, there is a substantial amount of content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge that early-career teachers must learn (Ball & Forzani, 2009). For example, teachers should be able to lead an effective classroom discussion (Boerst et al., 2011), and enacting this complex classroom practice requires not only pedagogical knowledge but also knowledge about how to anticipate, interpret, and build upon what students are thinking (Stein et al., 2008). This knowledge is, in large part, developed through continued learning and through continued experience in the classroom with students (Ball et al., 2008). Thus, early-career teachers begin their careers requiring to develop their knowledge for teaching, and this lack of knowledge can inspire feelings of uncertainty and vulnerability.

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