One Teacher's Journey: Evolving Teacher Identity and Practice and the Changing Sociopolitical Context of Education

One Teacher's Journey: Evolving Teacher Identity and Practice and the Changing Sociopolitical Context of Education

Amber Bechard (University of Redlands, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1894-5.ch012
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Abstract

As our sociopolitical context evolves, student populations and teaching expectations become more complex. Teachers who entered the profession under one pretense are finding themselves faced with an entirely different set of circumstances: demographic shifts, increasingly diverse learners, curricular mandates, high-stakes accountability, technological advancements, globalization—the list continues. As the educational environment evolves, so must teacher identities. Contemporary teachers are tasked with creating an entirely new lens from which to develop new techniques and design more complex lessons to reach the diversity of students in their classrooms. This chapter traces one teacher's evolving identity and practice amidst the changing sociopolitical context of education. The author's autobiographical narrative depicts the impact of influential mentors, transformative moments in international teacher travel experiences, vignettes from 28 years as a classroom teacher, and specific instructional techniques developed to ensure effective student engagement in a pluralistic environment.
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The Evolutionary Nature Of Teaching

Mentor: My Second-Grade Teacher

I had wanted to become a teacher since the second grade, when my teacher, Mrs. Taft, unwittingly inspired me by assigning me to work in the first-grade classroom as a teacher’s helper during math and reading. This was her way of differentiating. I was an exceptional student, a benefit from being one of the youngest in a large, blended family. Due to hours of playing school at home and mimicking my older siblings, I already knew all of the second-grade material. Mrs. Taft had to come up with an alternative, so she sent me back to first grade as a helper. I remember having my own math group and teaching basic math and feeling important that I had something to offer the first graders. That is what cemented my dream. I would be a teacher.

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