Zen and the Art of Classroom Identity Formation

Elizabeth Lowry


This essay is an exploration of teacher identity and the discomfort that arises from the notion of the ‘professional self’ and the ‘personal self.’ Drawing on a range of scholarship that discusses the complexities of teacher-identity construction, I consider how institutional hierarchies, Enlightenment-era thought, and student perception affect our self-construction in the classroom. Too often teachers try to live up to contradictory cultural ideals, which makes the process of professional self-construction in the classroom even more complicated. As such, I explore the notion of teacher identity development from the perspectives of those starting out in the profession and as well as experienced educators.  I argue that problem of teacher identity development does not necessarily come to end as an educator grows more experienced.

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