The intersections of selves and policies: A poetic inquiry into the hydra of teacher education


  • Stephanie Behm Cross Georgia State University
  • Alyssa Hadley Dunn Michigan State University
  • Erica K. Dotson Clayton State University



neoliberal reforms, teacher educator identity, teacher preparation, poetic inquiry


This article explores the intersection of selves and policies for teacher educators in an era of teacher education reform. Borne out of a promise to one another to write about our experiences navigating increasingly complex market-driven, neoliberal attacks on our work and world, we collected data across several years that documented our attempt to break our silence (Lorde, 1977) and explore how we, as teacher educators, make sense of neoliberal reforms and policies in teacher preparation. We draw specifically on Dunn’s theory of the Hydra of Teacher Education (2016), alongside literature on reforms and policies in teacher preparation and teacher educators’ forms of resistance to frame our work, and utilize arts-based poetic inquiry methodology (Prendergast, 2009; Rath, 2001) to explore the real, everyday implications of educational policy in our lives and in our careers. The poems we created as a “performative act” (Prendergast, 2009, p. xxiii) revealed that our experiences seemed to follow a cycle from hopelessness, to silence, to acquiescence, to collective resistance. We look carefully at this last portion of the cycle in our work, wondering how, if at all, teacher educators can resist the neoliberalization of teacher preparation. We conclude with implications for research, policy, and the practice of teacher education as we write to understand, write to resist, and write to survive.


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Author Biographies

Stephanie Behm Cross, Georgia State University

Stephanie Behm Cross is an Assistant Professor of Urban Teacher Education at Georgia State University. Her research interests include teacher preparation, school-university partnerships, and the examination of whiteness in university and school spaces.

Alyssa Hadley Dunn, Michigan State University

Alyssa Hadley Dunn is an Assistant Professor at Michigan State University. Her areas of research include urban and multicultural education, educational policy, and the sociocultural contexts of urban schools and teacher preparation.

Erica K. Dotson, Clayton State University

Erica Dotson is an Associate Professor of Teacher Education at Clayton State University in Morrow, Georgia, just outside of Atlanta. Her research agenda has combined her interests in second and foreign language pedagogy, multicultural curriculum, and social justice.  




How to Cite

Cross, S. B., Dunn, A. H., & Dotson, E. K. (2018). The intersections of selves and policies: A poetic inquiry into the hydra of teacher education. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 26, 29.



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