Alternative routes to teacher professional identity: Exploring the conflated sub-identities of Teach For America corps members

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Abstract

Research on the development of professional identity for teachers who enter the profession through alternative routes is still in its infancy. In contrast to their peers who complete traditional initial teacher education programs, these teachers are exposed to different conditions and constraints that produce a range of sub-identities previously unidentified in the literature. This paper draws on interviews with 27 teachers who entered teaching through Teach For America and wrestled with these sub-identities as they considered their emerging professional identity. We argue that these sub-identities point to structural challenges embedded within Teach for America, and we highlight the need for additional research on the growing cadre of teachers entering the teaching profession through alternative routes, and subsequently influencing policymaking processes.

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How to Cite
Thomas, M. A. M., & Mockler, N. (2018). Alternative routes to teacher professional identity: Exploring the conflated sub-identities of Teach For America corps members. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 26, 6. https://doi.org/10.14507/epaa.26.3015
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Author Biographies

Matthew A. M. Thomas, University of Sydney

Matthew A. M. Thomas is a lecturer in Comparative Education and Sociology of Education at the University of Sydney. He holds a PhD from the University of Minnesota and an MA from Columbia University, Teachers College. His research examines educational policies, pedagogical practices, and teacher and higher education. 

Nicole Mockler, University of Sydney

Dr. Nicole Mockler is an Associate Professor of Education and SOAR Research Fellow in the Sydney School of Education and Social Work at the University of Sydney. Her research interests are in the areas of education policy, teacher professional identity and learning, and curriculum and pedagogy. She is currently the Editor in Chief of The Australian Educational Researcher.