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Title: Subject to change? : the lived experience of a teaching life post 2010 : a narrative study
Author: Flynn, Eithne Josephine
ISNI:       0000 0004 9353 5513
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2020
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Changes signalled in the White Paper, The Importance of Teaching (DfE, 2010), stepped up the pace of English educational reform and radically reworked the education landscape. This study draws into focus the teacher’s voice and offers a personal story of a teaching life at this time. Literature on teachers’ careers highlights the teacher as a person, who they are and what motivates them, and underlines the importance of a positive professional identity and a sense of agency. The study introduces Angela, a novice assistant head in a newly opened academy whose teaching life spans twenty years. Angela’s lived experience is embedded in her working and personal stories; her tellings are co-constructions, and her artful selections and elisions all offer insights into her sensemaking. The approach in this psychosocial narrative inquiry is holistic and interpretative and uses the lenses of identity, agency and the defended self to lay open fresh possibilities. Angela highlights the primacy of schools as communities, where relationships are based upon care and responsibility, alongside the demands of her leadership role, focused on teachers’ performances and the school’s standards agenda, and the dissonance therein. Sociocultural and psychosocial readings summon additional interpretations and an alternative story is crafted with Angela as an active agent working purposefully to accomplish her personal ends. Her responses and positionings, a complex and contradictory mix of accommodation, resistance and denial, are orchestrated to satisfy her needs, realise her desires and defend against her anxieties. This writing of self brings to light the value of eliciting and sharing teachers’ stories. Greater understanding of the ways that individuals negotiate and make sense of their lives increases empathy and can be a source of support and inspiration. It is a means of pushing back, nurturing the self and small steps towards further resistance, both personal and collective.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available