Using Self-Compassion and Teacher Identity to Examine the Transition from Teacher to Teacher Educator
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AbstractThere has been considerable research regarding teacher identity and the challenges involved with the transition from teacher to teacher educator, yet there is little existing literature that addresses how to manage or mitigate these challenges. In my research, I describe the influences on my identification process and use the concept of self-compassion as a tool to support the transition from teacher to teacher educator. Self-compassion “involves offering nonjudgmental understanding to one’s pain, inadequacies and failures, so that one’s experience is seen as part of the larger human experience” (Neff, 2003b, p. 87). Data gathering and analysis were informed by self-study methodology and consisted of personal reflections and conversations with a critical friend. From the ensuing analysis, I developed three themes. First, the challenges I faced included differentiating pedagogy, returning to academia, and my perspectives of others’ perceptions. Each of these factors influenced my identification process during my transition. Second, through conversations with a critical friend, we came to see my product over process mindset, which prompted a new way of conceptualizing and acting upon these challenges. Lastly, supportive others and engaging with self-study provided a means to better understand how I practiced self-compassion and shift my mindset about challenges in new ways. Implications for this research may resonate with others who undergo similar transitions; the findings may also be informative to others making personal and professional transitions in a broader context.
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