From Preservice to Practice: Expectations of/in the Secondary ELA Classroom

Tiffany Karalis Noel, Melanie Shoffner


The paper explores how preservice ELA teachers’ expectations of teaching compare to the reality of their experiences during the first year of teaching. The authors consider common concerns of beginning ELA teachers and their implications for teacher self-efficacy. The paper is informed by narrative research, which provides practical and specific insights into the lived experiences of participants. The first data set consists of reflective writings on a self-identified topic connected to ELA teaching and/or learning throughout the semester. Two, one-hour individual interviews conducted during the first year of teaching form the second data set. The paper provides empirical insights about how preservice experiences inform ELA teachers’ expectations of first-year teaching and their development of self-efficacy. Their two major concerns – classroom management and building rapport – identified their fears and insecurities about managing disruptive students and establishing connections with students. These struggles offer a connection between expectations, experiences and self-efficacy. Likewise, they point to the need for teacher education to address preservice teachers’ self-efficacy as a way to support their successful entry into the classroom. The paper includes implications for the development of increased opportunities to study and experience critical concerns of the profession. Such learning experiences offer preservice teachers meaningful opportunities to engage with experiential learning, applied practice and critical reflection before their first year in the field. The paper fulfills an identified need to study how differences between expectation and reality can be difficult for beginning ELA teachers to reconcile, a disconnect that lends itself to considerations of teachers’ self-efficacy.

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Copyright (c) 2019 World Journal of Education


World Journal of Education
ISSN 1925-0746(Print)  ISSN 1925-0754(Online)

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