Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Education




Dr. Katina Pollock


This study explores the discourses that occurred within me as a new teacher starting my career at a culturally ‘different’ school. In particular it examines how teaching in this environment impacted my own professional identities and my construction of those I perceived as being culturally ‘different’ or the ‘other.’ For the purposes of this thesis identity will be defined as one’s changing concept o f herself and how she seeks to portray this concept to others through daily performances. This sense of self is formed by one’s internal discourses regarding her own skills, values and abilities as well as external discourses o f how she perceives her audience views her performances of self. Discourse in this study is defined as conveying meaning through language, clothing, gestures, body language, symbols or other means.

This study employs qualitative and autoethnographic methodologies. Over one hundred journal entries ranging from poems and prose to single sentence entries were analyzed for major themes and patterns. Findings indicated that when I as a new teacher felt my professionalism was not respected by the administration, I developed strong feelings of incompetence and fear of being revealed as an imposter. With the continuation of feeling judged and deemed as unprofessional or illegitimate by the administration, a discourse or perception of self and ‘other’ emerged in my daily journals. The importance o f mutually respecting relationships with the socially constructed ‘other’ are highlighted along with the creation of a third space where discussion of‘differences may occur. When both these elements became part of my experience the perception of my professional incompetence and the ominous ‘other’ faded.



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