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Teacher stories, parent stories, stories of school: Educator/parents navigating school landscapes

Jennifer C Nelson, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Situated within this narrative inquiry are four parents, who are also educators, negotiating their teacher/parent identities while examining their praxis within their classrooms. Educators, who are also parents, have a unique position within education. They have a personal, practical, professional knowledge of schools—and a personal, practical knowledge of their children. In the process of juxtaposing these parent stories of teaching and learning with their own child(ren) alongside their teacher stories of teaching and learning with their students, various curricular practices are called into question. It is the personalized stories that often bring silenced voices to the forefront; thus, the researcher draws on narrative inquiry as a means for the participants to reveal tensions and complexities of negotiating the dual roles of being both parent and teacher upon the school landscape. The educator/parent narratives, composed over eight months, reveal common themes of tension concerning: 1) challenges of implementing developmentally appropriate curriculum in relation to high-stakes standardized testing; 2) tensions experienced surrounding various school and district policies; and, 3) challenges of navigating relational complexities within the current climate of high-stakes standardized testing. Permeating throughout these educator/parent narratives are examples of the tensions the participants experienced as a result of educational policies that did not seem to take into account these educator/parents’ personal, practical, and professional knowledge. The participants’ voices illustrated time and again, ways in which they believed they were silenced, marginalized, and/or ignored; these incidents, in turn, contributed to feelings of frustration and disempowerment. The educator/parents in this study continue to live on uneasy school landscapes, where they feel their pedagogical competence is undermined, and their voice and agency is often thwarted in this high stakes-testing, policy driven climate. This research study contributes to the field by providing a glimpse into educator/parent knowledge to inform our understanding of teacher knowledge.

Subject Area

Educational sociology|Teacher education

Recommended Citation

Nelson, Jennifer C, "Teacher stories, parent stories, stories of school: Educator/parents navigating school landscapes" (2016). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI10140360.