Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


Date of this Version



Published in Teaching and Teacher Education 72 (2018) 98–106

doi 10.1016/j.tate.2018.03.002


Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. Used by permission.


Negotiation of teaching identities in neoliberal schooling spaces is examined. Dissonance between a teacher’s values (e.g. care for students) and neoliberalism’s tenets is documented. A model of teacher identity work is applied to data, illuminating teacher identity work processes. Opening identity work spaces of potentiality is recommended.

To be a teacher doing identity work in today’s educational policy climate, a teacher seeking her own ethical self-formation, will require the stamina and flexibility to live and teach within imperfect, even de-professionalizing contexts where a bit of double agency may serve one well. In this era of deprofessionalizing discourses and policies, teachers’ identity work may be spaces of potentiality for teachers to practice ethical, professional agency and speak back against educational policies that threaten ‘good’ teaching and define the ‘good’ teacher in narrow and limiting ways.