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Teaching and Teacher Education 24 (2008) 204215 www.elsevier.com/locate/tate

Novices and veterans journeying into real-world teaching: How a veteran learns from novices
Shosh Leshema,b,
b

Oranim Academic College of Education, Tivon 36006, Israel Faculty of Education, The University of Haifa, Haifa 31905, Israel

Received 29 December 2005; received in revised form 30 June 2006; accepted 27 July 2006

Abstract This paper illustrates the experiences of novice teachers through self-reection by a teacher trainer. It shows how novice teachers recognize deciencies in their professional capacity, the coping strategies they adopt and implications for teacher training. As teacher trainers we should know why novice teachers say I wish they had taught me abouty or how lucky I am to have been taught this. The paper accounts for the initial experiences of novice teachers in their rst school and claries how they address their own self-improvement. It shows how novice teachers engage in meaning making as they connect theory and practice in the classroom. It also illustrates how within one component of a teacher training programme a veteran teacher-trainer learnt from novices whose experiences enabled practical theories to be recognised. The evidence highlights potential areas of criticality in teacher education programmes in the real-world of teaching. r 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Teacher training; Novice teachers; Teacher-trainer reections

1. Prelude What am I using that I have been taught? How useful is it? What else do I need? What was lacking in my training? These questions are central to novice teachers experiences as they move from support by teacher trainers to their isolation in classrooms where they teach English as a foreign language. As teacher trainers, we need to know why they may think I
Tel./fax: +1 972 4 8377099.

wish they had taught me about ... or y how lucky I am to have been previously exposed to this. This paper illustrates how novice teachers recognize deciencies in their professional capacity in three domains:

  

how they learn what they need as they enter the real world of teaching; how they interpret what they encounter in the eld; what meanings they make from what they see and experience.

E-mail address: shosh-l@zahav.net.il.

From these three issues implications are drawn for teacher trainers. Their signicance is then

0742-051X/$ - see front matter r 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.tate.2006.07.010

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explored, as they illustrate my learning through selfreviewing one aspect of my professional role. Thus, this paper has two themes. Firstly, it provides an account of the initial experiences of novice teachers in their rst school. Secondly, undertaking that research was a lens upon my own perceptions regarding those initial experiences and it renewed my contact, as a teacher trainer, with this important stage of entering the educational profession. 2. Motives for this study This investigation emerged from reecting on my own professional practice as a veteran teacher trainer. I asked myself: how much do I really know about my student teachers needs, are their real needs being catered for in the training courses, or, are we (teacher trainers) maintaining what Eraut (1994) calls a routinized behaviour which might not always be relevant to their school reality? I also pondered on our effectiveness in helping them make sense of the complexities of classroom life. Eraut suggests that for experts to maintain their expertise they should engage in reection and self-evaluation, and to learn from colleagues. This observation captured exactly my thoughts and the reality in which I found myself. It was apparent then that My Colleagues were in fact my own students. The relationship between teacher and students is conventionally seen as one in which learning occurs in and by the students. However, by emphasizing the primary direction of learning in this way may overlook the potential for learning by teachers from their students. Senese (2005) emphasizes the iterative pattern of learning and teaching for every participant in a class. His assertion is based on Wheatley (1992) who maintains that roles and people are not xed entities. They are relationships that involve one another. Further thinking about Erauts suggestion plus the assertions from Senese and Wheatley made me realize that over the years I had indeed learnt from my students. But I then concluded that this learning manifested itself in the extensive tacit knowledge that I had accumulated about how students develop. This realization prompted me to give particular attention to one of my courses. Its major assignment was designed to help students realize that their own knowledgebuilding evolved from everyday-simple-classroomand-school-events. As they undertook this task, inevitably they would discover how their pro-

gramme had prepared them for initial entry to their rst school. 3. My students The students follow a 4-year national teacher training programme in education. During years 13, they attend lectures in the various elds of education and also undertake practice teaching in schools. In year 4, they are allocated to a school where they become part-time salaried teachers. They also take additional courses at the college to complete their studies. Most of my students were in their early 20s during their nal year. I became aware of a phenomenon that appeared regularly in my Teacher as Researcher courses which had a dened pre-planned syllabus. At times I found myself yielding the control over the lesson plan to my students. I realized that considerable lesson time was being devoted to a spontaneous ow of stories that emerged from my students weekly experiences. These experiences, in practice teaching, had exposed them to the real world of teaching. In this course, I wanted them to be aware of the micro-events both in the classroom and in the school itself. Furthermore, these experiences would expose them to making-meaning from these events in a sensitive way. The effect of this was that the students mirrored their feelings about, and experiences in, their respective schools. As a result, I started to ask myself whether I was providing what they wanted. This pattern appeared every year in the same course even when I presented it to different students, and reinforced my belief that beginningteachers needed some space for their voices (Carter, 1993; Golombek, 1998; Richards, 1996) and my immediate support. Thus, two assumptions prompted this study: Firstly, it had been a long time since I myself was a novice teacher and my mental pictures of the experience might have lost their vitality; Secondly, every beginners experience is unique as each school offers its own individual ethos (Goodman, 1987; Zeichner & Gore, 1990). As my students came from different cultural backgrounds and were allocated to different schools, their experiences could be seen as an interaction between the teachers own psyche and the school (Fullan, 1982). This made me realize that providing generic prescriptions of dos and donts would not accommodate individual teachers specic needs. A micro-approach to school events was needed for me to help my teachers in their rst

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steps into real-world teaching. Finally, adapting Robsons (1993, p. Xii) acknowledgement I too appreciate that the real-world is something of a questionable concept. It is a metaphor used to express my intentions. As the article suggests, it is more of a state of mind than a real real-world. These notions guide my belief that it is imperative to get as close as possible to my teachers realities and learn how they use their repertoire of knowledge to interpret their experiences: What is it that they see, how do they perceive it and, what meaning do they ascribe to it? 4. Approaching the issue Thirty accounts of critical incidents were written by a selected sample of 5 novice teachers (3 Jews, 1 Arab and 1 Druze) during their rst year of teaching. The incidents were recorded on a weekly basis during their rst term in school, as part of their assignment in the Teacher as Researcher course at the college. Narrative accounts were supported by open interviews and weekly discussions with the respondents. The student teachers were introduced to the components of critical incidents which were used as an instructional tool (Tripp, 1993). This involved practice writing while going through phases of peer questioning to ll in gaps of information, followed by rewriting to provide a thicker description (Geertz, 1973). Students then discussed possible solutions in order to elucidate different denitions of the situations (Eraut, 1994) and to examine all possibilities before reaching a conclusion (Dewey, 1933). These four processes helped them to produce rich linguistic accounts of classroom events, think critically and reectively upon their practices, whilst surfacing beliefs and emotions about their immediate needs and professional expectations. This approach is grounded in the assumption cited by Hunter and Hatton (1998) that guided mentoring of a writing process enhances reection. Rodriquez and Syostrom (1998, p. 209) support this view claiming that Writing is a critical level of learning that provides a springboard from which students can move from the specic to the general as well as develop a habit of reection. This nding is supported by more recent research which shows that writing can become a catalyst to raise levels of reection where interpretations become more introspective and less descriptive (Leshem & Trafford, 2006, p. 11).

After 2 months of practicing the writing of critical incidents, students had to compile a portfolio of incidents from their daily teaching. These were analysed through repeated sorting and coding for dominant themes. Special attention was given to the type of incidents teachers chose as critical and to the language they used to unravel beliefs, levels of interpretation and insights. 5. Teachers experiences Drawing on teachers critical incidents, I illustrate the experiences and insights that indicate signicant turning points in the teachers journey. The analysis of the data revealed three distinct phases in the teachers journey into real-world teaching. 5.1. The transitional phase: looking forward A transition from the known to the unknown, the anticipated and the unanticipated, the familiar and the unfamiliar, the change from observers to active participants, are all descriptors of rst steps into teaching. What is it that constitutes this transitional phase? I was interested to discover what my teachers thought and felt at the threshold of real-world teaching. What is it they expect? The school venue was not new to them since they had played both roles of audience and actor throughout their practice teaching. A common feature in the teachers voices is that they were all aware of the notion of transition from one phase into another and they all expressed a certain level of expectation. Lena is trying not to be too idealistic. She has met the youth of today the system and the world. However, she still hopes that when she moves to the other side of the fence she will have the opportunity to make some change. I have no delusion of saving the world, the system or the youth of today. I do have the intentions to make a positive impact on some of the lives that I come into contact with. I want to make a difference in my own way. Ana looks forward to ownership. She can hardly wait to move from the phase of dependence to autonomy. When I have my own classroom, things will be different. I can hardly wait. Rana feels the same. She enters the eld full of energy and good intentions.

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I am keen on giving of myself. I am anxious to start already and feel the ownership of my own class. During their practicum teachers feel constrained by their cooperating teachers methodologies and educational philosophies. Many expressed their dismay at being told how to perform in their classroom to t into their cooperating teachers pedagogical practices. They claimed to have no freedom to display their personal enthusiasm and creativity. Similarly, Sue has it all on the tip of her tongue: ideas, tips, theories textbooksall the scaffolding that she needs to get through the threshold into the real world of teaching. She is excited to put it into practiceis it the harmony between theory and practice that she expects? I begin my teaching career in a urry of excitement and confusion. I have all these wonderful theories, ideas, tips and experiences from my practice teaching. I have done all the reading from last year and still have my textbook to refer toy The common feature in these teachers expectations is their avid desire to make a contribution in their own way. 5.2. The socialization phase: encountering reality I entered the classroom. There was perfect silence. A bunch of sweet little faces looked up at me with a puzzled look on their faces: Who is she? What is she doing here? Where is Rachel? I proceeded with my lesson plan. The children cooperated and everything was so relaxed and peaceful. How wonderful, I thought to myself. It is exactly as I imagined it in my dreams. Suddenly, just out of the blue, one of the children started running around the class, as if in a race. I couldnt believe my eyes. I was paralyzed, I became speechless. The other children seemed to enjoy the show, as they giggled and made all sorts of encouraging sounds. I was so miserable and completely lost. I couldnt remember any song or activity that I had learned to use as a savior in such unexpected situations. My mind went completely blank. As I turned around, I saw the principal at the door. He was quite annoyed with me for not being able to control the class. Once the bell rang, I was relieved and very

disappointed. It was after all my rst day in a new school and hey, what a start! This is how Ana was welcomed into her real world of teaching. On the surface Anas story is not unique. It typies the experiences of most novice teachers rst encounters with teaching. Some observers would see this process as an emotional roller-coaster during which the beginning teachers learn about their emotional makeup (Ryan, 1970). This process for novice teachers could be called experimenting and testing while hesitating at classroom doors to prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet. Corcoran (1981) describes it as reality shock which is characterized by a gap between the protected status of the student and the independent teacher. The consequence of this for the ex-student teacher is that they now have to accept professional responsibility for their actions. However, what makes Anas story unique is what Lave and Wenger (1991) call situated knowledge, how people respond to the specic context in which they operate. They claim that people learn through social practice, and that knowledge is constituted by the whole person in action, acting with the settings of that activity. In the same vein, Leinhardt (1988, p. 147) argues that we can learn much about the art of teaching if we seriously consider the nature of the environment in which teachers work and reason. These notions have guided my conception of the novice teachers experiences. What each teacher found in their world of teaching was therefore unique to themselves but not to others. How they make sense of events is context-specic and inuenced by their personal beliefs, values and life histories. 5.3. The learning phase: gaining insights This phase affords us six reective insights on the teachers entry into the real world of teaching. 5.3.1. Insight 1: mismatches and gaps I am so thick! Today I learnt one of the biggest lessons ever, and it was from one of my pupils. Dana in my 6th grade class is a non-reader. She has learning disabilities that are connected to her short-term memory, which makes it very difcult for her to remember the sounds and names of the letters. When she copies from the board, by the time her pen reaches the paper, she has already lost what

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she was trying to copy. Along with this, she has had some social problems which havent made her life among her peers easy. I have tried to give her some extra help but it is like trying to ll up a sieve with water. Admittedly, I have given up trying and just let her go her merry way in my lessons. I was inevitably thinking about all my pupils and what I still need to do with them until the end of the year. However, I decided to give Dana another try and see if I could get her to read. Today, at the end of the lesson I called Dana to me and discussed this with her. She didnt say a word but gave me a note that she had written to me asking to please include her in my lessons!!! I was totally blown away when I read the note. I realized that I had not been helping her by allowing her to go her own merry way; in fact, I had actually given the impression that she was not even worth my time or effort. When will I be able to balance out my reactions? Do I get the choice to decide who is worthy of the extra push? All she asked for is for me to ask her easy questions and to have her participate in the lesson. I should have thought of that! In another instance with another pupil the same teacher reected: Two things hit me like a ton of rocks: the rst was that he had been trying for ME and not for himself. The second was that, that was HIS denition of trying. There was this huge chasm between HIS reality and MY expectations. These accounts illustrate a two-folded realization. The teacher had to make a decision concerning Danas learning difculties. She was faced with a dilemma; extra time devoted to Dana will be at the expense of time for other pupils. She might even do Dana a favour by leaving her alone. However, Danas interpretation of the event was different. The teacher is suddenly aware of the mismatch between her intentions and Danas interpretation and in the second instance between the pupils reality and the teachers expectations. Kumaravadivelu (1991, p. 106) argues that the narrower the gap between teacher intentions and learner interpretations, the greater are the chances of achieving desired learning outcomes. He also observes that though mismatches may be inevitable they need not be totally negative. They can be sources of knowledge construction for both teachers and learners. These behavioural gaps created learning opportu-

nities for the teacher. They illuminated her dual role as teacher and learner, sensitized her to the complex unpredictable nature of classroom events and to the language lesson being a very tricky balancing act between the competing pedagogic and social pressures of life (Allwright, 2005, p. 21). 5.3.2. Insight 2: quests for professional identity Lakoff and Johnson (1980) suggest that metaphors are a powerful tool to describe our perceptions and understanding of experiences. Clandinin (1986) offers a similar view using the notion of image as a personal, meta-level, organizing concept in personal practical knowledge, and a perspective from which new experience is taken. In both, oral and written discourse teachers tended to use visual images to describe their feelings and experiences. The concept of role identity was very strongly expressed and was mainly concerned with two principal dimensions: role ambiguity and the multiplicity of roles that teaching entails (Handy, 1999, pp. 6367). Hawkins (2005, p. 61) describes identity formation as an on going negotiation between the individual and the social context or environment, with particular attention paid to operant cultural and power relations She contends that newcomers to these communities (schools, classrooms) enter into a complicated dance in which identities are negotiated and constructed through social interactions. Having to face different people and unique situations, the teachers suddenly realize the dynamic nature of their identity and the impact of these encounters on their perceptions of self. They are now ofcially dened as teachers and they are no longer student teachers. Within this role re-denition their employers expect them to perform professionally and competently, when actually they feel quite insecure as knowers. Handy (1999, p. 64) maintains that one of the crucial expectations that shape the role denition is that of the individual yif his or her conception of the role is unclearythere will be a degree of role ambiguity. He argues that this feeling is not necessarily bad as the ability to shape ones own role is a freedom that many people desire, but it may lead to role stress. Lets listen to some of their voices: I am still trying to nd who I am as a teacher. I feel like an imposter. I am new and still unsure of things, but I am teachingy and I dont even have my certicate. Am I faking?

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I am playing the role of the knower when in fact I am still a student. I feel quite uncomfortable with the ambiguity of my role. I am the new teacher I wonder how long will I be called like that. I am rst of all an educator and then and English teacher. I am responsible and obligated to guide, nurture and educate the kids in my care. I sometimes feel like a thermometer, feeling when they need me and always being there. I feel like Godcreating a new something out of nothing and being responsible for the consequences. I feel like a spy. I have to use all my senses to crack the unresolved and on top of it to sense what is happening around me! I thought that my job was to teach, but I very quickly learned that I had to become one of the club and socialize, whether I wanted it or not. I feel like I am in a maze, going on a journey and not knowing where I will end up. I feel like a giant question mark. The teachers believed that clarifying the issue of role and stress were due to suddenly realizing the complex and multidimensional nature of teaching: There is much more to being a teacher than just teaching, it is educating, creating, manipulating, socializing and navigating. These aspects have been dealt with in their preparation courses, however, only when they encountered them in the real world of teaching, did they fully understand the meaning of the enormity of the job and the pressure of accountability. This was often expressed in such questions as: Am I doing the right thing? Are they learning? 5.3.3. Insight 3: power and status conicts The following examples depict the micro-politics of the school environment. The insight that the teachers have gained was that socialization is not an easy process and that they sometimes have to comply with the school ethos which is against their own beliefs (Lacey, 1977). Their enthusiasm to make a change has been challenged by maintaining stability. During conversations in course sessions some expressed their frustration and even anger at having to conform to the established norms. Ana said. I had no chance in implementing my strategy of dealing with the trouble makes. I truly believed in my way but I felt a sort of resistance from both the homeroom teacher and the

principal. They were not very much in favour of challenging the school norms. (Homeroom teacher: a teacher responsible for the teaching and social events of a particular class for a whole year). Others displayed a much more resilient attitude and preferred to take an adaptive stance to avoid confrontation. This is illustrated in a teachers advice to her colleague: When you are new, you have to take a deep breath and suppress your feelings, even if it is against your principles. Similarly, Sue and Lena describe their resilient stance when they had to comply with implicit power struggles that resulted in feelings of loss of face and insecurity. Ana refers to her pupils: The message that has been conveyed by the 6th graders was: we are the veterans around here. They knew their way around the school; I was the one who needed their help. It really made me feel quite insecure and they might have sensed it While Sue complains about her superior: The homeroom teacher argued with me in front of the pupils. They immediately knew who the authority was. She crushed my self-image right there and then. 5.3.4. Insight 4: contradicting rationalities and delusions of myths The realities described by the teachers destabilized some of the set beliefs and values that framed their expectations about school agendas. This knowledge base is often derived from their past experiences and inuence the way they interpret how things are and should be. They somehow felt that they were at a loss in reconciling the two conicting ends. Lena was abbergasted because she had received two conicting pieces of advice from the same authority. And Sue was completely confused at the mixed messages she was given by the staff. I am completely confused. I was told that the 45 min of a lesson are precious and should be wisely exploited. Now I am reprimanded for being strict and self-centered. Let go, said the Homeroom teacher, your lesson is not the most important lesson, so what if the sports-teacher took 30 min of your lesson. The following day when I took an extended break with one of my problematic pupils, I was

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reprimanded for being late to my class. I was speechless. Am I naive? In another incident that Ana had with the parents of one of her pupils, she concludes: Now I really know that we dont know a damn thing!!! We are not equipped to deal with children and the parents of today. Ana is confronted with different norms of behaviour that shake her moral and ethical beliefs about what constitutes a wisely exploited lesson and a caring teacher. She interprets the educational event in an assertion that: The policy changes hourly and we are just trying to keep our heads above water and keep our names out of the newspaper. Sue identies the social schemes within the school system: I thought I had to concentrate on my teaching and the pupils. I realized that there is more to it. She articulates her own understanding of the situation and asserts that: You have to become one of the club and smile, mingle, even if you dont feel like it. This is the name of the gamethe hidden curriculum that nobody teaches you but you have to discover yourself, sometimes in the hard way, like me. 5.3.5. Insight 5: the rat-race syndrome Teachers did not anticipate how long they had to devote to administrative tasks, apart from also coping with cumulative teaching responsibilities plus emotional or physical consequences of the days teaching. This schedule was outside their experience of practice teaching as observers, having to teach only a few hours in each school. I cant keep up with this pace of running from one lesson to the other. I dont have a minute to myself. Every homeroom teacher has different requirement. Each one of them wants me to follow her way of doing things. I am going mad. 5.3.6. Insight 6: cultural differences The cultural aspect of inducting novice teachers into school was not given much attention in the class sessions, despite the students cultural diversity. This alerted my attention to the issue and

prompted further introspection. It was illuminating to observe the non-verbal astonished gestures of my two Arab teachers in one session when the Jewish teacher shared a recent experience from school life. They could sympathize with the pedagogical uncertainties and dilemmas; however, they were quite surprised to learn about the feelings of loneliness, estrangement, and even the animosity that this teacher experienced. Their social route into the real world of teaching seemed to be less bumpy according to their perceptions. I am shocked, said F (Arab teacher). I just cant believe the stories you are telling. In my school, I immediately felt at home. I was introduced to the teachers on the rst day, they all tried to help. It seemed as if the teachers room is one big family. I felt more or less the same, said the Druze teacher, we always nd somebody we know in the school. They are either from the same village, family related or know somebody from my village. 6. Conceptualizing the mutual journey Accompanying my teachers through their journey of real-world teaching, I realized that my teachers had led me through their trail of knowledge construction. This fed into my own reshaping of existing knowledge and belief systems. Jacoby and Gonzales (1991) assume that expert knowledge is shifting and temporal. They claim that Viewing expertnovice as a bipolar dichotomy yfails to capture both the complexity of what it means to know things and the dynamic uidity of expertnovice relations as they are constituted in unfolding interaction. Extending this view, Rogoff (1994) argues that when no one has all the responsibility for knowing and expertise is not static, opportunities for learning seem enhanced. Cochran-Smith and Lytle (1999) support these views by claiming that teacher research blurs the separation between teachers and researchers, knowers and doers, and experts and novices. I now recognise those views. My journey with my teachers reinforces these notions. I sensed that we were a community of practice (Lave & Wenger, 1991) where we learned from each other. There was obvious interplay between their reections and interpretations and my continual self-examination of my own practices and conceptions of teaching. These iterations

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became critical features in my learning as they provided both theoretical (assumptions about teacher training) and practical (users evaluative judgements) feedback. This can be illustrated in three cameos. When Ana asks How do I build that bridge between what I know and what I am able to do in the classroom? I was intrigued to know what is it that she knows and what does she think she is able to do in class; what is the gap between the two and how was it created; and, what theoretical basis underlies her nal statement of the reective account that: teaching has a life of its own. These were typical of the insights that my teachers arrived at, and they became the raw material for me to pursue through my own self exploration as I pondered on this question: Am I providing my student-teachers in my preparatory courses sufcient tools to help them in their self-study? We were all journeying into our respective professional worlds from different starting points. I was looking back and surveying the repertoire of paths making-up my professional journey whilst my teachers were taking initial steps to create their repertoire of personal experiential knowledge. On a practical level the critical incidents, the discussions and the random conversations provided me with vivid opportunities to understand my teachers experiences and rekindle my own memories of being a novice teacher. 7. My insights Looking back at my teachers critical incidents, I realized that some of their questions and assertions represented introspective interpretations that required a critical analysis of the event. Anas speculative question How do I build a bridge between what I know and what I am able to do in class, challenged my own perspective on novice teachers practical knowledge. For me this was evidence of what Daudelin (1996, p. 39) describes as a highly personal cognitive process which happens in the mental self. She argues that when a person engages in reection, he or she takes an experience from the outside world brings it inside the mind, turns it over and makes connectionsy Ana not only shows signs of deliberation in setting the problem (LaBoskey, 1994) but is also able to form a hypothesis which is implicit in her questions: If I bridge the gap, I might be able to solve the problem. The same accounts for Sues question: When will I be able to balance out my reactions? Balancing her

reaction might help her cope with pupils like Dana. Similarly, Lena explores her own feelings about parentteacher relationships by asking: Why do I see a parent teacher conference as threatening? and Why do I feel that I have to arrive with ammunition? Following these questions is a search for possible explanations: Is it the responsibility for the children that threatens me? Is it because I am new and still unsure of what I am teaching them? Am I being na ve? The questions that my teachers asked themselves challenged my own appreciation of their experiences. My students demonstrated what Daudelin (1996) describes as the stages of reection leading to learning e.g. articulation of a problem, analysis of the problem, formulation and testing of a tentative theory to explain the problem. Or they may have been developing a generality of knowing (Greeno, 1997) to develop ways of seeing and interpreting classrooms that are applicable to other situations (Edwards & Protheroe, 2003). Their assumptions about the micro politics of the school system and its effect on teaching (Zeichner & Gore, 1990) might also display moral concern. Their exhibitions of sensitivity to the uniqueness of situations seemed to acknowledge cultural differences. Perhaps all these realizations were reconstructing their understandings of what it means to be a teacher. These were the questions that challenged my belief system about novice teachers and extended my insights about my role in guiding my students into the real world of teaching. 8. A birds eye view: conceptualizing the process When the students stand at the gate of the real world of teaching they are at a transitional point in both their career and their learning (Bridges, 1991). They are leaving an institutional context which provided their professional training. This was preparatory for them as teachers; it was of a generic and collectivist nature with a primary purpose to develop their professional characteristics. Schools and colleges both expected students to gain appropriate skills and knowledge. From the trainees perspective they required basic knowledge in order to overcome their inexperience as semi-professionals and they recognized that they were dependant learners. For them the outcomes of institutional training should be gaining insights upon the profession and becoming aware of the multiple roles that they would full in a school.

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When novice teachers enter the world of teaching, they are faced with instant and immediate situations that turn into need-driven and continuous professional development. It is inescapable. This process is also irreversible. However, the schoolbased provision of induction and mentoring represents on-the-job, individualistic, remedial assistance for each student. This is professional guidance provided by schools for newly appointed novice teachers. However, for the student who is now a novice teacher they are faced with personal independence, evolving professional autonomy and a constant necessity to reect in and on practice (Schon, 1983). For them pragmatism in handling new situations, applying previously learnt theory to the reality of teaching and actively learning about their new roles become their day-to-day life. Bridges presents through a three-component model of change, the relationship between ending/ neutral zone/beginning that form a continuous change from the old to the new. The practical signicance of Bridges model is his inclusion of a neutral zone. This, he argues, is an in-between state full of uncertainty and confusion where people might rush forward or retreat to the past. He suggests that change need not be a sudden alteration from one phase to the other; transition and its duration will vary depending upon the individual and their respective change context. Thus, he proposes, that time in the neutral zone should not be rushed, for this is where change takes place. Bridges model explains the situation that the novice teachers were experiencing. The students were passing through three phases of transition. Firstly, they recognized an end to their total dependence upon a teacher training institution for guidance through each working day. Secondly, initial days and weeks in their new school confronted them with passing through a neutral zone. Here they had to cope with sets of roles, relationships and purposes as novices in a new school experience. Thirdly, they were entering a new beginning as accepted teachers within the professional community of their new school when they will inevitably take stock of both. This notion of change emphasizes the transitional stages through which the processes of altered states move. It portrays change as one in which previous states are carried over into the subsequent stage. This was evident in my students who carried forward their teacher-training experiences into their initial novice-teacher time in their new school.

Similarly, the experiences which they encountered in those early days inuenced how they proceeded and perceived their new professional environment. The practical implication of the neutral zone for teacher education calls for the need to acknowledge the notion that transition from one phase to another is developmental thereby teachers knowledge is shaped and reshaped by new insights emerging at different stages in their personal experiences. This has to be nurtured during the neutral zone. Equipping students with sets of skills is not sufcient to help them in the transition process. What is required from both trainers and trainees is to adopt an enquiring and a more conceptual stance to puzzling situations and allow space for students to make connections and derive meanings from their experiences. This is when real and effective transformation takes place. Using Bridges construct also allowed me to recognise my own transitional process of change. My traditional view was that my students were adequately prepared to cope with novice days in their rst teaching appointment. This was my ending stage. My neutral zone combined collecting this data and reecting upon it through my professional lens as a teacher trainer. Here, I had moved from a relatively unquestioning and accepting view of my role to a new realization of the coping strategies needed by contemporary novice teachers (my students). The outcome of this investigationmy new beginningare the insights that I have gained and the components which can now be included in my future teacher-training programmes. Thus, appreciating these three stages of change enabled me to realize that at times in the past I had not really recognised that different demands were latent in my students. These were determined by their own passing through the three stages that Bridges outlined. This birds eye view used my students experiences during their initial time in a new school as the vehicle to conduct my own self-review. In this respect my investigation contained multiple levels of analysis and interpretation. The evidence showed a variety of met and unmet expectations by my students of their initial time in schools. It is the presenting issue in this investigation, and provides an illuminative and evaluative perspective (Parlett & Hamilton, 1972) on my assumptions regarding the suitability and efcacy of one component in my professional role.

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9. Conclusions My interest in discovering what my student teachers experienced in their initial weeks of teaching stemmed from wanting to evaluate the relevance of their training. This was a regular part of my teacher-training role over many years. However, the specic focus for this investigation was prompted by my re-acquaintance with Erauts (1994) ideas. As a consequence, in researching my own work it was impossible for me to be detached, and so the examination of my involvement shaped the way in which my data was interpreted (Holloway & Jefferson, 2000, p. 33). In this way, two complementary themes emerged from the evidence. Firstly, there were insights on how the teachers coped in their new working context, and secondly, those insights then provided the foundation for my own learning. Although seeking to understand the emotional experiences of student teachers as they took on the role of teachers is potentially complex, the evidence that was collected simplied that task. The comments from my students represent very direct, realtime and practical feedback to my colleagues, and I, on the questions that initiated this investigation. It showed that teachers should be prepared to acknowledge gaps and dissonances between their college learning as opportunities for personal development on-the-job. Furthermore, they should be willing to engage constantly in exploring their own classroom events discourses and patterns of interaction. Their comments also conrmed that they drew upon taught programmes for guidance and clues to coping with emergent problems. This suggested that retaining ideas, or searching for potential solutions, were signicant parts of their coping strategy. Identifying how novice teachers make sense of events by entering their new world of teaching, can help to build a repertoire of cases. My investigation generated such cases as cameos and vignettes and they were critical incidents of professional experience. These can be used as teaching tools and guiding aids by teacher trainers to help subsequent trainee teachers appreciate the experiences of joining a new school. Teacher trainers can use such critical incidents as instructional tools to raise awareness of novice teachers towards their own teaching processes. This will help them combine self-critical subjective perspectives (McIntyre, 2005, p. 367) and Bridges (1991) three stages

through problematising (Orland-Barak, 2002) for discussion the practical issues that confront trainees teachers prior to, and on entry to, rst teaching positions. Real-world critical incidents provide opportunities for teachers and learners to reect on authentic teaching experiences. This, in turn, enhances peer discussions that help to overcome feelings of novice teacher isolation by recognizing that your own emotional experiences are not unique (Wincup, 2001, p. 29). This is a practical outcome from my investigation, and it applies to the work of my colleague teacher trainers as well as to me. The evidence from this study suggests, though it is difcult to prove, that these novice teachers were faced with six dilemmas as they took up their rst post in a school. Firstly, the relative signicance and order in which these dilemmas appeared was personal to each student. Secondly, the excitement of the rst post and the rst lesson seemed to be met by various levels of frustration. Thirdly, their need to survive both in the school and in their classroom offset the fulllment of becoming and independent teacher. This also reected the dilemmas of wishing to be creative within the regularity of the school day which itself may have been simply mundane. These three dilemmas are personal and reect the necessity to cope emotionally with their new experiences. The remaining dilemmas stem from coping with the practicalities of schools as organizations. Fourthly, some frustration emerged when novice teachers sought to take advantage of the opportunities that they experienced whilst coping with the challenges from pupils, colleague teachers and administrative demands of the school. Fifthly, the notion of personal space and ownership then had to be balanced against the school culture of collective responsibility and professional exibility. Finally, novice teachers had to reconcile the harmony that they anticipated in the school with the multiple layers of discord that are found in any organization. The potential for learning, therefore, was directly determined by how our students viewed their preparation by us to cope with their rst formal teaching appointment. If teacher trainers are to work with the notions of Donald Schon, then perhaps we ourselves might revisit our own earlier professional experiences in parallel with those of our students. The feedback that we receive from our students takes on far greater signicance when it is

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given from their real-world context of the school. Their insights at that time can incorporate the experience of practice. Thus, we should perhaps distinguish between this type of feedback and other evaluative comments that are made before such experience is gained by our students. My world of teaching contained a different set of insights to those of the students. This study shows how within one component of a teacher training programme a veteran expert teacher learnt from novices whose experiences enabled practical theories (Kroath, 2002, p. 49) to be made more relevant to their immediate needs. Kroath argues that ypractical theories guide, monitor, and justify professionals action and are functionally equal to scientic theories. He suggests that everyone guides their life through theories that are on the virtual epistemological level and on the real-practical level (Kroath, 2002, p. 55). He implies that practitioners who are also researchers possess a duality of outlookgiving conceptual meanings to events and seeking concrete ways to cope with present situations. This notion provided a deeper understanding of my educative and developmental role as a teacher trainer. I have learnt the importance of alerting students to the great variety, complexity and richness of the teachers life by sophisticating the beholding of their own classrooms (Stake, 1995) and as a result, helping them to underpin the theories within their practice and conceptualize their experiences. The real world of teaching is both unreal and surreal having its delightful absurdities and pleasures as well as its difculties and problems. These absurdities, pleasures and difculties as depicted in their critical incidents can be developed into what Orland-Barak (2002) describes as occasions for learning. She argues that these moments of crisis then help novice teachers to make sense of the world of teaching. I believe that the more rounded and educated they are the better they will be able to navigate their own ways through the messy labyrinth of education and teaching. This means that they have to be helped to see themselves as people with their own points of view and sets of values which then become lenses, prisms or crystals with which they reect and refract the teaching world they experience. I felt that the engagement in a self-examination of my professional experience by making the familiar strange (Erickson, 1984) had enriched my understanding of educational phenomena that I had taken for granted. It is in this last conclusion that the real

value of this self-review account has value for me. Deciding to challenge the assumption that one knows or I understand need not be a high risk issue (Parlett & Dearden, 1977). However, it can provide a simple and fairly immediate immersion in the value systems that have previously been unscrutinised. In a wider sense, this implies the continuous need for teacher educators to reassess their practice through introspection of their own sources of information (Freiberg & Waxman, 1990) and accept reection about the pedagogy of a teacher education course as a worthwhile exercise (Moguel, 2004).

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