Narrative of self

A few years ago when starting further study, I became convinced of the value of personal narrative as a means to make sense of experience (Ochs & Capps, 1996). Of course, any self-narrative carries the risk of conveying  my ‘preferred self’, although that is not my intention. Stories are a way of knowing (Connelly & Clandinin, 1985) and, in exploring my own story as a teacher, learner and leader I hope to better understand myself and learn from others. I have been teaching for 25 years, almost half my life. I began teaching secondary school History in the UK in the early days of the National Curriculum, and then spent two years in The Netherlands teaching English as an Additional Language (EAL) at an international primary school. Since 2001, I have lived and worked in Australia as an EAL teacher, consultant and Assistant Principal. I am an aspiring Principal and a life-long learner, undertaking a Masters in Educational Leadership having graduated last year with a professional doctorate in Education. My eldest son is in his third year of teacher training and it strikes me as interesting that when he begins his teaching career his context will, in many ways, be similar to mine a quarter of a century ago. In the global education system of which we are part, international ‘policy borrowing’ (Lingard, 2010) means that he will be teaching from a prescribed national curriculum and preparing students for participation in national testing for which he will be held accountable. Yet teachers’ work has changed, as has the role of leaders, and education is often shaped more by political and economic imperatives than moral and philosophical ones. Change is a constant, and the challenge of leading and managing change is what I aim to explore in my blog.

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