GSS cIRcle Open Scholar Award (UBCV Non-Thesis Graduate Work)

The Teaching Coats Project : exploring the threads of our teacher identities through arts-based research 2012

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  THE	
  TEACHING	
  COATS	
  PROJECT:	
   	
   EXPLORING	
  THE	
  THREADS	
  OF	
  OUR	
  TEACHER	
  IDENTITIES	
   	
   THROUGH	
  ARTS-­‐BASED	
  RESEARCH	
  	
  	
   by	
  	
   TIFFANY	
  POIRIER	
  	
  B.A.,	
  The	
  University	
  of	
  Victoria,	
  2004	
  	
  	
  B.Ed.,	
  The	
  University	
  of	
  British	
  Columbia,	
  2006	
  	
  	
  A	
  MAJOR	
  PAPER	
  SUBMITTED	
  IN	
  PARTIAL	
  FULFILLMENT	
  OF	
  THE	
  REQUIREMENTS	
  	
  FOR	
  THE	
  DEGREE	
  OF	
  	
  	
  MASTER	
  OF	
  EDUCATION	
  	
   in	
  	
   THE	
  FACULTY	
  OF	
  GRADUATE	
  STUDIES	
  	
   (Educational	
  Administration	
  and	
  Leadership)	
  	
  	
   THE	
  UNIVERSITY	
  OF	
  BRITISH	
  COLUMBIA	
  	
  	
  (Vancouver)	
  	
   	
  April	
  2012	
  	
   	
  ©	
  Tiffany	
  Poirier,	
  2012	
    ii  Abstract	
  	
   In	
  a	
  discussion	
  of	
  teacher	
  identity	
  in	
  The	
  Courage	
  to	
  Teach,	
  Parker	
  Palmer	
  (2007)	
  shares	
  this	
  metaphorical	
  Hasidic	
  tale:	
  “We	
  need	
  a	
  coat	
  with	
  two	
  pockets.	
  	
  In	
  one	
  pocket	
  there	
  is	
  dust,	
  and	
  in	
  the	
  other	
  pocket	
  there	
  is	
  gold.	
  	
  We	
  need	
  a	
  coat	
  with	
  two	
  pockets	
  to	
  remind	
  us	
  of	
  who	
  we	
  are”	
  (p.	
  113).	
  	
  Inspired	
  by	
  the	
  powerful	
  imagery	
  and	
  meaning	
  of	
  these	
  words,	
  the	
  author	
  of	
  this	
  study	
  created	
  “The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project”,	
  an	
  arts-­‐based	
  professional	
  development	
  activity	
  for	
  teachers,	
  which	
  she	
  used	
  as	
  the	
  basis	
  for	
  this	
  research.	
  	
  	
  The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project	
  involved	
  study	
  participants	
  in	
  making	
  their	
  own	
  “Teaching	
  Coats”;	
  these	
  were	
  blank	
  white	
  lab	
  coats	
  that	
  teachers	
  transformed	
  with	
  personally	
  chosen	
  elements	
  such	
  as	
  imagery,	
  text,	
  memorabilia,	
  and	
  symbolic	
  objects.	
  	
  Participants	
  creatively	
  expressed	
  aspects	
  of	
  their	
  professional	
  journeys	
  and	
  teaching	
  philosophies	
  on	
  their	
  Teaching	
  Coats,	
  analyzing	
  their	
  choices	
  and	
  deepening	
  their	
  self-­‐awareness	
  through	
  the	
  process.	
  	
  Each	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  evolved	
  and	
  was	
  examined	
  as	
  a	
  wearable	
  mixed	
  media	
  collage	
  representing	
  a	
  teacher’s	
  identity.	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  The	
  central	
  questions	
  of	
  this	
  study	
  included:	
  What	
  are	
  the	
  ways	
  teachers	
  interpret	
  the	
  task	
  to	
  create	
  their	
  own	
  Teaching	
  Coats?	
  	
  And	
  what	
  stories	
  do	
  teachers	
  share	
  in	
  making	
  and	
  discussing	
  the	
  meaning	
  of	
  their	
  Teaching	
  Coats?	
  	
  	
  Using	
  an	
  arts-­‐based	
  narrative	
  inquiry	
  methodology,	
  this	
  research	
  emphasized	
  a/r/tography	
  practices	
  and	
  the	
  author’s	
  autoethnographical	
  account	
  of	
  her	
  experiences	
  both	
  creating	
  her	
  own	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  and	
  facilitating	
  the	
  project	
  with	
  three	
  other	
  teachers.	
  	
  The	
  author	
  introduced	
  the	
  concept	
  of	
  a	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  to	
    iii  participants	
  during	
  one-­‐on-­‐one	
  interviews	
  and	
  invited	
  them	
  to	
  continue	
  creating	
  their	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  in	
  their	
  own	
  time	
  over	
  several	
  months.	
  	
  During	
  follow-­‐up	
  interviews,	
  participants	
  discussed	
  the	
  features	
  and	
  meanings	
  of	
  their	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  and	
  shared	
  reflections	
  on	
  their	
  creative	
  processes.	
  	
  The	
  data	
  collected	
  included	
  participants’	
  stories,	
  written	
  statements,	
  interview	
  transcripts,	
  and	
  photographs	
  of	
  Teaching	
  Coats.	
  	
  	
  The	
  data	
  was	
  analyzed	
  around	
  a	
  central	
  theme	
  of	
  teacher	
  identity	
  and	
  explored	
  through	
  five	
  interrelated	
  themes:	
  teacher	
  identity	
  as	
  a	
  contextually	
  embedded	
  and	
  co-­‐constructed	
  social	
  phenomenon,	
  teachers’	
  need	
  for	
  self-­‐awareness,	
  the	
  complexity	
  of	
  clarifying	
  boundaries	
  between	
  one’s	
  personal	
  and	
  professional	
  identity,	
  teacher	
  authenticity,	
  and	
  transformation.	
  	
  This	
  study	
  offers	
  a	
  rationale	
  for	
  how	
  The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project,	
  as	
  an	
  example	
  of	
  an	
  arts-­‐based	
  professional	
  development	
  opportunity,	
  may	
  foster	
  teacher	
  identity	
  by	
  providing	
  a	
  framework	
  for	
  independent	
  exploration	
  and/or	
  participation	
  in	
  a	
  practice-­‐based	
  community	
  of	
  inquiry.	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
   	
    iv  Preface	
  	
  	
   Ethics	
  approval	
  for	
  this	
  research	
  study	
  was	
  obtained	
  from	
  the	
  University	
  of	
  British	
  Columbia	
  Behavioural	
  Research	
  Ethics	
  Board	
  as	
  a	
  minimal	
  risk	
  study,	
  under	
  UBC	
  BREB	
  number:	
  H11-­‐02805.	
  	
   The	
  author,	
  Tiffany	
  Poirier,	
  published	
  a	
  version	
  of	
  this	
  paper	
  online	
  with	
  additional	
  information,	
  photographs,	
  and	
  video	
  on	
  her	
  website:	
  www.teachingcoats.com	
  	
  	
  	
   	
    v  Table	
  of	
  Contents	
   Abstract	
  .......................................................................................................................................	
  ii	
   Preface	
  ........................................................................................................................................	
  iv	
   List	
  of	
  Tables	
  ...........................................................................................................................	
  vii	
   List	
  of	
  Figures	
  ........................................................................................................................	
  viii	
   Acknowledgments	
  ..................................................................................................................	
  ix	
   Dedication	
  .................................................................................................................................	
  xi	
   Prologue	
  .....................................................................................................................................	
  1	
   Chapter	
  1:	
  Introduction	
  .........................................................................................................	
  8	
   The	
  Inspiration	
  ..................................................................................................................................	
  8	
   The	
  Idea	
  ................................................................................................................................................	
  9	
   Q.	
  How	
  do	
  you	
  make	
  a	
  Teaching	
  Coat?	
  ....................................................................................................	
  9	
   Q.	
  What	
  is	
  the	
  purpose	
  of	
  a	
  Teaching	
  Coat?	
  ...........................................................................................	
  9	
   Q.	
  What	
  are	
  immediate	
  practical	
  uses	
  and	
  benefits	
  of	
  a	
  Teaching	
  Coat?	
  ................................	
  10	
   Q.	
  Who	
  should	
  make	
  a	
  Teaching	
  Coat?	
  .................................................................................................	
  12	
   Q.	
  What	
  are	
  the	
  long-­‐term	
  benefits	
  of	
  a	
  Teaching	
  Coat?	
  ...............................................................	
  13	
   Q.	
  What	
  challenges/opportunities	
  surface	
  in	
  making	
  and	
  sharing	
  a	
  Teaching	
  Coat?	
  .......	
  13	
   Q.	
  How	
  can	
  a	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  compete	
  for	
  relevancy	
  in	
  the	
  21st	
  century?	
  ................................	
  14	
   The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project:	
  A	
  Research	
  Study	
  ....................................................................	
  16	
   Chapter	
  2:	
  Exploring	
  the	
  Literature	
  ...............................................................................	
  17	
   Central	
  Theme:	
  Teacher	
  Identity	
  ..............................................................................................	
  19	
   Chapter	
  3:	
  Methodologies	
  and	
  Reflections	
  ..................................................................	
  23	
   Why	
  this	
  project?	
  Why	
  this	
  way?	
  ...............................................................................................	
  23	
   Searching	
  for	
  a	
  Methodology	
  ......................................................................................................	
  26	
   Blending	
  Methodologies	
  ..............................................................................................................	
  29	
  My	
  Lens,	
  My	
  Autoethnography	
  ...............................................................................................................	
  29	
  Arts-­‐Based	
  Research	
  ...................................................................................................................................	
  32	
  A/r/tography	
  ..................................................................................................................................................	
  34	
  Narrative	
  Inquiry	
  ..........................................................................................................................................	
  35	
  Bringing	
  It	
  All	
  Together:	
  Arts-­‐Based	
  Narrative	
  Inquiry	
  ..............................................................	
  37	
   The	
  Participants,	
  The	
  Procedures	
  ............................................................................................	
  39	
   Chapter	
  4:	
  Our	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  .........................................................................................	
  45	
   Phoebe’s	
  Story:	
  ................................................................................................................................	
  45	
  I.	
  Setting	
  the	
  Scene	
  .......................................................................................................................................	
  45	
  II.	
  Phoebe’s	
  Approach	
  .................................................................................................................................	
  45	
  III.	
  Phoebe’s	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  ......................................................................................................................	
  46	
  IV.	
  Phoebe’s	
  Meanings	
  ................................................................................................................................	
  47	
  V.	
  Phoebe’s	
  Next	
  Chapters:	
  .......................................................................................................................	
  47	
   Denyse’s	
  Story:	
  ................................................................................................................................	
  48	
  I.	
  Setting	
  the	
  Scene	
  .......................................................................................................................................	
  48	
  II.	
  Denyse’s	
  Approach	
  .................................................................................................................................	
  49	
  III.	
  Denyse’s	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  .......................................................................................................................	
  50	
  IV.	
  Denyse’s	
  Meanings	
  ................................................................................................................................	
  50	
    vi  V.	
  Denyse’s	
  Next	
  Chapters:	
  .......................................................................................................................	
  52	
   Fred’s	
  Story:	
  .....................................................................................................................................	
  53	
  I.	
  Setting	
  the	
  Scene	
  .......................................................................................................................................	
  53	
  II.	
  Fred’s	
  Approach	
  .......................................................................................................................................	
  54	
  III.	
  Fred’s	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  ............................................................................................................................	
  55	
  IV.	
  Fred’s	
  Meanings	
  ......................................................................................................................................	
  56	
  III.	
  Fred’s	
  Next	
  Chapters	
  ............................................................................................................................	
  57	
   My	
  Story:	
  ............................................................................................................................................	
  58	
  I.	
  Setting	
  the	
  Scene	
  .......................................................................................................................................	
  58	
  II.	
  My	
  Approach	
  .............................................................................................................................................	
  58	
  III.	
  My	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  ...................................................................................................................................	
  60	
  IV.	
  My	
  Meanings	
  ............................................................................................................................................	
  61	
  IV.	
  My	
  Next	
  Chapters	
  ...................................................................................................................................	
  66	
   Chapter	
  5:	
  The	
  Discussion	
  .................................................................................................	
  69	
   Embedded	
  Threads	
  ........................................................................................................................	
  70	
   Pulling	
  Threads	
  ...............................................................................................................................	
  73	
  Self-­‐Awareness	
  ..............................................................................................................................................	
  74	
  Boundaries	
  of	
  Identity	
  ................................................................................................................................	
  77	
  Teacher	
  Authenticity	
  ...................................................................................................................................	
  81	
  Transformation	
  .............................................................................................................................................	
  83	
   Making	
  It	
  Practical	
  .........................................................................................................................	
  87	
   Chapter	
  6:	
  Conclusions	
  &	
  Looking	
  Ahead	
  .....................................................................	
  91	
   Challenges	
  .........................................................................................................................................	
  92	
   Opportunities	
  ..................................................................................................................................	
  93	
   In	
  Development	
  ...............................................................................................................................	
  94	
   Next	
  Steps:	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  for	
  Social	
  Justice	
  ........................................................................	
  95	
   Epilogue:	
  An	
  Invitation	
  .......................................................................................................	
  98	
   Bibliography	
  .........................................................................................................................	
  101	
   Appendices	
  ...........................................................................................................................	
  107	
   Appendix	
  A:	
  Ethics	
  Approval	
  ....................................................................................................	
  107	
    	
  	
   	
    vii  List	
  of	
  Tables	
   Table	
  1:	
  The	
  Commitments	
  of	
  an	
  A/r/tographic	
  Community;	
  A/r/tographic	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  Elements	
  of	
  The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project…………………………………………………35	
  	
   	
    viii  List	
  of	
  Figures	
    Figure	
  1.1:	
  Transforming	
  a	
  lab	
  coat	
  into	
  a	
  Teaching	
  Coat……………………………………….9	
  Figure	
  1.2:	
  An	
  example	
  I	
  created	
  of	
  how	
  a	
  student's	
  Learning	
  Coat	
  might	
  look...……11	
  Figure	
  4.1:	
  Phoebe's	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  (front	
  view)………………………………………………….45	
  Figure	
  4.2:	
  Phoebe's	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  (back	
  view)…………………………………………………..46	
  Figure	
  4.3:	
  Phoebe's	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  (detail)………………...……………………………………….47	
  Figure	
  4.4:	
  Denyse's	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  (front	
  view)………………………………………………….48	
  Figure	
  4.5:	
  Denyse's	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  (detail)…………………………………………………………50	
  Figure	
  4.6:	
  Denyse's	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  (side	
  view)……………………………………………………51	
  Figure	
  4.7:	
  Fred's	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  (front	
  view)………………………………………………………53	
  Figure	
  4.8:	
  Fred's	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  (front	
  view)………………………………………………………55	
  Figure	
  4.9:	
  Fred's	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  (back	
  view)…………………………………………...………….57	
  Figure	
  4.10:	
  My	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  (back	
  view)…………………………………………………………58	
  Figure	
  4.11:	
  Dying	
  my	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  with	
  chai	
  tea………………………………………………59	
  Figure	
  4.12:	
  My	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  (various	
  views)……………………………………………………60	
  Figure	
  4.13:	
  My	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  (right	
  arm)…………………………………………………………..61	
  Figure	
  4.14:	
  My	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  (left	
  pocket)………………………………………………………...61	
  Figure	
  4.15:	
  My	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  (collar)………………………………………………………………..62	
  Figure	
  4.16:	
  My	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  (lining)………………………………………………………………..62	
  Figure	
  4.17:	
  My	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  (front,	
  right	
  side)…………………………………………………63	
  Figure	
  4.18:	
  My	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  (left	
  arm)…………………………………………………………….64	
  Figure	
  4.19:	
  My	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  (back,	
  right	
  side)………………………………………………….65	
  Figure	
  4.20:	
  My	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  (inside	
  the	
  left	
  pocket)…………………………………………65	
  Figure	
  4.21:	
  My	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  (gold	
  and	
  dust)……………………………………………………66	
  Figure	
  4.22:	
  My	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  (back	
  shoulders)………………………………………………….67	
  Figure	
  4.23:	
  My	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  (front	
  view)…………………………………………………………68	
   	
    ix  Acknowledgments	
   To	
  My	
  Mentors...	
  I	
  offer	
  my	
  deep	
  gratitude	
  to	
  Dr.	
  Carl	
  Leggo	
  for	
  supervising	
  this	
  research	
  and	
  providing	
  inspiration	
  and	
  support	
  to	
  expand	
  the	
  project.	
  	
  As	
  well,	
  I	
  thank	
  Dr.	
  David	
  Coulter	
  for	
  sharing	
  valuable	
  feedback	
  as	
  the	
  second	
  reader	
  for	
  this	
  paper.	
  	
  To	
  all	
  of	
  my	
  mentors	
  and	
  other	
  great	
  professors:	
  I	
  thank	
  you	
  for	
  your	
  patience,	
  for	
  sharing	
  the	
  world	
  with	
  me	
  as	
  you	
  see	
  it,	
  and	
  for	
  the	
  infinite	
  gifts	
  that	
  shine	
  through	
  who	
  you	
  are.	
  	
  	
   To	
  the	
  Teachers	
  of	
  The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project…	
  I	
  want	
  to	
  thank	
  all	
  the	
  teachers	
  who	
  contributed	
  to	
  this	
  project	
  by	
  making	
  a	
  Teaching	
  Coat,	
  offering	
  advice	
  or	
  reflections	
  on	
  the	
  process,	
  and/or	
  sharing	
  the	
  project	
  with	
  others.	
  	
  It	
  is	
  an	
  honour	
  to	
  explore	
  and	
  create	
  with	
  you.	
   To	
  My	
  Students	
  and	
  the	
  People	
  of	
  All	
  Ages	
  with	
  Whom	
  I	
  Work…	
  You	
  teach	
  me	
  more	
  than	
  you	
  know.	
  	
  I	
  am	
  fulfilled	
  because	
  of	
  this	
  great	
  privilege	
  to	
  work	
  with	
  you.	
   To	
  My	
  Family,	
  Friends,	
  Colleagues,	
  &	
  Classmates…	
  What	
  we	
  share	
  are	
  my	
  greatest	
  treasures.	
  	
  You	
  are	
  a	
  part	
  of	
  me—your	
  words,	
  your	
  actions,	
  and	
  your	
  ways	
  of	
  being.	
  	
  	
  To	
  my	
  husband	
  Robin,	
  you	
  and	
  our	
  son	
  are	
  my	
  world.	
  	
  This	
  project	
  happened	
  because	
  you	
  support,	
  trust	
  and	
  believe	
  in	
  me,	
  and	
  you	
  understand	
  the	
  importance	
  of	
  what	
  Virginia	
  Woolf	
  calls	
  “A	
  Room	
  of	
  One’s	
  Own”—Even	
  though	
  I	
  know	
  you	
  don’t	
  know	
  what	
  that	
  means,	
  I	
  imagine	
  upon	
  reading	
  this	
  you	
  will	
  indulge	
  my	
  explanation,	
  laugh	
  and	
  say,	
  “Room	
  of	
  one’s	
  own?	
  Honey,	
  you	
  have	
  taken	
  over	
  the	
  whole	
  house!”	
  	
    x  Thank	
  you	
  for	
  making	
  space	
  for	
  my	
  projects,	
  for	
  letting	
  my	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  work	
  spread	
  out	
  and	
  colonize	
  our	
  home	
  for	
  many	
  months.	
  	
  I	
  now	
  return	
  our	
  shared	
  space:	
  the	
  dining	
  room	
  is	
  cleared	
  of	
  fabric	
  scraps,	
  papers,	
  books,	
  and	
  markers,	
  and	
  we	
  can	
  have	
  a	
  lovely	
  dinner	
  for	
  once	
  on	
  the	
  table.	
  And	
  to	
  James,	
  my	
  son	
  and	
  Earth,	
  moon,	
  and	
  stars:	
  	
  I	
  wish	
  for	
  you	
  the	
  courage	
  and	
  opportunity	
  to	
  explore	
  the	
  corners	
  of	
  your	
  universe,	
  discover	
  and	
  make	
  your	
  own	
  meanings,	
  and	
  feel	
  and	
  share	
  love.	
  	
  Baby	
  boy,	
  I	
  have	
  loved	
  to	
  watch	
  you	
  already	
  reveling	
  in	
  play	
  with	
  dirt	
  and	
  with	
  rocks—	
   may	
  your	
  pockets	
  always	
  be	
  filled	
  	
   with	
  both	
  dust	
  and	
  gold;	
   may	
  you	
  see,	
  feel,	
  and	
  never	
  forget	
  	
   the	
  miracle	
  you	
  are.	
  	
    xi  Dedication	
  	
   	
  	
  	
  	
   	
   	
   For	
  you,	
  teacher—	
   	
   for	
  the	
  work	
  you	
  do,	
   	
   the	
  gifts	
  you	
  share	
   	
   and	
  	
  	
   	
   for	
  who	
  you	
  are.  1  Prologue	
   The	
  Fog	
  	
   It’s	
  spring	
  of	
  2011.	
  	
  I’m	
  cradling	
  my	
  beautiful	
  sleeping	
  baby	
  boy	
  in	
  a	
  rocking	
  chair	
  by	
  the	
  window	
  and	
  considering	
  the	
  haze	
  of	
  the	
  morning.	
  	
  Inside	
  we	
  are	
  warm,	
  mother	
  and	
  child	
  together	
  in	
  our	
  precious	
  little	
  world.	
  	
  I	
  imagine	
  with	
  pride	
  the	
  loving	
  portrait	
  we	
  frame	
  to	
  the	
  larger	
  world	
  outside.	
  	
  A	
  neighbor	
  on	
  the	
  street	
  looks	
  up	
  and	
  notices	
  too.	
  	
  She	
  gives	
  a	
  wave	
  and	
  a	
  knowing	
  smile,	
  passing	
  by	
  with	
  her	
  kids	
  on	
  the	
  way	
  to	
  work	
  and	
  school.	
  	
  I	
  wonder,	
  how	
  many	
  people	
  also	
  live	
  a	
  story	
  like	
  ours?	
  	
  How	
  many	
  people	
  bring	
  home	
  a	
  long-­‐awaited	
  child,	
  with	
  hearts	
  so	
  full	
  they	
  could	
  burst,	
  and	
  want	
  to	
  know	
  how	
  to	
  savour	
  each	
  sacred	
  moment?	
  	
  And	
  how	
  many	
  people—in	
  being,	
  loving,	
  and	
  working	
  all	
  at	
  once—struggle	
  to	
  see	
  clearly	
  amid	
  the	
  pressure	
  system	
  of	
  their	
  complex	
  lives?	
  I’m	
  in	
  a	
  fog.	
  I	
  hold	
  my	
  child	
  closer	
  and	
  kiss	
  his	
  perfect	
  forehead,	
  while	
  in	
  my	
  own	
  head	
  the	
  molecules	
  condense.	
  	
  Behind	
  the	
  serene	
  eyes	
  I	
  keep	
  for	
  my	
  son,	
  my	
  mind	
  barrels	
  like	
  a	
  transport	
  truck	
  on	
  a	
  deadline.	
  	
  As	
  a	
  first-­‐time	
  mother,	
  a	
  classroom	
  teacher,	
  and	
  a	
  master	
  of	
  education	
  student,	
  I’m	
  trying	
  to	
  see,	
  steer	
  and	
  hold	
  together	
  a	
  multi-­‐compartmentalized	
  life.	
  	
  I	
  hear	
  the	
  pieces	
  crashing	
  into	
  each	
  other	
  around	
  me,	
  and	
  what	
  can	
  I	
  do?	
  	
  It’s	
  an	
  existential	
  Tetris	
  with	
  questions	
  falling	
  at	
  a	
  graduating	
  pace:	
  	
  	
   Who	
  am	
  I	
  in	
  these	
  fragmented	
  bits?	
   How	
  do	
  they	
  fit	
  together?	
    2  Who	
  is	
  this	
  new	
  me?	
   Am	
  I	
  much	
  different	
  	
   	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  from	
  the	
  old	
  me?	
   	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  Am	
  I	
  many	
  different	
  people?	
  	
  	
   	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  How	
  do	
  these	
  identities	
   	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  intersect,	
  or	
  	
   	
  	
   	
   	
   	
   	
   	
   	
   	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  collapse?	
   	
  	
  	
  How	
  can	
  I	
  give	
  my	
  child,	
  	
   my	
  students,	
  	
   and	
  my	
  studies	
   the	
  	
  best	
  	
   of	
  myself…	
  	
   	
   	
   	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  when	
  I’m	
  	
  s—t—r—e—t—c—h—e—d	
   	
  	
  	
  	
  across	
  different	
  places?	
  	
   	
  What	
  boundaries	
  	
   	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  should	
  I	
  draw?	
  	
  	
   	
   	
   	
   	
   	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  Where	
  do	
  I	
  find	
   	
  	
  	
  answers?	
   	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  How	
  do	
  I	
  stay	
  in	
  focus	
   	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  in	
  the	
  bigger	
  picture?	
   	
  In	
  my	
  baby-­‐free	
  hand	
  is	
  the	
  reading	
  assignment	
  for	
  my	
  next	
  university	
  class,	
  Maxine	
  Greene’s	
  exquisite	
  piece,	
  “Wide	
  Awakeness	
  and	
  the	
  Moral	
  Life.”	
  	
  I	
  find	
  the	
    3  timing	
  to	
  face	
  an	
  article	
  about	
  “wide	
  awakeness”	
  rather	
  ironic—right	
  now	
  I	
  can’t	
  keep	
  my	
  own	
  eyes	
  open.	
  	
  Greene’s	
  words	
  fall	
  away	
  as	
  I	
  sink	
  into	
  a	
  dream.	
   Through	
  the	
  keyhole,	
  I	
  see	
  a	
  child.	
  	
  I	
  open	
  the	
  door,	
  and	
  a	
  little	
  girl	
  enters	
  with	
   the	
  chilly	
  air.	
  	
  She	
  appears	
  scruffy	
  with	
  dark	
  hair	
  in	
  knots	
  and	
  a	
  yellow	
  sweatshirt	
  with	
   holes	
  chewed	
  at	
  the	
  cuffs—she	
  could	
  be	
  me	
  at	
  the	
  age	
  of	
  nine	
  years	
  old.	
   “I	
  lost	
  my	
  key	
  and	
  can’t	
  go	
  home,”	
  the	
  girl	
  announces,	
  brushing	
  past	
  me	
  into	
  the	
   foyer.	
  	
  	
   Suddenly	
  I	
  become	
  aware	
  I	
  must	
  be	
  dreaming.	
  	
  This	
  child	
  is	
  indeed	
  my	
   childhood	
  self.	
  	
  Eye	
  to	
  eye	
  with	
  the	
  child	
  I	
  used	
  to	
  be—my	
  heart	
  is	
  overwhelmed.	
  	
   Intrigued	
  and	
  afraid	
  of	
  disturbing	
  this	
  paradox,	
  I	
  accept	
  the	
  situation	
  without	
  question	
   and	
  hang	
  up	
  the	
  girl’s	
  backpack.	
  	
  	
   When	
  I	
  ask	
  the	
  child	
  about	
  her	
  lack	
  of	
  a	
  coat	
  in	
  such	
  cold	
  weather,	
  she	
  flushes	
   embarrassed,	
  claiming	
  she	
  never	
  had	
  one.	
  	
  A	
  vision	
  flashes	
  in	
  my	
  mind.	
  	
  I	
  know	
  the	
   truth:	
  the	
  girl’s	
  coat	
  wasn’t	
  as	
  nice	
  or	
  expensive	
  as	
  the	
  other	
  kids’	
  coats,	
  so	
  it	
  got	
   stuffed	
  it	
  in	
  a	
  tree	
  on	
  the	
  playground.	
  	
   The	
  girl	
  sits	
  on	
  the	
  entryway	
  bench	
  and	
  kicks	
  off	
  dirt-­‐caked	
  boots	
  in	
  the	
   direction	
  of	
  the	
  wall,	
  scattering	
  debris.	
   “Where	
  are	
  your	
  parents?”	
  I	
  ask	
  hopefully.	
   “Dad	
  died.	
  	
  Mom	
  works	
  late.”	
  Her	
  eyes	
  hollow.	
  	
  I	
  feel	
  like	
  an	
  idiot.	
  	
  Of	
  all	
  people,	
   why	
  don’t	
  I	
  know	
  what	
  to	
  say	
  to	
  comfort	
  her?	
  	
  I	
  stand	
  awkward	
  and	
  silent,	
  like	
  so	
  many	
   other	
  adults	
  I	
  remember.	
  	
   But	
  the	
  child	
  knows	
  there	
  are	
  better	
  things	
  to	
  do.	
  	
  	
    4  Pushing	
  past	
  me	
  down	
  the	
  basement	
  stairs,	
  she	
  runs	
  and	
  I	
  follow.	
  	
  Next	
  the	
  girl	
   is	
  in	
  my	
  walk-­‐in	
  storage	
  closet;	
  she	
  is	
  on	
  the	
  floor	
  with	
  an	
  album	
  of	
  photos	
  from	
  my	
   teaching	
  career.	
  	
  	
  Crouched	
  down,	
  the	
  girl	
  leans	
  into	
  the	
  various	
  scenes	
  as	
  her	
  fingers	
   trace	
  images	
  of	
  colourful	
  classroom	
  art	
  displays,	
  students’	
  projects,	
  celebrations,	
  and	
   field	
  trips.	
  	
  She	
  points	
  to	
  a	
  photo	
  of	
  some	
  grade	
  seven	
  students	
  and	
  me.	
  	
  We	
  are	
   wearing	
  costumes	
  and	
  silly	
  expressions,	
  gathering	
  around	
  a	
  table	
  of	
  baklava,	
  pita	
  and	
   hummus,	
  and	
  plastic	
  wineglasses	
  of	
  grape	
  juice.	
   “Why	
  are	
  these	
  kids	
  wearing	
  bed	
  sheets?”	
  the	
  child	
  asks,	
  a	
  smile	
  forming.	
   “Togas…it	
  was	
  a	
  party	
  to	
  learn	
  about	
  the	
  philosophers	
  in	
  Ancient	
  Greece.”	
   “Must	
  have	
  been	
  fun!”	
   	
  Next	
  she	
  tugs	
  off	
  of	
  the	
  shelf	
  a	
  bag	
  of	
  twelve	
  white	
  bed	
  sheets	
  I	
  had	
  acquired	
   from	
  a	
  hotel	
  housekeeper;	
  behind	
  them	
  she	
  discovers	
  a	
  cream-­‐coloured	
  crocheted	
   tablecloth	
  my	
  grandmother	
  made.	
  	
  Swinging	
  it	
  over	
  her	
  shoulders	
  like	
  a	
  cape,	
  she	
  asks,	
   “This	
  is	
  pretty	
  lace,	
  may	
  I	
  have	
  it?”	
   “Yes,	
  you	
  may.”	
  	
   “Where’d	
  you	
  get	
  it?”	
  she	
  asks,	
  surprisingly	
  captivated	
  as	
  I	
  explain	
  the	
  history	
  of	
   the	
  piece.	
  	
  Next,	
  she	
  pulls	
  out	
  and	
  opens	
  a	
  small	
  floral-­‐print	
  box	
  filled	
  with	
  lapel	
  pins	
  I	
   never	
  wore.	
  	
   “U.B.C.,”	
  she	
  reads,	
  pressing	
  her	
  thumb	
  over	
  the	
  gilded	
  university	
  logo.	
  	
  Looking	
   back	
  up	
  at	
  me,	
  she	
  asks,	
  “Can	
  I	
  have	
  this	
  too?”	
   “It’s	
  yours.”	
  	
  I	
  smile	
  knowing	
  what	
  it	
  will	
  mean	
  to	
  the	
  girl	
  someday.	
   “And	
  these	
  ones?”	
  She	
  bargains,	
  gingerly	
  cupping	
  in	
  her	
  hands	
  the	
  remaining	
   pile	
  of	
  clanking	
  metal	
  school	
  logos,	
  treating	
  them	
  like	
  jewels.	
  	
  	
    5  I	
  survey	
  the	
  pile:	
  “UVic	
  Philosophy,	
  Canadian	
  College	
  of	
  Performing	
  Arts,	
   International	
  Association	
  of	
  Philosophy	
  for	
  Children	
  at	
  Montclair	
  University…Yes,	
  you	
   can	
  have	
  all	
  of	
  these.”	
   “But	
  how	
  about	
  this	
  good	
  pin	
  that	
  looks	
  like	
  a	
  boot?”	
  	
  The	
  child	
  presses	
  on,	
   certain	
  she	
  has	
  found	
  the	
  limit	
  of	
  what	
  I	
  will	
  share.	
  	
  She	
  must	
  know	
  this	
  pin	
  is	
  sacred.	
   After	
  all,	
  it	
  was	
  the	
  last	
  present	
  my	
  father	
  gave	
  me,	
  on	
  the	
  last	
  night	
  I	
  saw	
  him,	
  when	
   he	
  was	
  on	
  break	
  from	
  his	
  firefighting	
  training.	
   “This	
  pin…I’ll	
  keep	
  for	
  myself.	
  	
  It’s	
  a	
  very	
  special	
  treasure.”	
  	
   “A	
  special	
  treasure?”	
  she	
  challenges,	
  “Then	
  why	
  did	
  you	
  put	
  it	
  away	
  in	
  a	
  closet?”	
   I	
  pause	
  now—this	
  is	
  the	
  same	
  kind	
  of	
  question	
  I	
  used	
  to	
  ask	
  of	
  my	
  mother.	
  	
  My	
   mom	
  kept	
  much	
  of	
  our	
  family	
  memorabilia	
  out	
  of	
  sight.	
  	
  She	
  would	
  say	
  that	
  sometimes	
   our	
  treasures	
  and	
  memories	
  are	
  personal.	
  	
  Not	
  for	
  display.	
  	
  Some	
  treasures	
  you	
  put	
   away	
  in	
  boxes	
  because	
  they	
  make	
  you	
  sad,	
  and	
  you	
  need	
  to	
  move	
  on.	
  	
  Some	
  treasures,	
   she’d	
  reason,	
  we	
  should	
  take	
  out	
  when	
  the	
  time	
  is	
  right,	
  and	
  we	
  feel	
  we	
  are	
  ready.	
   	
  So,	
  why	
  did	
  I	
  put	
  my	
  own	
  treasures	
  away?	
  	
  I	
  guess	
  there	
  was	
  just	
  so	
  much	
  of	
  it,	
  I	
   couldn’t	
  process	
  its	
  meaning,	
  and	
  as	
  I	
  tell	
  the	
  girl,	
  “I	
  put	
  these	
  things	
  away	
  because	
  I	
   wasn’t	
  using	
  them.”	
   “But	
  why	
  not	
  use	
  them?”	
  She	
  contests,	
  “Don’t	
  they	
  matter	
  to	
  you?	
  	
  I	
  like	
  hearing	
   about	
  them	
  very	
  much.”	
   “Yes,	
  but	
  you’re—”	
   “Just	
  like	
  a	
  student	
  in	
  your	
  class?”	
  she	
  interrupts.	
   “Yes.”	
  I	
  suddenly	
  see	
  how	
  this	
  child	
  is	
  like	
  so	
  many	
  of	
  the	
  students	
  I	
  teach:	
  the	
   ones	
  who	
  ask	
  endless	
  questions	
  about	
  the	
  clothes	
  I	
  wear,	
  the	
  trinkets	
  on	
  my	
  desk,	
  and	
    6  the	
  food	
  in	
  my	
  lunch.	
  	
  It	
  seems	
  these	
  students	
  want	
  to	
  know	
  more	
  about	
  me,	
  perhaps	
  to	
   see	
  if	
  I	
  am	
  real…someone	
  they	
  might	
  want	
  to	
  be	
  like.	
   Awakening	
  My	
  baby	
  stirs,	
  and	
  I	
  lean	
  forward.	
  	
  I	
  marvel	
  at	
  his	
  tiny	
  eyelash	
  rows	
  that	
  flicker	
  open	
  and	
  closed	
  until	
  at	
  last	
  he’s	
  awake—astonished	
  by	
  the	
  world.	
  	
  	
  “What	
  is	
  this	
  place?”	
  he	
  wonders,	
  in	
  the	
  baby	
  language	
  in	
  his	
  mind.	
  	
  “And	
  who	
  are	
  you,	
  lady?”	
  he	
  demands	
  of	
  me	
  through	
  an	
  adorably	
  tough	
  baby	
  brow.	
  	
  Soon	
  his	
  gaze	
  finds	
  focus	
  and	
  softens	
  in	
  recognition,	
  and	
  I	
  melt	
  with	
  him	
  in	
  coos	
  and	
  smiles.	
  	
  	
  He	
  has	
  my	
  eyes,	
  people	
  say.	
  	
  It	
  makes	
  me	
  wonder,	
  does	
  he	
  also	
  see	
  the	
  world	
  like	
  I	
  do?	
  	
  And	
  does	
  he	
  see	
  me	
  measuring	
  up	
  as	
  his	
  mother?	
  	
  	
  Who	
  am	
  I	
  to	
  my	
  child?	
  	
  Who	
  am	
  I	
  now?	
  At	
  the	
  very	
  least,	
  I	
  know	
  that	
  perpetually	
  questioning	
  who	
  I	
  am	
  has	
  itself	
  has	
  become	
  a	
  part	
  of	
  me.	
  	
  Such	
  is	
  the	
  joy	
  of	
  having	
  an	
  identity:	
  we	
  gradually	
  awaken	
  to	
  the	
  motion	
  of	
  consciousness	
  and	
  continue	
  rolling	
  like	
  a	
  malleable	
  ball	
  of	
  Playdough	
  through	
  time	
  and	
  space,	
  picking	
  up	
  various	
  traits,	
  beliefs,	
  feelings,	
  etcetera.	
  	
  	
  When	
  I	
  signed	
  up	
  for	
  a	
  master	
  of	
  education	
  degree	
  in	
  leadership,	
  I	
  hoped	
  I	
  might	
  pick	
  up	
  a	
  few	
  skills	
  as	
  a	
  leader.	
  	
  And	
  if	
  I	
  found	
  I	
  was	
  not	
  good	
  enough	
  to	
  lead	
  others,	
  I	
  hoped	
  to	
  learn	
  enough	
  to	
  lead	
  myself.	
  	
  In	
  2009,	
  I	
  had	
  lost	
  my	
  first	
  baby,	
  my	
  daughter,	
  at	
  five	
  and	
  a	
  half	
  months	
  pregnancy—with	
  her,	
  I	
  lost	
  myself	
  too.	
  	
  So	
  when	
  I	
  began	
  graduate	
  studies,	
  it	
  was	
  for	
  distraction	
  and	
  a	
  way	
  to	
  move	
  on.	
  	
  I	
  needed	
  to	
  create	
  a	
  sense	
  of	
  purpose	
  and	
  take	
  focus	
  off	
  my	
  sadness	
  and	
  worries.	
  	
  	
  	
  My	
  main	
  worry	
  back	
  then	
  was	
  this	
  question:	
  Did	
  I	
  spend	
  years	
  teaching	
  and	
  adoring	
  other	
  peoples’	
  children,	
  only	
  to	
  remain	
  myself	
  empty,	
  feeling	
  deprived	
  of	
    7  motherhood?	
  	
  From	
  the	
  year	
  and	
  a	
  half	
  after	
  the	
  loss	
  of	
  my	
  first	
  child,	
  my	
  soul	
  ached.	
  	
  Still	
  I	
  held	
  hope.	
  To	
  survive	
  during	
  this	
  time,	
  I	
  compartmentalized.	
  	
  	
  To	
  survive,	
  I	
  kept	
  teaching.	
  	
  	
  To	
  survive,	
  I	
  got	
  up	
  every	
  day	
  and	
  threw	
  myself	
  into	
  work.	
  	
  	
  In	
  any	
  spare	
  time,	
  I	
  climbed	
  for	
  the	
  top	
  of	
  every	
  university	
  class,	
  polishing	
  the	
  details	
  of	
  every	
  assignment	
  like	
  my	
  life	
  depended	
  on	
  it	
  because,	
  in	
  a	
  way,	
  it	
  did.	
  	
  Did	
  it	
  work?	
  	
  Perhaps—I	
  survived	
  and	
  hope	
  transformed	
  into	
  the	
  beautiful	
  child	
  I	
  now	
  held	
  in	
  my	
  arms.	
  	
  And	
  although	
  there	
  was	
  a	
  universe	
  of	
  demands	
  clattering	
  away	
  in	
  my	
  mind’s	
  periphery,	
  I	
  would	
  remain	
  strong	
  knowing	
  I	
  would	
  sort	
  it	
  all	
  out	
  eventually.	
  	
  After	
  all,	
  I	
  had	
  survived	
  through	
  harder	
  times	
  before.	
  	
  	
  Now	
  at	
  last,	
  I	
  am	
  a	
  mother.	
  	
  I	
  am	
  a	
  teacher.	
  	
  And	
  I	
  am	
  a	
  student—and	
  I	
  have	
  work	
  to	
  do!	
  	
  So	
  I	
  reach	
  for	
  the	
  assigned	
  article	
  due	
  for	
  my	
  next	
  class	
  and	
  read	
  aloud	
  to	
  myself	
  and	
  my	
  son	
  Maxine	
  Greene’s	
  opening	
  quote	
  by	
  Henry	
  David	
  Thoreau,	
  “To	
  be	
  awake	
  is	
  to	
  be	
  alive.”	
  	
  	
  “Did	
  you	
  hear	
  that,	
  sweetheart?”	
  I	
  ask,	
  introducing	
  my	
  baby	
  to	
  academia,	
  “If	
  ‘to	
  be	
  awake	
  is	
  to	
  be	
  alive’...then	
  I	
  think	
  we	
  better	
  check	
  Mommy’s	
  pulse!”	
  	
  	
  “We	
  must	
  learn	
  to	
  reawaken,”	
  I	
  read	
  on,	
  “and	
  keep	
  ourselves	
  awake,	
  not	
  by	
  mechanical	
  aides,	
  but	
  by	
  an	
  infinite	
  expectation	
  of	
  the	
  dawn...”	
  	
  Reading	
  further,	
  I	
  smile	
  knowingly	
  as	
  Greene	
  recalls	
  Albert	
  Camus’	
  poignant	
  line,	
  “Everything	
  begins	
  in	
  that	
  weariness	
  tinged	
  with	
  amazement.”	
  	
  Yes,	
  indeed,	
  this	
  is	
  exactly	
  how	
  I	
  feel.	
  	
   	
    8  Chapter	
  1:	
  Introduction	
   The	
  Inspiration	
  After	
  reading	
  Maxine	
  Greene’s	
  article	
  “Wide	
  Awakeness	
  and	
  the	
  Moral	
  Life,”	
  I	
  felt	
  it	
  was	
  time	
  to	
  take	
  stock	
  of	
  my	
  work	
  as	
  a	
  teacher	
  and	
  to	
  see	
  how	
  my	
  professional	
  identity	
  fit	
  into	
  the	
  greater	
  picture	
  of	
  who	
  I	
  am.	
  	
  It	
  is	
  easy	
  to	
  assume	
  we	
  know	
  who	
  we	
  are;	
  but	
  when	
  we	
  get	
  down	
  to	
  try	
  to	
  explain	
  it,	
  we	
  may	
  begin	
  a	
  questioning	
  process	
  that	
  feels	
  like	
  an	
  unraveling.	
  	
  Yet,	
  standing	
  at	
  a	
  crossroads	
  as	
  a	
  new	
  mother,	
  a	
  teacher,	
  and	
  university	
  student,	
  I	
  had	
  to	
  take	
  that	
  chance.	
  	
  I	
  was	
  going	
  back	
  to	
  work	
  soon	
  and	
  needed	
  to	
  clarify	
  my	
  sense	
  of	
  purpose.	
  	
  I	
  found	
  renewal	
  in	
  the	
  words	
  of	
  Parker	
  Palmer	
  in	
  his	
  book	
  The	
  Courage	
  to	
  Teach.	
  	
  Palmer	
  (2007)	
  writes:	
  I	
  once	
  heard	
  this	
  Hasidic	
  tale:	
  ‘We	
  need	
  a	
  coat	
  with	
  two	
  pockets.	
  In	
  one	
  pocket	
  there	
  is	
  dust,	
  and	
  in	
  the	
  other	
  pocket	
  there	
  is	
  gold.	
  We	
  need	
  a	
  coat	
  with	
  two	
  pockets	
  to	
  remind	
  us	
  of	
  who	
  we	
  are.’	
  Knowing,	
  teaching,	
  and	
  learning	
  under	
  the	
  grace	
  of	
  great	
  things	
  will	
  come	
  from	
  teachers	
  who	
  own	
  such	
  a	
  coat	
  and	
  who	
  wear	
  it	
  to	
  class	
  every	
  day.	
  (p.	
  113)	
  The	
  passage	
  moved	
  me.	
  	
  The	
  concept	
  of	
  a	
  coat	
  that	
  holds	
  sacred	
  symbols	
  in	
  its	
  pockets	
  twirled	
  through	
  my	
  imagination.	
  	
  The	
  metaphor	
  was	
  so	
  beautiful	
  that	
  I	
  wanted	
  to	
  take	
  it	
  a	
  step	
  further.	
  	
  I	
  imagined	
  the	
  power	
  and	
  meaning	
  of	
  actually	
  wearing	
  a	
  coat	
  with	
  talismans	
  of	
  dust	
  and	
  gold	
  in	
  the	
  pockets;	
  this	
  might	
  energize	
  and	
  inspire	
  me	
  throughout	
  the	
  teaching	
  day.	
  “Yes,	
  I	
  need	
  a	
  coat	
  like	
  that!”	
  I	
  thought,	
  “And	
  I	
  can	
  make	
  it	
  myself!”	
  	
    	
    9  The	
  Idea	
  Reaching	
  for	
  a	
  pencil	
  and	
  a	
  fresh	
  notebook,	
  I	
  jotted	
  down	
  questions	
  and	
  ideas	
  and	
  sketched	
  plans	
  for	
  what	
  I	
  would	
  call	
  my	
  Teaching	
  Coat.	
  	
  What	
  would	
  it	
  look	
  like?	
  	
  What	
  stories	
  would	
  it	
  tell?	
   Q.	
  How	
  do	
  you	
  make	
  a	
  Teaching	
  Coat?	
   A.	
  It’s	
  an	
  open-­‐ended	
  creative	
  project.	
  I	
  would	
  start	
  with	
  a	
  blank	
  white	
  lab	
  coat—my	
  tabula	
  rasa—	
  and	
  adorn	
  it	
  with	
  meaningful	
  symbols.	
  	
  I	
  could	
  write	
  on	
  it	
  inspirational	
  quotes	
  and	
  reflections	
  and	
  attach	
  teaching	
  memorabilia	
  and	
  metaphorical	
  objects	
  to	
  make	
  it	
  unique	
  and	
  personal.	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
   	
   Q.	
  What	
  is	
  the	
  purpose	
  of	
  a	
  Teaching	
  Coat?	
   A.	
  It’s	
  a	
  way	
  to	
  explore	
  and	
  share	
  one’s	
  teacher	
  identity.	
   Figure 1.1: Transforming a lab coat into a Teaching Coat    10  I	
  envisioned	
  my	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  as	
  a	
  collage	
  of	
  my	
  professional	
  identity.	
  	
  It	
  would	
  reflect	
  my	
  ongoing	
  self-­‐reflective	
  journey	
  as	
  a	
  teacher:	
  my	
  experiences,	
  inspirations,	
  goals	
  and	
  visions	
  as	
  a	
  teacher.	
  	
  Using	
  imagery,	
  text	
  and	
  symbolic	
  objects,	
  my	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  would	
  embody	
  my	
  teaching	
  philosophy	
  as	
  tangible,	
  wearable	
  artwork.	
  	
  Creating	
  my	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  would	
  be	
  a	
  professional	
  development	
  exercise,	
  the	
  product	
  of	
  which	
  I	
  could	
  share	
  with	
  others.	
  	
  My	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  would	
  be	
  a	
  statement	
  of	
  who	
  I	
  am	
  and	
  a	
  way	
  to	
  reach	
  out	
  to	
  others	
  in	
  relationship	
  building.	
  	
  It	
  could	
  be	
  a	
  provocation	
  for	
  dialogue	
  and	
  perhaps	
  the	
  inspiration	
  for	
  a	
  unique	
  way	
  my	
  students	
  and	
  colleagues	
  might	
  engage	
  in	
  their	
  own	
  process	
  of	
  identity	
  discovery.	
   Q.	
  What	
  are	
  immediate	
  practical	
  uses	
  and	
  benefits	
  of	
  a	
  Teaching	
  Coat?	
   A.	
  Personal	
  growth;	
  connecting	
  with,	
  role	
  modeling	
  for	
  and	
  inspiring	
  students;	
   building	
  community	
  and	
  empathy	
  in	
  the	
  classroom	
  Even	
  before	
  it	
  was	
  fully	
  formed	
  in	
  my	
  mind,	
  I	
  was	
  in	
  love	
  with	
  my	
  idea	
  of	
  The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project.	
  	
  My	
  hunch	
  was	
  that	
  the	
  process	
  of	
  creating	
  my	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  would	
  be	
  transformative	
  in	
  my	
  current	
  juncture.	
  	
  Lately	
  I	
  had	
  been	
  feeling	
  in	
  a	
  fog,	
  detached	
  from	
  the	
  seemingly	
  disparate	
  pieces	
  of	
  my	
  life.	
  	
  Now	
  I	
  was	
  energized	
  in	
  the	
  belief	
  that	
  the	
  process	
  of	
  making	
  my	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  would	
  help	
  me	
  understand	
  the	
  relationship	
  between	
  my	
  professional	
  and	
  personal	
  identities,	
  two	
  things	
  I	
  perceived	
  were	
  distinct	
  but	
  interrelated.	
  And	
  with	
  whom	
  would	
  I	
  share	
  this	
  coat?	
  	
  First	
  of	
  all,	
  my	
  son	
  would	
  be	
  with	
  me	
  as	
  I	
  would	
  discover	
  the	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  process—he	
  would	
  be	
  at	
  my	
  side	
  as	
  I	
  gathered	
  and	
  sewed	
  together	
  materials	
  and	
  objects	
  of	
  special	
  meaning.	
  	
  I	
  would	
  use	
  this	
  creative	
  process	
  as	
  time	
  together	
  to	
  tell	
  him	
  stories	
  of	
  the	
  life	
  I	
  lived	
  before	
  he	
    11  arrived.	
  	
  Next,	
  I	
  would	
  introduce	
  my	
  students	
  to	
  my	
  Teaching	
  Coat—I	
  imagined	
  how	
  fun	
  and	
  dramatic	
  it	
  would	
  be	
  on	
  the	
  first	
  day	
  back	
  to	
  school	
  to	
  sweep	
  through	
  the	
  classroom	
  door	
  like	
  a	
  wizard	
  in	
  my	
  magical,	
  self-­‐tailored	
  garment.	
  	
  Beholding	
  the	
  blaze	
  of	
  colours	
  and	
  multiple	
  dimensions	
  of	
  the	
  storied	
  cloth,	
  the	
  students	
  would	
  wonder,	
  “Who	
  is	
  this	
  character?”	
  And	
  like	
  a	
  matador	
  with	
  an	
  irresistible	
  a	
  cape,	
  I	
  would	
  find	
  students	
  drawn	
  in	
  with	
  questions	
  about	
  the	
  origins	
  of	
  the	
  unusual	
  fabric	
  art	
  piece.	
  	
  Perhaps	
  the	
  children	
  would	
  gather	
  in	
  a	
  hushed	
  circle	
  to	
  examine	
  the	
  artifact,	
  while	
  I	
  told	
  of	
  the	
  meanings	
  and	
  stories	
  behind	
  each	
  feature	
  and	
  attached	
  treasure.	
  	
  This	
  is	
  how	
  the	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  would	
  help	
  present	
  to	
  students	
  who	
  I	
  am	
  as	
  a	
  teacher	
  and	
  begin	
  to	
  establish	
  an	
  atmosphere	
  of	
  self-­‐discovery	
  and	
  community	
  learning	
  in	
  our	
  class.	
  	
  The	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  would	
  be	
  a	
  catalyst	
  for	
  a	
  rich	
  discussion	
  of	
  identity	
  and	
  a	
  segue	
  into	
  the	
  first	
  project	
  of	
  the	
  year:	
  students	
  could	
  make	
  their	
  own	
  Learning	
  Coats!	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
   	
  Figure 1.2: An example I created of how student's Learning Coat might look.  12  As	
  natural	
  pairing	
  for	
  my	
  Teaching	
  Coat,	
  like	
  ying	
  and	
  yang,	
  the	
  students’	
  own	
  exploration	
  making	
  Learning	
  Coats	
  would	
  help	
  them	
  learn	
  about	
  and	
  express	
  who	
  they	
  are	
  as	
  students.	
  	
  Throughout	
  the	
  school	
  year,	
  we	
  could	
  add	
  to	
  our	
  respective	
  coats,	
  discussing	
  and	
  reflecting	
  on	
  the	
  meanings	
  made	
  in	
  process.	
  These	
  coats	
  would	
  be	
  our	
  personal	
  totems.	
  	
  	
  The	
  next	
  level	
  would	
  be	
  to	
  engage	
  with	
  the	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  and	
  the	
  Learning	
  Coats	
  as	
  a	
  way	
  to	
  build	
  our	
  supportive	
  learning	
  community.	
  	
  Perhaps	
  students	
  would	
  begin	
  to	
  see	
  one	
  another’s	
  lives	
  unfolding	
  like	
  these	
  works	
  of	
  art	
  in	
  progress.	
  	
  When	
  carefully	
  briefed	
  and	
  invited	
  to	
  try	
  on	
  one	
  another’s	
  coats	
  in	
  circle	
  time,	
  students	
  might	
  feel	
  like	
  they	
  are	
  glimpsing	
  into	
  one	
  another’s	
  worlds—this	
  could	
  be	
  a	
  part	
  of	
  learning	
  perspective-­‐taking	
  and	
  a	
  doorway	
  to	
  developing	
  empathy.	
   Q.	
  Who	
  should	
  make	
  a	
  Teaching	
  Coat?	
   A.	
  It	
  can	
  be	
  a	
  professional	
  development	
  activity	
  for	
  any	
  teacher.	
  When	
  I	
  first	
  started	
  sharing	
  the	
  idea	
  for	
  The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project	
  with	
  other	
  teacher	
  friends	
  and	
  family,	
  it	
  sparked	
  rich	
  conversation.	
  	
  I	
  would	
  ask	
  teachers,	
  “If	
  you	
  had	
  a	
  Teaching	
  Coat,	
  what	
  would	
  it	
  look	
  like?”	
  	
  The	
  responses	
  were	
  so	
  varied	
  and	
  inspiring	
  that	
  they	
  often	
  sent	
  me	
  back	
  to	
  work	
  on	
  my	
  own	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  with	
  even	
  greater	
  enthusiasm	
  and	
  new	
  insight.	
  	
  As	
  more	
  teachers	
  got	
  word	
  of	
  the	
  project,	
  more	
  became	
  intrigued	
  and	
  asked	
  how	
  to	
  get	
  involved.	
  	
  	
  Wanting	
  to	
  explore	
  and	
  facilitate	
  The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project	
  with	
  others	
  on	
  a	
  larger	
  scale,	
  I	
  began	
  to	
  outline	
  a	
  teachers’	
  professional	
  development	
  program	
  around	
  the	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  concept.	
  	
  I	
  thought	
  the	
  project	
  would	
  work	
  well	
  in	
  a	
  workshop,	
  retreat,	
  or	
  university	
  course	
  setting	
  as	
  a	
  unique	
  opportunity	
  to	
  foster	
    13  teacher	
  identity.	
  	
  I	
  envisioned	
  that	
  as	
  we	
  explored	
  the	
  project,	
  we	
  teachers	
  might	
  learn	
  about	
  who	
  we	
  are	
  while	
  recording	
  our	
  meanings	
  in	
  the	
  cloth	
  of	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  we	
  could	
  analyze	
  and	
  share.	
  	
   Q.	
  What	
  are	
  the	
  long-­‐term	
  benefits	
  of	
  a	
  Teaching	
  Coat?	
   A.	
  Increased	
  self-­‐awareness,	
  potential	
  for	
  greater	
  teacher	
  authenticity,	
  and	
   clarification	
  of	
  the	
  boundaries	
  between	
  one’s	
  personal	
  identity	
  and	
  professional	
   identity.	
  Over	
  time	
  I	
  saw	
  how	
  the	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  process	
  contributed	
  to	
  increasing	
  my	
  own	
  transparency	
  and	
  reflexivity	
  as	
  a	
  professional.	
  Occasionally	
  I	
  thought	
  wearing	
  my	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  might	
  make	
  me	
  feel	
  silly	
  or	
  too	
  vulnerable,	
  and	
  I	
  knew	
  the	
  roots	
  of	
  these	
  fears	
  needed	
  to	
  be	
  understood.	
  	
  Because	
  students	
  only	
  feel	
  safe	
  when	
  we	
  are	
   real	
  with	
  them,	
  to	
  be	
  a	
  great	
  teacher	
  I	
  would	
  have	
  to	
  “wear	
  my	
  heart	
  on	
  my	
  sleeve”	
  to	
  an	
  extent.	
  	
  At	
  least	
  with	
  a	
  Teaching	
  Coat,	
  I	
  would	
  have	
  taken	
  time	
  in	
  advance	
  to	
  know	
  my	
  own	
  heart.	
  	
  I	
  would	
  make	
  sure	
  that	
  my	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  was	
  a	
  thoughtful,	
  authentic	
  symbol	
  of	
  my	
  professional	
  identity	
  revealing	
  only	
  those	
  personal	
  topics	
  I	
  felt	
  comfortable	
  sharing	
  and	
  which	
  would	
  add	
  value	
  to	
  students’	
  learning.	
   Q.	
  What	
  challenges/opportunities	
  surface	
  in	
  making	
  and	
  sharing	
  a	
  Teaching	
   Coat?	
   A.	
  Opportunity	
  for	
  clarifying	
  the	
  boundaries	
  of	
  professional	
  identity	
  versus	
  personal	
   identity,	
  and	
  demonstrating	
  courage.	
  Going	
  deeper	
  into	
  the	
  project,	
  I	
  faced	
  this	
  question:	
  What	
  is	
  too	
  personal	
  or	
   sacred	
  to	
  share	
  in	
  a	
  public	
  way	
  at	
  work?	
  	
  I	
  also	
  wondered:	
  Which	
  facets	
  of	
  my	
    14  personal	
  identity	
  would	
  I	
  want	
  to	
  share	
  in	
  some	
  professional	
  contexts	
  but	
  not	
  in	
   others?	
  	
  Through	
  reflection,	
  I	
  found	
  that	
  my	
  Teaching	
  Coat,	
  which	
  was	
  becoming	
  like	
  my	
  “professional	
  uniform”,	
  was	
  the	
  perfect	
  symbol	
  to	
  express	
  the	
  movable	
  boundary	
  between	
  my	
  personal	
  and	
  professional	
  identity.	
  	
  After	
  all,	
  a	
  Teaching	
  Coat,	
  like	
  any	
  coat,	
  can	
  be	
  put	
  on	
  to	
  go	
  to	
  work,	
  but	
  taken	
  off	
  when	
  arriving	
  home.	
  	
  And	
  as	
  teachers	
  living	
  in	
  both	
  private	
  and	
  professional	
  worlds,	
  we	
  daily	
  negotiate	
  between	
  the	
  two	
  and	
  our	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  “track	
  in	
  the	
  mud”	
  from	
  both	
  places.	
  	
  I	
  found	
  it	
  fascinating	
  to	
  examine	
  how	
  the	
  ways	
  our	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  are	
  both	
  made	
  and	
  lived	
  in	
  provide	
  valuable	
  critique	
  of	
  our	
  teacher	
  identities.	
  Some	
  people	
  wonder,	
  “Won’t	
  teachers	
  feel	
  silly	
  wearing	
  a	
  Teaching	
  Coat?”	
  	
  My	
  answer	
  is,	
  “Probably—and	
  how	
  wonderful!”	
  	
  How	
  wonderful	
  for	
  students	
  when	
  a	
  teacher	
  courageously	
  role	
  models	
  that	
  the	
  classroom	
  is	
  a	
  safe	
  place,	
  a	
  place	
  to	
  take	
  creative	
  chances	
  and	
  to	
  be	
  one’s	
  self.	
  	
   Q.	
  How	
  can	
  a	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  compete	
  for	
  relevancy	
  in	
  the	
  21st	
  century?	
   A.	
  Making	
  and	
  sharing	
  a	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  is	
  a	
  unique	
  multi-­‐sensorial,	
  multiple	
   intelligences	
  learning	
  experience	
  for	
  both	
  teachers	
  and	
  students.	
  	
  In	
  a	
  technology-­‐driven	
  21st	
  century,	
  we	
  may	
  wonder	
  why	
  anybody	
  would	
  be	
  interested	
  in	
  a	
  Teaching	
  Coat?	
  	
  After	
  all,	
  it’s	
  not	
  a	
  gadget	
  with	
  simultaneous	
  capabilities	
  for	
  Wi-­‐Fi,	
  web	
  browsing,	
  photo,	
  video,	
  voicemail,	
  text	
  message,	
  and	
  apps.	
  	
  When	
  students	
  are	
  bombarded	
  daily	
  with	
  a	
  flurry	
  of	
  advertising	
  for	
  smart	
  technology,	
  how	
  could	
  a	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  capture	
  their	
  attention?	
  	
  Why	
  should	
  teachers	
  make	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  to	
  explore	
  and	
  share	
  their	
  teacher	
  identities,	
  when	
  they	
  can	
  make	
  blogs	
  or	
  websites	
  with	
  the	
  same	
  intention?	
  	
  	
  	
    15  Perhaps	
  on	
  the	
  surface,	
  a	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  is	
  not	
  as	
  “21st	
  century”	
  as	
  other	
  things.	
  	
  It	
  seems	
  rather	
  folksy	
  with	
  its	
  roots	
  in	
  textile	
  traditions,	
  its	
  pockets	
  filled	
  with	
  dust	
  and	
  gold,	
  and	
  its	
  decorations	
  of	
  bric-­‐a-­‐brac	
  in	
  a	
  homemade	
  fashion.	
  	
  Yet	
  there	
  is	
  something	
  raw	
  and	
  deeply	
  human	
  about	
  a	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  that	
  speaks	
  to	
  its	
  value	
  for	
  both	
  teachers	
  and	
  students.	
  	
  Indeed,	
  we	
  can	
  explore	
  and	
  share	
  our	
  teacher	
  identities	
  in	
  a	
  myriad	
  of	
  ways—and	
  we	
  should.	
  	
  A	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  is	
  an	
  option	
  for	
  a	
  live,	
  multi-­‐sensorial,	
  multiple	
  intelligences	
  learning	
  experience	
  that,	
  for	
  some	
  teachers,	
  may	
  be	
  a	
  professional	
  development	
  activity	
  that	
  excites	
  and	
  challenges	
  them,	
  and	
  that	
  delivers	
  understandings	
  they	
  might	
  not	
  find	
  otherwise.	
  	
  	
  	
  More	
  than	
  mere	
  brains	
  in	
  vats	
  plugged	
  into	
  a	
  “Matrix”	
  of	
  sorts,	
  teachers	
  and	
  students	
  are	
  embodied,	
  sensory-­‐oriented	
  beings	
  who	
  crave	
  learning	
  opportunities	
  that	
  acknowledge	
  this	
  fact.	
  	
  No	
  matter	
  how	
  plugged	
  in	
  we	
  become,	
  humans	
  will	
  always	
  seek	
  tangible	
  experiences	
  that	
  feel	
  real,	
  that	
  they	
  can	
  see,	
  touch,	
  hear,	
  smell,	
  and	
  taste—a	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  speaks	
  to	
  us	
  on	
  these	
  and	
  other	
  levels.	
  	
  Fittingly,	
  when	
  I	
  came	
  to	
  understand	
  the	
  true	
  value	
  of	
  my	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  for	
  my	
  students	
  and	
  myself,	
  I	
  experienced	
  it	
  not	
  only	
  as	
  an	
  intellectual	
  understanding,	
  but	
  as	
  a	
  visceral	
  revelation.	
  	
  I	
  discovered	
  my	
  Teaching	
  Coat’s	
  meaning	
  and	
  value	
  while	
  dyeing,	
  ironing,	
  sewing,	
  and	
  writing	
  reflections	
  on	
  the	
  fabric.	
  	
  The	
  value	
  came	
  to	
  me	
  in	
  the	
  physical	
  process	
  of	
  flipping	
  through	
  old	
  photo	
  albums	
  and	
  unpacking	
  dusty	
  boxes	
  of	
  memories	
  in	
  the	
  hunt	
  for	
  treasures	
  to	
  add	
  to	
  my	
  Teaching	
  Coat.	
  	
  	
  Ultimately,	
  each	
  student	
  and	
  teacher	
  of	
  the	
  21st	
  and	
  any	
  other	
  century	
  decides	
  what	
  is	
  relevant,	
  what	
  reaches	
  them,	
  what	
  is	
  meaningful	
  and	
  what	
  inspires	
    16  them.	
  	
  	
  I	
  believe	
  the	
  power	
  of	
  a	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  is	
  decided	
  in	
  the	
  moment	
  we	
  feel	
  it	
  speak	
  to	
  us.	
  	
  Insofar	
  as	
  this	
  project	
  can	
  help	
  us	
  to	
  see,	
  create	
  and	
  share	
  who	
  we	
  are,	
  a	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  is	
  as	
  meaningful,	
  alive,	
  and	
  relevant	
  as	
  the	
  life	
  we	
  breathe	
  into	
  it.	
   The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project:	
  A	
  Research	
  Study	
  The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project	
  began	
  as	
  an	
  idea	
  for	
  a	
  professional	
  development	
  activity	
  in	
  which	
  teachers	
  would	
  create	
  their	
  own	
  Teaching	
  Coats,	
  conducting	
  arts-­‐based	
  research	
  into	
  their	
  professional	
  identities.	
  	
  Wanting	
  to	
  explore	
  more	
  deeply	
  what	
  might	
  occur	
  in	
  this	
  process,	
  I	
  made	
  The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project	
  the	
  focus	
  of	
  this	
  qualitative	
  study.	
  	
  The	
  central	
  questions	
  of	
  this	
  research	
  were:	
  What	
  are	
  the	
  ways	
  teachers	
  interpret	
  the	
  task	
  to	
  create	
  their	
  own	
  Teaching	
  Coats?	
  	
  And	
  what	
  stories	
  do	
  teachers	
  share	
  in	
  creating	
  and	
  discussing	
  the	
  meaning	
  of	
  their	
  Teaching	
  Coats?	
  	
  Including	
  myself,	
  four	
  teachers	
  participated	
  in	
  this	
  study	
  by	
  creating	
  and	
  dialoguing	
  about	
  their	
  Teaching	
  Coats.	
  	
  Expressed	
  as	
  an	
  arts-­‐based	
  narrative	
  inquiry,	
  the	
  research	
  explored	
  teacher	
  identity	
  through	
  analysis	
  of	
  the	
  study	
  participants’	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  artworks,	
  interviews	
  and	
  narratives.	
  	
  Discussion	
  of	
  the	
  data	
  revealed	
  a	
  central	
  theme	
  of	
  teacher	
  identity,	
  which	
  is	
  explored	
  in	
  this	
  paper	
  through	
  five	
  interrelated	
  themes:	
  teacher	
  identity	
  as	
  a	
  contextually	
  embedded	
  and	
  co-­‐constructed	
  social	
  phenomenon;	
  teachers’	
  need	
  for	
  self-­‐awareness;	
  the	
  complexity	
  of	
  clarifying	
  boundaries	
  between	
  one’s	
  personal	
  and	
  professional	
  identity;	
  teacher	
  authenticity;	
  and	
  transformation.	
  	
  	
  	
   	
    17  Chapter	
  2:	
  Exploring	
  the	
  Literature	
    “Books	
  serve	
  to	
  show	
  a	
  man	
  that	
  those	
  original	
  thoughts	
  of	
  his	
  aren't	
  very	
  new	
   at	
  all.”	
  	
   -­‐Abraham	
  Lincoln	
  With	
  over	
  seven	
  billion	
  people	
  on	
  the	
  planet	
  at	
  present	
  and	
  many	
  more	
  in	
  human	
  history,	
  it	
  seems	
  the	
  odds	
  are	
  that	
  whatever	
  I	
  think,	
  someone	
  else	
  has	
  already	
  thought	
  of	
  it—this	
  drives	
  me	
  nuts.	
  I	
  want	
  to	
  have	
  an	
  identity,	
  to	
  know	
  myself	
  as	
  a	
  unique	
  being,	
  to	
  come	
  up	
  with	
  something	
  new,	
  to	
  be	
  an	
  inventor,	
  an	
  innovator,	
  and	
  an	
  independent	
  mind.	
  	
  But	
  life	
  as	
  a	
  both	
  a	
  student	
  and	
  teacher	
  trained	
  me	
  to	
  me	
  feel	
  obliged	
  to	
  footnote	
  my	
  very	
  existence.	
  	
  And	
  if	
  we	
  think	
  about	
  it	
  philosophically,	
  it’s	
  pretty	
  hard	
  to	
  know	
  where	
  the	
  stuff	
  of	
  other	
  people	
  ends	
  and	
  where	
  our	
  own	
  stuff	
  begins.	
  	
  We	
  are	
  like	
  threads	
  embedded	
  in	
  a	
  greater	
  fabric.	
  	
  	
  	
  Still,	
  I	
  dream	
  that	
  one	
  of	
  these	
  days	
  I	
  will	
  stop	
  unwittingly	
  reinventing	
  other	
  peoples’	
  wheels	
  and	
  have	
  what	
  I	
  can	
  clearly	
  hold	
  up	
  as	
  my	
  own	
  original	
  thought.	
  	
  Towards	
  this	
  end,	
  a	
  masochistic	
  habit	
  I	
  developed	
  early	
  as	
  a	
  songwriter	
  and	
  then	
  an	
  education	
  writer	
  was	
  to	
  plug	
  all	
  of	
  my	
  fresh	
  song	
  lyrics,	
  article	
  headings,	
  and	
  book	
  titles	
  into	
  Google—it’s	
  amazing	
  how	
  unoriginal	
  one	
  can	
  feel	
  by	
  online	
  search	
  engine	
  standards.	
  	
  Like	
  a	
  Vegas	
  gambler,	
  I	
  persist	
  in	
  punching	
  each	
  hard	
  earned	
  new	
  thought	
  into	
  the	
  internet—the	
  slot	
  machine	
  of	
  ideas—usually	
  to	
  discover	
  my	
  “original”	
  thought	
  preempted	
  several	
  years	
  ago	
  by	
  some	
  bestseller	
  on	
  Amazon,	
  an	
  indie	
  band	
  in	
  Ireland,	
  or	
  an	
  edu-­‐blogger	
  in	
  San	
  Francisco.	
  	
  But	
  one	
  fateful	
  day,	
  my	
  luck	
  changed.	
  	
    18  For	
  the	
  first	
  time,	
  I	
  envisioned	
  and	
  phrased	
  a	
  concept	
  in	
  a	
  way	
  that	
  produced	
  “no	
  results”	
  when	
  searching	
  the	
  web.	
  	
  	
  Exhilarating!	
  	
  The	
  oracle	
  of	
  the	
  internet	
  decreed	
  that	
  “Teaching	
  Coat,”	
  “Teaching	
  Coats”	
  and	
  “The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project”	
  were	
  officially	
  unchartered	
  territory!	
  	
  Drop	
  anchor,	
  buy	
  the	
  domain	
  name!	
  	
  I’ve	
  discovered	
  the	
  last	
  unclaimed	
  idea!	
  	
  	
  This	
  little	
  moment	
  was	
  a	
  humbling	
  victory	
  in	
  my	
  mind.	
  	
  I	
  had	
  reached	
  the	
  edge	
  of	
  a	
  universe	
  and	
  could	
  journey	
  on	
  if	
  I	
  carved	
  a	
  new	
  path.	
  	
  What	
  a	
  learning	
  opportunity!	
  	
  But	
  what	
  a	
  pain	
  when	
  it	
  came	
  time	
  to	
  write	
  the	
  literature	
  review	
  portion	
  of	
  my	
  research	
  paper!	
  	
  “No	
  one	
  understands,”	
  I	
  complained	
  to	
  my	
  impressed	
  imaginary	
  audience.	
  “How	
  can	
  the	
  university	
  possibly	
  expect	
  me	
  to	
  do	
  a	
  ‘literature	
  review’	
  on	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  when	
  I	
  invented	
  Teaching	
  Coats!”	
  	
  	
  Clinging	
  to	
  a	
  note	
  I	
  had	
  found	
  that	
  a	
  formal	
  literature	
  review	
  may	
  play	
  a	
  minor	
  role,	
  or	
  may	
  not	
  even	
  occur,	
  in	
  some	
  narrative	
  research	
  (Creswell,	
  2008,	
  p.	
  516),	
  I	
  believed	
  I	
  would	
  do	
  just	
  fine	
  without	
  one.	
  But	
  soon	
  I	
  realized	
  that	
  tackling	
  the	
  project	
  on	
  my	
  own	
  put	
  limits	
  on	
  it,	
  and	
  I	
  hungered	
  to	
  see	
  where	
  this	
  project	
  might	
  fit	
  in	
  a	
  broader	
  context.	
  	
  And	
  to	
  be	
  honest,	
  my	
  resistance	
  to	
  reviewing	
  literature	
  largely	
  stemmed	
  from	
  my	
  confusion	
  about	
  where	
  to	
  begin.	
  	
  Did	
  I	
  really	
  know	
  what	
  The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project	
  was	
  about?	
  	
  After	
  a	
  little	
  reflection	
  and	
  dialogue	
  with	
  others,	
  I	
  found	
  I	
  was	
  facing	
  not	
  a	
  desert,	
  but	
  a	
  vast	
  ocean	
  of	
  literature	
  support—my	
  problem	
  now	
  was	
  that	
  I	
  didn’t	
  know	
  where	
  I	
  should	
  dive	
  in!	
    19  As	
  my	
  understanding	
  of	
  The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project	
  came	
  into	
  focus	
  in	
  the	
  course	
  of	
  the	
  research,	
  themes	
  emerged	
  that	
  I	
  would	
  follow	
  like	
  Alice	
  down	
  the	
  rabbit	
  hole.	
  	
  Every	
  corner	
  of	
  my	
  home	
  became	
  awash	
  with	
  books	
  and	
  photocopied	
  articles	
  stacked	
  and	
  highlighted	
  as	
  I	
  voyaged	
  outwards	
  in	
  many	
  exciting	
  directions.	
  	
  	
  Unbeknownst	
  to	
  me,	
  The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project	
  I	
  conceived	
  had	
  its	
  own	
  identity,	
  one	
  with	
  ancestry	
  in	
  rich	
  and	
  diverse	
  traditions.	
  	
  The	
  more	
  research	
  I	
  did,	
  the	
  more	
  I	
  saw	
  how	
  The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project	
  was	
  supported	
  by	
  and	
  had	
  a	
  place	
  in	
  several	
  communities	
  of	
  thought	
  and	
  practice.	
  	
  Indeed,	
  there	
  was	
  no	
  book	
  on	
  “Teaching	
  Coats”	
  that	
  I	
  could	
  cite	
  for	
  my	
  research	
  paper,	
  but	
  what	
  I	
  did	
  find	
  was	
  varied	
  literature	
  on	
  philosophy-­‐steeped	
  fabric	
  and	
  arts	
  traditions,	
  for	
  example,	
  quilting,	
  collage,	
  punk	
  rock	
  jackets,	
  and	
  Tibetan	
  prayer	
  flags.	
  	
  As	
  well,	
  I	
  learned	
  about	
  narrative	
  inquiry,	
  arts-­‐based	
  research	
  and	
  a/r/tography	
  methodologies.	
  	
  The	
  thread	
  I	
  would	
  stitch	
  the	
  entire	
  project	
  together	
  that	
  came	
  up	
  time	
  and	
  again	
  in	
  the	
  literature	
  was	
  the	
  thread	
  of	
  teacher	
  identity.	
  	
  	
   Central	
  Theme:	
  Teacher	
  Identity	
  In	
  this	
  research,	
  this	
  central	
  theme	
  of	
  teacher	
  identity	
  was	
  inspired	
  by	
  Parker	
  Palmer	
  (2007)	
  who	
  expresses	
  that	
  in	
  teaching	
  we	
  ask	
  questions	
  of	
  what,	
  how	
  and	
   why	
  but	
  that	
  “seldom,	
  if	
  ever,	
  do	
  we	
  ask	
  the	
  ‘who’	
  question—who	
  is	
  the	
  self	
  that	
  teaches?”	
  (p.	
  4).	
  	
  Palmer	
  argues	
  that	
  knowing	
  oneself	
  “is	
  as	
  crucial	
  to	
  good	
  teaching	
  as	
  is	
  knowing	
  [one’s]	
  students	
  and	
  [one’s]	
  subject”	
  (p.	
  3).	
  	
  He	
  makes	
  a	
  passionate	
  case	
  for	
  teachers	
  to	
  develop	
  self-­‐knowledge	
  as	
  valuable	
  process	
  in	
  itself	
  and	
  because	
  “we	
  teach	
  who	
  we	
  are”	
  (p.	
  2).	
    20  Who	
  am	
  I?	
  	
  It’s	
  amazing	
  how	
  huge	
  a	
  three-­‐syllable	
  question	
  can	
  be,	
  isn’t	
  it?	
  	
  This	
  question	
  is	
  tantamount	
  in	
  complexity	
  to	
  another	
  powerful,	
  pint-­‐sized	
  query,	
  “What	
  is	
  the	
  meaning	
  of	
  life?”	
  	
  Even	
  as	
  a	
  philosophy-­‐lover	
  myself,	
  I	
  have	
  found	
  that	
  reflecting	
  directly	
  on	
  who	
  I	
  am	
  can	
  cause	
  an	
  existential	
  headache.	
  	
  My	
  temptation	
  when	
  answering	
  the	
  question	
  of	
  who	
  I	
  am	
  is	
  to	
  first	
  stumble	
  through	
  superficial	
  details	
  like	
  name,	
  gender,	
  and	
  social	
  roles	
  until	
  words	
  fail	
  and	
  the	
  exercise	
  feels	
  like	
  trying	
  to	
  put	
  an	
  ocean	
  in	
  a	
  paper	
  cup.	
  	
  	
  Likewise,	
  the	
  question	
  of	
  who	
  I	
  am	
  as	
  a	
  teacher	
  can	
  be	
  confusing,	
  intimidating	
  and	
  exhausting.	
  	
  This	
  is	
  what	
  I	
  found	
  when	
  I	
  was	
  asked	
  to	
  write	
  my	
  “teaching	
  philosophy”	
  for	
  a	
  university	
  assignment.	
  	
  Yet,	
  rather	
  than	
  making	
  us	
  feel	
  like	
  failures	
  before	
  we	
  begin,	
  shouldn’t	
  the	
  task	
  of	
  defining	
  who	
  we	
  are	
  as	
  professionals	
  be	
  an	
  affirming	
  exploration?	
  	
  So	
  why	
  is	
  the	
  task	
  so	
  hard?	
  	
  	
  A	
  big	
  part	
  of	
  the	
  challenge	
  teachers	
  face	
  in	
  understanding	
  their	
  teacher	
  identities	
  could	
  be	
  that	
  grasping	
  to	
  even	
  understand	
  the	
  term	
  “teacher	
  identity”	
  is	
  like	
  aiming	
  for	
  a	
  fuzzy,	
  moving	
  target.	
  	
  Teacher	
  identity	
  is	
  not	
  universally	
  defined	
  (Beauchamp	
  &	
  Thomas,	
  2009,	
  p.	
  176),	
  and	
  where	
  it	
  is	
  defined	
  in	
  the	
  literature,	
  it	
  is	
  often	
  referred	
  to	
  as	
  something	
  that	
  is	
  both	
  a	
  product	
  and	
  a	
  process,	
  something	
  that	
  is	
  non-­‐static,	
  changeable,	
  dynamic,	
  and	
  shifting	
  over	
  time	
  (Beauchamp	
  &	
  Thomas,	
  2009,	
  p.	
  177;	
  Chong,	
  2011,	
  p.	
  230).	
  	
  Teacher	
  identity	
  is	
  multi-­‐dimensional	
  and	
  there	
  may	
  be	
  many	
  paths	
  to	
  how	
  we	
  come	
  to	
  understand	
  and	
  define	
  the	
  concept.	
  	
  In	
  a	
  review	
  of	
  the	
  literature,	
  Catherine	
  Beauchamp	
  and	
  Lynn	
  Thomas	
  (2009)	
  note	
  that	
  the	
  concept	
  of	
  teacher	
  identity	
  has	
  been	
  recently	
  explored	
  through	
  numerous	
  methods	
  and	
  lenses,	
    21  including	
  examination	
  of	
  the	
  ways	
  teachers	
  reinvent	
  themselves,	
  teacher	
  narratives,	
  teacher	
  discourses,	
  metaphors	
  of	
  practice,	
  and	
  contextual	
  factors	
  (pp.	
  175-­‐176).	
  	
  In	
  seeking	
  to	
  understand	
  and	
  define	
  teacher	
  identity,	
  Beauchamp	
  and	
  Thomas	
  (2009)	
  name	
  the	
  challenge	
  and	
  need	
  for	
  support:	
  	
  One	
  must	
  struggle	
  to	
  comprehend	
  the	
  close	
  connection	
  between	
  identity	
  and	
  the	
  self,	
  the	
  role	
  of	
  emotion	
  in	
  shaping	
  identity,	
  the	
  power	
  of	
  stories	
  and	
  discourse	
  in	
  understanding	
  identity,	
  the	
  role	
  of	
  reflection	
  in	
  shaping	
  identity,	
  the	
  link	
  between	
  identity	
  and	
  agency,	
  the	
  contextual	
  factors	
  that	
  promote	
  or	
  hinder	
  the	
  construction	
  of	
  identity,	
  and	
  ultimately	
  the	
  responsibility	
  of	
  teacher	
  education	
  programs	
  to	
  create	
  opportunities	
  for	
  the	
  exploration	
  of	
  new	
  and	
  developing	
  teacher	
  identities.	
  (p.	
  176)	
  Whatever	
  teacher	
  identity	
  is	
  and	
  how	
  we	
  ultimately	
  define	
  it,	
  most	
  of	
  us	
  seem	
  to	
  understand	
  intuitively	
  it	
  is	
  a	
  thing	
  of	
  deep	
  value	
  to	
  which	
  we	
  must	
  attend	
  and	
  that	
  must	
  be	
  fostered.	
  	
  It	
  is	
  widely	
  acknowledged	
  that	
  this	
  should	
  happen	
  in	
  both	
  teacher	
  education	
  programs	
  as	
  well	
  as	
  in	
  the	
  workplace	
  (Beauchamp	
  &	
  Thomas,	
  2009;	
  Goodnough	
  2011).	
  Based	
  on	
  her	
  longitudinal	
  research	
  study	
  designed	
  to	
  improve	
  initial	
  teacher	
  preparation	
  programs,	
  Sylvia	
  Chong	
  (2011)	
  concluded	
  that	
  	
  if	
  not	
  nurtured	
  carefully,	
  the	
  study	
  has	
  shown	
  that	
  [teacher	
  identity]	
  can	
  deteriorate	
  or	
  diminish.	
  	
  A	
  strong	
  sense	
  of	
  personal	
  and	
  professional	
  identity	
  will	
  strengthen	
  novice	
  teachers’	
  understanding	
  of	
  the	
  demands	
  and	
  nature	
  of	
  the	
  teaching	
  role.	
  This	
  process	
  is	
  best	
  not	
  left	
  to	
  chance,	
  and	
  should	
  be	
  nurtured	
  in	
  supportive	
  contexts.	
  (pp.	
  230-­‐231)	
    22  So	
  how	
  might	
  we	
  nurture	
  teacher	
  identity?	
  	
  How	
  does	
  a	
  supportive	
  context	
  look?	
  	
  Karen	
  Goodnough	
  (2011)	
  emphasizes	
  the	
  value	
  of	
  action	
  research	
  that	
  promotes	
  an	
  “inquiry	
  stance”	
  that	
  fosters	
  teacher	
  agency,	
  collaboration,	
  reflection	
  and	
  embeddedness	
  through	
  practice-­‐based	
  inquiry	
  (p.	
  83).	
  	
  Likewise,	
  John	
  Trent	
  (2010)	
  cites	
  Varghese	
  et	
  al.	
  (2005)	
  to	
  highlight	
  the	
  need	
  for	
  participatory,	
  practice-­‐based	
  exploration:	
  A	
  comprehensive	
  understanding	
  of	
  becoming	
  a	
  teacher	
  requires	
  attention	
  to	
  both	
  ‘identity-­‐in-­‐discourse’	
  and	
  ‘identity-­‐in-­‐practice’.	
  	
  ‘Identity-­‐in-­‐practice’	
  describes	
  an	
  action-­‐orientated	
  approach	
  to	
  understanding	
  identity,	
  underlining	
  the	
  need	
  to	
  investigate	
  identity	
  formation	
  as	
  a	
  social	
  matter,	
  which	
  is	
  operationalised	
  through	
  concrete	
  practices	
  and	
  tasks.	
  (p.	
  154)	
  The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project	
  arose	
  from	
  a	
  desire	
  to	
  actively	
  engage	
  teachers	
  in	
  exactly	
  these	
  types	
  of	
  explorations	
  of	
  teacher	
  identity.	
  	
  Participants	
  in	
  the	
  program	
  grapple	
  with	
  the	
  deeply	
  personal	
  questions	
  of	
  who	
  am	
  I	
  as	
  a	
  teacher?	
  	
  How	
  do	
  I	
  know	
   these	
  things	
  about	
  myself?	
  	
  And	
  in	
  what	
  ways	
  will	
  I	
  express	
  who	
  I	
  am	
  as	
  a	
  teacher,	
  for	
   myself	
  and	
  with	
  others?	
  	
  In	
  addressing	
  these	
  questions	
  myself	
  by	
  making	
  and	
  reflecting	
  on	
  my	
  own	
  Teaching	
  Coat,	
  and	
  in	
  dialogue	
  with	
  the	
  participants	
  in	
  the	
  study,	
  I	
  found	
  five	
  themes	
  emerged	
  related	
  to	
  teacher	
  identity.	
  	
  These	
  themes,	
  discussed	
  in	
  more	
  detail	
  through	
  the	
  research	
  in	
  Chapter	
  5,	
  include	
  (a.)	
  teacher	
  identity	
  as	
  a	
  socially	
  constructed,	
  contextually-­‐based	
  phenomena,	
  (b.)	
  teachers’	
  need	
  for	
  self-­‐awareness,	
  (c.)	
  teachers’	
  need	
  to	
  reflect	
  on	
  boundaries	
  between	
  the	
  personal	
  and	
  professional	
  self,	
  (d.)	
  definitions	
  of	
  teacher	
  authenticity,	
  and	
  (e.)	
  self-­‐learning	
  as	
  transformation.	
  	
    23  Chapter	
  3:	
  Methodologies	
  and	
  Reflections	
   	
  This	
  research,	
  expressed	
  as	
  an	
  arts-­‐based	
  narrative	
  inquiry,	
  explores	
  The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project,	
  which	
  is	
  a	
  professional	
  development	
  activity	
  for	
  teachers.	
  	
  Through	
  the	
  process	
  of	
  making	
  Teaching	
  Coats,	
  teachers	
  conduct	
  their	
  own	
  arts-­‐based	
  research	
  into	
  their	
  professional	
  identities.	
  	
  Clarifying	
  a	
  methodology	
  for	
  this	
  research	
  was	
  a	
  unique	
  journey	
  in	
  itself.	
   Why	
  this	
  project?	
  Why	
  this	
  way?	
  Choosing	
  to	
  follow	
  the	
  path	
  of	
  The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project	
  as	
  a	
  research	
  study	
  was	
  not	
  a	
  pragmatic	
  or	
  rational	
  decision	
  on	
  my	
  part.	
  	
  It	
  was	
  more	
  like	
  my	
  heart	
  saw	
  a	
  sprite	
  at	
  the	
  edge	
  of	
  a	
  wood	
  and	
  leapt	
  in	
  wildly	
  after	
  it.	
  	
  My	
  “researcher	
  brain”	
  had	
  to	
  work	
  to	
  keep	
  up.	
  	
  To	
  continue	
  the	
  analogy,	
  I	
  would	
  say	
  that	
  mapping	
  a	
  clear	
  methodology	
  for	
  this	
  research	
  was	
  something	
  I	
  did	
  only	
  once	
  I	
  came	
  out	
  on	
  the	
  other	
  side.	
  	
  When	
  I	
  encountered	
  a	
  growing	
  and	
  flourishing	
  arts-­‐based	
  research	
  community	
  in	
  the	
  middle	
  of	
  my	
  journey,	
  I	
  felt	
  relieved	
  to	
  be	
  able	
  to	
  give	
  a	
  name	
  to	
  the	
  magical	
  place	
  I	
  had	
  been	
  exploring	
  on	
  my	
  own.	
  	
  When	
  I	
  learned	
  others	
  had	
  travelled	
  in	
  these	
  regions	
  and	
  also	
  believed	
  in	
  them,	
  it	
  felt	
  like	
  a	
  homecoming.	
  “You’re	
  not	
  alone	
  in	
  what	
  you	
  are	
  doing…”	
  assured	
  Dr.	
  Carl	
  Leggo,	
  a	
  poet	
  and	
  professor	
  I	
  had	
  sought	
  out	
  to	
  supervise	
  the	
  second	
  half	
  of	
  my	
  research.	
  	
  “Arts-­‐based	
  research	
  is	
  a	
  thriving,	
  well-­‐established	
  field	
  and	
  has	
  been	
  for	
  quite	
  some	
  time	
  now.”	
  	
  Relevant	
  to	
  my	
  research	
  with	
  The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project,	
  he	
  listed	
  numerous	
  references	
  for	
  inspiration	
  and	
  support,	
  including	
  the	
  works	
  of	
  Elliot	
  Eisner,	
  Tom	
    24  Barone,	
  Patricia	
  Leavy,	
  Sandra	
  Weber,	
  Rita	
  Irwin	
  and	
  others.	
  	
  As	
  he	
  pulled	
  off	
  a	
  shelf	
  a	
  thick	
  new	
  volume,	
  Sage	
  Publication’s	
  Handbook	
  of	
  the	
  Arts	
  in	
  Qualitative	
  Research,	
  I	
  took	
  it	
  as	
  a	
  welcoming	
  into	
  a	
  hitherto	
  secret	
  world.	
  	
  	
  Until	
  this	
  point,	
  I	
  had	
  struggled	
  for	
  the	
  language	
  to	
  express	
  to	
  other	
  parts	
  of	
  my	
  university	
  what	
  I	
  was	
  trying	
  to	
  do	
  with	
  my	
  research	
  with	
  The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project.	
  	
  As	
  a	
  right-­‐brained,	
  artsy	
  type	
  in	
  my	
  core	
  and	
  a	
  trained	
  actor,	
  I	
  had	
  spent	
  a	
  lot	
  of	
  my	
  life	
  amused	
  by	
  playing	
  the	
  roles	
  needed	
  to	
  successfully	
  pass	
  in	
  left-­‐brained	
  societies.	
  	
  Still,	
  I	
  want	
  to	
  play	
  myself	
  sometimes.	
  	
  I	
  believe	
  there	
  is	
  a	
  particular	
  need	
  to	
  support	
  our	
  multiple	
  intelligences	
  expressions	
  in	
  a	
  master	
  of	
  education	
  program	
  in	
  leadership,	
  but	
  often	
  I	
  found	
  learning	
  exercises	
  in	
  my	
  program	
  delivered	
  in	
  two	
  dimensions.	
  	
  From	
  my	
  experience,	
  I	
  gathered	
  that	
  designing	
  multi-­‐modal,	
  experiential	
  learning	
  experiences	
  for	
  the	
  university	
  classroom	
  setting	
  was	
  either	
  not	
  understood	
  or	
  seen	
  as	
  too	
  time-­‐consuming,	
  too	
  expensive	
  or	
  not	
  important.	
  	
  In	
  my	
  studies	
  I	
  heard	
  lip-­‐service	
  paid	
  to	
  creativity,	
  but	
  I	
  sensed	
  a	
  hidden	
  curriculum.	
   How	
  to	
  become	
  an	
  educational	
  leader:	
   write	
  an	
  academic	
  paper,	
  	
   with	
  data	
  in	
  charts	
  and	
  graphs	
  	
   and	
  footnotes	
  to	
  other	
  people	
  	
   who	
  have	
  proven	
  what	
  they	
  know	
  	
   by	
  publishing	
  articles,	
  with	
  data	
  in	
  charts	
  and	
  graphs	
   	
  and	
  footnotes	
  to	
  other	
  people,	
  ad	
  infinitum—	
  	
   Oh,	
  you	
  want	
  to	
  learn	
  to	
  be	
  creative,	
  do	
  you?	
  	
   Feel	
  free…to	
  add	
  a	
  jpeg	
  or	
  two.	
    25  I	
  got	
  the	
  feeling	
  that	
  because	
  I	
  am	
  a	
  right-­‐brained	
  teacher	
  and	
  because	
  I	
  signed	
  up	
  for	
  an	
  M.Ed.	
  degree	
  over	
  an	
  MA,	
  I	
  was	
  to	
  be	
  treated	
  as	
  just	
  a	
  tourist	
  in	
  academia;	
  I	
  perceived	
  a	
  message	
  that	
  I	
  should	
  hurry	
  up	
  to	
  get	
  back	
  to	
  my	
  station	
  as	
  a	
  ready-­‐made	
  educational	
  leader	
  by	
  side-­‐stepping	
  Pandora’s	
  box	
  of	
  messier	
  research	
  explorations.	
  	
  I	
  was	
  encouraged	
  to	
  “fit	
  in”	
  with	
  the	
  left	
  brains	
  and	
  focus	
  my	
  research	
  on	
  something	
  straightforward,	
  controllable,	
  buttoned-­‐up,	
  and	
  “scientific”	
  looking.	
  	
  Perhaps	
  my	
  feelings	
  towards	
  this	
  directive	
  are	
  aptly	
  expressed	
  through	
  the	
  visual	
  created	
  by	
  my	
  project:	
  graffitied	
  white	
  lab	
  coats,	
  stained	
  with	
  resistance	
  and	
  bleeding	
  our	
  teacher	
  identities.	
  I	
  wanted	
  my	
  research	
  work,	
  like	
  my	
  teacher	
  identity,	
  to	
  flow	
  and	
  feel	
  authentic.	
  	
  When	
  it	
  came	
  time	
  to	
  decide	
  a	
  direction	
  for	
  my	
  final	
  research	
  project,	
  something	
  that	
  would	
  absorb	
  vast	
  amounts	
  of	
  time,	
  I	
  would	
  commit	
  myself	
  to	
  nothing	
  less	
  than	
  something	
  that	
  had	
  the	
  potential	
  to	
  be	
  beautiful,	
  meaningful	
  and	
  a	
  multi-­‐dimensional	
  expression	
  of	
  educational	
  leadership.	
  	
  The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project	
  I	
  was	
  creating	
  felt	
  like	
  my	
  perfect	
  fit.	
  	
  	
  	
  Still,	
  from	
  the	
  very	
  beginning	
  and	
  throughout	
  the	
  research	
  I	
  swatted	
  at	
  questions	
  in	
  the	
  shadows:	
  Why	
  this	
  project?	
  Why	
  this	
  way?	
  	
  Why	
  work	
  through	
  the	
  arts	
  in	
  a	
  fabric	
  medium	
  of	
  which	
  you	
  have	
  no	
  technical	
  knowledge	
  or	
  experience?	
  	
  	
  Why	
  work	
  in	
  fabric	
  for	
  a	
  project	
  in	
  educational	
  leadership?	
  	
  Why	
  not	
  pursue	
  a	
  more	
  traditional	
  path	
  that	
  would	
  be	
  easier	
  to	
  explain	
  to	
  others	
  at	
  the	
  university?	
  	
  Why	
  not	
  put	
  your	
  head	
  down	
  into	
  an	
  elegant	
  quantitative	
  study	
  that	
  would	
  neatly	
  contribute	
   easily	
  assimilated	
  data	
  to	
  the	
  canon	
  of	
  “real	
  knowledge”?	
  	
  Why	
  take	
  on	
  this	
  project	
  that	
  is	
  big,	
  confusing,	
  and	
  potentially	
  unresolvable?	
  	
  Why	
  take	
  this	
  on	
  now	
  when	
  you	
    26  also	
  have	
  responsibilities	
  to	
  your	
  new	
  baby,	
  other	
  university	
  courses,	
  work	
  and	
  providing	
  for	
  your	
  family?	
  Why	
  not	
  join	
  a	
  pre-­‐established	
  research	
  group	
  of	
  friendly	
  colleagues	
  with	
  a	
  clear	
  trajectory	
  and	
  enjoy	
  responsibility	
  for	
  only	
  a	
  fraction	
  of	
  the	
  research	
  responsibilities?	
  Why	
  not	
  follow	
  a	
  simpler	
  route	
  that	
  would	
  take	
  less	
  time,	
   less	
  money	
  and	
  less	
  physical,	
  mental,	
  and	
  emotional	
  effort?	
  	
  	
  I	
  heard	
  these	
  questions	
  asked	
  over	
  and	
  over	
  in	
  voices	
  of	
  some	
  professors,	
  classmates,	
  family	
  and	
  even	
  my	
  own	
  fears.	
  	
  The	
  fact	
  that	
  I	
  persevered	
  with	
  the	
  sometimes	
  fuzzy,	
  inarticulate	
  visions	
  of	
  what	
  would	
  become	
  The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project,	
  while	
  at	
  times	
  feeling	
  dismissed	
  as	
  an	
  odd	
  duck	
  “goofing	
  around	
  with	
  arts	
  and	
  crafts,”	
  I	
  believe	
  is	
  a	
  testament	
  to	
  the	
  support	
  leant	
  to	
  me	
  in	
  the	
  past	
  by	
  a	
  few	
  mentors.	
  	
  At	
  some	
  point	
  in	
  my	
  own	
  history	
  as	
  a	
  student,	
  I	
  was	
  reached	
  by	
  a	
  teacher	
  who	
  led	
  me	
  to	
  see	
  how	
  art	
  may	
  possess	
  knowledge,	
  and	
  a	
  teacher	
  who	
  nurtured	
  my	
  courage	
  as	
  an	
  artist,	
  a	
  teacher	
  who	
  taught	
  me	
  I	
  could	
  raise	
  myself	
  up	
  by	
  standing	
  on	
  the	
  shoulders	
  of	
  giants,	
  and	
  a	
  teacher	
  who	
  cheered	
  me	
  on	
  as	
  I	
  scaled	
  the	
  hardest	
  mountain	
  of	
  my	
  creative	
  life.	
  So	
  why	
  this	
  project?	
  	
  Why	
  this	
  way?	
  	
  To	
  answer	
  these	
  and	
  other	
  questions	
  that	
  stalked	
  me	
  like	
  wolves	
  from	
  the	
  shadows	
  during	
  this	
  research,	
  I	
  had	
  one	
  simple	
  answer.	
  	
  This	
  project	
  happened	
  in	
  this	
  way	
  because	
  my	
  heart	
  was	
  calling	
  me.	
  	
   Searching	
  for	
  a	
  Methodology	
   “Art	
  is	
  science	
  made	
  clear.”	
  	
   -­‐Wilson	
  Mizner	
  	
  As	
  a	
  novice	
  researcher,	
  I	
  first	
  experimented	
  to	
  see	
  if	
  my	
  vision	
  for	
  The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project	
  could	
  fit	
  into	
  the	
  more	
  limited	
  range	
  of	
  methodological	
    27  categories	
  occurring	
  around	
  me	
  in	
  my	
  university	
  department.	
  	
  I	
  wondered	
  which	
  aspects	
  of	
  my	
  research	
  could	
  focus	
  on	
  measurability,	
  proof,	
  or	
  generalizability?	
  	
  I	
  experimented,	
  inventing	
  a	
  “science”	
  of	
  Teaching	
  Coats:	
   There	
  will	
  be	
  four	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  measured	
  in	
  the	
  scope	
  of	
  this	
  research.	
  The	
   measurements	
  will	
  range…in	
  size?…from	
  small	
  to	
  large?	
  	
  The	
  proof	
  of	
  their	
   value	
  can	
  be	
  shown	
  by	
  a	
  formula	
  such	
  as:	
   Teaching	
  Coat	
  (T)	
  =	
  Value	
  (V)	
  =	
  Meaning	
  (M)	
  x	
  Expression	
  (E)	
   	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  Intention	
  (I)	
  	
  But	
  the	
  experiment	
  proved	
  reductive	
  and	
  absurd.	
  	
  My	
  experience	
  of	
  the	
  work	
  didn’t	
  make	
  sense	
  when	
  funneled	
  narrowly	
  this	
  way.	
  	
  Yet	
  the	
  failure	
  of	
  this	
  experiment	
  in	
  clarified	
  a	
  direction	
  for	
  my	
  journey.	
  	
  I	
  believe	
  it	
  would	
  serve	
  me	
  later	
  as	
  a	
  reminder	
  of	
  the	
  importance	
  of	
  patience	
  when	
  encountering	
  open	
  ends	
  and	
  loose	
  threads	
  in	
  the	
  research	
  process.	
  	
  I	
  would	
  try	
  to	
  remember	
  to	
  resist	
  the	
  temptation	
  to	
  impose	
  on	
  The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project	
  an	
  unnatural	
  structure	
  and	
  instead	
  let	
  it	
  become	
  what	
  it	
  needed	
  to	
  be.	
  	
  Initially	
  it	
  was	
  inconvenient	
  that	
  what	
  my	
  participants	
  and	
  I	
  discovered	
  would	
  not	
  be	
  disembodied	
  to	
  fit	
  neatly	
  into	
  tables,	
  charts,	
  diagrams,	
  and	
  words.	
  	
  Yet	
  attempting	
  and	
  failing	
  to	
  constrain	
  the	
  expression	
  of	
  the	
  project	
  in	
  this	
  way	
  tipped	
  me	
  off	
  and	
  shone	
  glimmering	
  hope	
  that	
  the	
  work	
  was	
  developing	
  a	
  multi-­‐dimensional	
  or	
  transcendental	
  quality	
  I	
  once	
  boldly	
  dreamed	
  it	
  might.	
  A	
  wonderful	
  teacher	
  I	
  once	
  had	
  transformed	
  my	
  thinking	
  by	
  showing	
  me	
  how	
  metaphor	
  can	
  access	
  ways	
  of	
  knowing	
  otherwise	
  invisible.	
  	
  I	
  loved	
  thinking	
  about	
  how	
  my	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  metaphor	
  transcended	
  other	
  ways	
  of	
  expressing	
  my	
  teacher	
  identity.	
  	
  I	
  see	
  my	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  as	
  the	
  ultimate	
  piece	
  of	
  research	
  data—the	
  ideal	
    28  field	
  text	
  (Creswell,	
  2007,	
  p.	
  55).	
  	
  My	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  casts	
  a	
  me-­‐like	
  silhouette	
  I	
  can	
  trace,	
  and	
  the	
  act	
  of	
  creating	
  my	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  was	
  like	
  giving	
  birth	
  to	
  a	
  kind	
  of	
  “embodied	
  knowledge”,	
  which	
  helped	
  me	
  gain	
  perspective	
  from	
  a	
  distance.	
  	
  The	
  “embodied	
  knowledge”	
  was	
  something	
  tangible	
  I	
  could	
  feel	
  when	
  I	
  wore	
  the	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  around	
  me.	
  	
  Ruth	
  Leitch	
  describes	
  “embodied	
  knowledge”	
  with	
  reference	
  to	
  Derry’s	
  (2005)	
  work,	
  as	
  “a	
  way	
  of	
  knowing	
  that	
  goes	
  beyond	
  the	
  intellectual,	
  logical	
  and	
  rational	
  mode	
  of	
  thinking	
  that	
  has	
  been	
  traditionally	
  defined	
  to	
  include	
  ‘emotions,	
  culture,	
  physical	
  sensation	
  and	
  life	
  experiences’”	
  (2006,	
  p.	
  552).	
  	
  I	
  believe	
  this	
  is	
  the	
  way	
  my	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  teaches	
  me.	
  	
  A	
  key	
  question	
  for	
  participants	
  in	
  this	
  research	
  was:	
  “Who	
  are	
  you	
  as	
  teacher?”	
  This	
  can	
  be	
  a	
  complex	
  question	
  to	
  answer.	
  	
  I	
  had	
  to	
  admit	
  that	
  even	
  the	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  and	
  our	
  dialogues	
  about	
  them	
  might	
  not	
  be	
  able	
  to	
  capture	
  and	
  represent	
  the	
  whole	
  story	
  of	
  any	
  one	
  teacher’s	
  identity.	
  	
  Teachers’	
  own	
  truths	
  speak	
  in	
  different	
  tongues;	
  but	
  going	
  into	
  this	
  project	
  I	
  believed,	
  based	
  on	
  my	
  own	
  past	
  experience,	
  that	
  the	
  arts	
  could	
  offer	
  perceptible	
  translations.	
  	
  Elliot	
  Eisner	
  (2006)	
  discusses	
  Susanne	
  Langer’s	
  (1957)	
  account	
  of	
  art	
  as	
  “feelings	
  and	
  emotions	
  that	
  the	
  artist	
  knows;	
  his	
  insight	
  into	
  the	
  nature	
  of	
  sentience,	
  his	
  pictures	
  of	
  vital	
  experience,	
  physical,	
  emotive	
  and	
  fantastic”	
  (p.	
  91)	
  and	
  adds	
  that	
  	
  such	
  knowledge	
  is	
  not	
  expressive	
  in	
  ordinary	
  discourse.	
  	
  The	
  reason	
  for	
  this	
  ineffability	
  is	
  not	
  that	
  the	
  ideas	
  to	
  be	
  expressed	
  are	
  too	
  high,	
  too	
  spiritual	
  or	
  too	
  anything	
  else,	
  but	
  that	
  the	
  forms	
  of	
  feeling	
  and	
  the	
  forms	
  of	
  discursive	
  expression	
  are	
  logically	
  incommensurate.	
  (p.	
  7)	
  	
  	
    29  I	
  believe	
  the	
  essence	
  of	
  our	
  most	
  exquisite	
  discoveries	
  and	
  truths	
  can	
  never	
  be	
  captured	
  by	
  any	
  research	
  methodology.	
  	
  Instead,	
  they	
  are	
  perceptible	
  in	
  moments	
   of	
  being,	
  in	
  intentions,	
  and	
  in	
  exchanges.	
  	
  So	
  far,	
  the	
  best	
  way	
  I	
  know	
  how	
  to	
  communicate	
  about	
  the	
  “ineffable”	
  is	
  to	
  translate	
  through	
  the	
  languages	
  of	
  the	
  arts.	
   Blending	
  Methodologies	
  After	
  designing	
  The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project	
  to	
  support	
  participants	
  in	
  reflecting	
  on	
  their	
  teacher	
  identities,	
  I	
  learned	
  that	
  the	
  methods	
  employed	
  were	
  aligned	
  with	
  what	
  the	
  literature	
  describes	
  as	
  arts-­‐based	
  research	
  and	
   a/r/tography	
  methodologies.	
  In	
  studying	
  the	
  processes	
  of	
  four	
  teachers,	
  including	
  myself,	
  who	
  used	
  arts-­‐based	
  research	
  and	
  a/r/tograpahy	
  methodologies	
  to	
  make	
  their	
  own	
  Teaching	
  Coats,	
  I	
  express	
  the	
  research	
  within	
  an	
  arts-­‐based	
  narrative	
   inquiry	
  framework.	
  	
  The	
  final	
  research	
  is	
  explored	
  through	
  my	
  autoethnography	
  to	
  provide	
  context	
  for	
  the	
  intent	
  and	
  development	
  of	
  the	
  project	
  and	
  in	
  an	
  effort	
  towards	
  reflexivity	
  as	
  a	
  researcher.	
   My	
  Lens,	
  My	
  Autoethnography	
    I	
  am	
  like	
  a	
  videographer,	
  out	
  to	
  discover	
  and	
  share	
  the	
  story	
  of	
  The	
  Teaching	
   Coats	
  Project.	
  I	
  set	
  up	
  to	
  record	
  in	
  the	
  places	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  may	
  emerge.	
  	
  I	
  angle	
  my	
   camera	
  towards	
  the	
  action,	
  focusing	
  my	
  lens	
  on	
  the	
  study	
  participants—on	
  what	
  they	
   make,	
  say,	
  and	
  express	
  through	
  the	
  modalities	
  they	
  choose.	
  	
  I	
  review	
  our	
  footage	
  and	
   invite	
  feedback	
  on	
  what	
  is	
  recorded.	
  	
  Like	
  a	
  curator,	
  I	
  gather	
  and	
  present	
  the	
  images	
   and	
  stories	
  that	
  I	
  believe	
  inform	
  and	
  resonate.	
  	
  I	
  don’t	
  know	
  for	
  sure	
  how	
  the	
  final	
    30  movie	
  will	
  play,	
  and	
  while	
  my	
  angles	
  are	
  reflexive,	
  I	
  am	
  not	
  objective.	
  	
  My	
  lens	
  seeks	
  to	
   zoom	
  in	
  on	
  the	
  beauty	
  and	
  meaning	
  the	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  offer.	
  	
  Before	
  understanding	
  and	
  choosing	
  the	
  appropriate	
  methodology	
  for	
  this	
  study,	
  I	
  had	
  to	
  step	
  back	
  and	
  admit	
  the	
  scope	
  of	
  my	
  bias	
  in	
  approaching	
  researching	
  The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project.	
  	
  As	
  the	
  project’s	
  creator,	
  a	
  participant	
  within	
  the	
  research	
  study,	
  and	
  a	
  researcher	
  all	
  at	
  once,	
  I	
  acknowledged	
  I	
  was	
  inextricably	
  personally	
  invested	
  and	
  seeing	
  the	
  project	
  through	
  an	
  appreciative	
  lens.	
  	
  Without	
  naming	
  this	
  bias,	
  the	
  research	
  would	
  be	
  as	
  trustworthy	
  as	
  calling	
  someone’s	
  mother	
  for	
  a	
  job	
  reference.	
  	
  Still,	
  although	
  biased,	
  sometimes	
  the	
  people	
  closest	
  to	
  us	
  can	
  shed	
  light	
  on	
  aspects	
  of	
  ourselves	
  otherwise	
  unseen.	
  	
  I	
  hoped	
  that	
  by	
  acknowledging	
  my	
  bias	
  in	
  my	
  research,	
  I	
  could	
  harness	
  the	
  power	
  of	
  my	
  personal	
  connection	
  to	
  it	
  and	
  share	
  deeper	
  insight	
  as	
  an	
  insider	
  to	
  the	
  project—after	
  all,	
  who	
  better	
  to	
  give	
  a	
  traveller	
  a	
  tour	
  around	
  a	
  foreign	
  land	
  than	
  a	
  native	
  dweller?	
  	
  Still,	
  I	
  knew	
  my	
  enmeshed	
  position	
  would	
  bring	
  with	
  it	
  certain	
  limitations	
  I	
  wouldn’t	
  be	
  able	
  to	
  see.	
  	
  	
  	
  I	
  learned	
  about	
  reflexivity	
  in	
  my	
  university	
  studies	
  and	
  deeply	
  believe	
  this	
  to	
  be	
  an	
  important	
  goal	
  both	
  for	
  teachers	
  and	
  researchers.	
  	
  My	
  research	
  process	
  was	
  influenced	
  by	
  the	
  words	
  of	
  Hammersley	
  (2003):	
  Researchers	
  are	
  always	
  part	
  of	
  the	
  social	
  world	
  they	
  study;	
  they	
  can	
  never	
  step	
  above	
  it	
  in	
  order	
  to	
  gain	
  an	
  Olympian	
  perspective	
  or	
  move	
  outside	
  it	
  to	
  get	
  a	
  ‘view	
  from	
  nowhere.’	
  It	
  is	
  taken	
  to	
  follow	
  from	
  this	
  that	
  they	
  should	
  continually	
  reflect	
  on	
  their	
  own	
  role	
  in	
  the	
  research	
  process	
  and	
  on	
  the	
  wider	
  context	
  in	
  which	
  it	
  occurs.	
  	
  This	
  kind	
  of	
  reflection	
  should	
  guide	
  the	
  course	
  of	
  research;	
  and	
  in	
  writing	
  up	
  their	
  findings,	
  it	
  is	
  argued,	
  researchers	
  ought	
  to	
    31  give	
  a	
  detailed	
  account	
  of	
  the	
  research	
  process	
  so	
  as	
  to	
  allow	
  readers	
  to	
  judge	
  their	
  findings	
  in	
  context.	
  (para.	
  1)	
  As	
  teachers	
  and	
  researchers	
  we	
  need	
  to	
  acknowledge	
  the	
  angle	
  of	
  our	
  lenses.	
  	
  Our	
  biases	
  impact	
  our	
  practices.	
  	
  Indeed,	
  endeavoring	
  towards	
  reflexivity	
  is	
  what	
  I	
  had	
  hoped	
  The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project	
  as	
  professional	
  development	
  would	
  be	
  all	
  about.	
  	
  So	
  I	
  reasoned	
  I	
  would	
  research	
  in	
  the	
  same	
  manner	
  and	
  spirit	
  as	
  advocated	
  by	
  the	
  project	
  itself:	
  I	
  would	
  personally	
  engage	
  and	
  answer	
  questions	
  through	
  an	
  art-­‐making	
  process,	
  allowing	
  understandings	
  to	
  flow	
  through	
  in	
  a	
  combination	
  of	
  words,	
  images,	
  artworks,	
  and	
  organize,	
  present	
  and	
  discuss	
  the	
  product	
  of	
  the	
  explorations	
  as	
  a	
  kind	
  of	
  artwork	
  itself.	
  	
  This	
  was	
  my	
  attraction	
  to	
  exploring	
  the	
  research	
  as	
  an	
  arts-­‐based	
  narrative	
  inquiry	
  within	
  my	
  own	
  autoethnography.	
  In	
  the	
  abstract	
  of	
  “Autoethnography:	
  An	
  Overview”,	
  Ellis,	
  Adams,	
  and	
  Bochner	
  (2011)	
  define	
  autoethnography	
  as	
  	
  an	
  approach	
  to	
  research	
  and	
  writing	
  that	
  seeks	
  to	
  describe	
  and	
  systematically	
  analyze	
  personal	
  experience	
  in	
  order	
  to	
  understand	
  cultural	
  experience.	
  	
  This	
  approach	
  challenges	
  canonical	
  ways	
  of	
  doing	
  research	
  and	
  representing	
  others	
  and	
  treats	
  research	
  as	
  a	
  political,	
  socially-­‐just	
  and	
  socially-­‐conscious	
  act.	
  A	
  researcher	
  uses	
  tenets	
  of	
  autobiography	
  and	
  ethnography	
  to	
  do	
  and	
  write	
  autoethnography.	
  Thus,	
  as	
  a	
  method,	
  autoethnography	
  is	
  both	
  process	
  and	
  product.	
  (para.	
  1)	
  In	
  reporting	
  on	
  this	
  research	
  through	
  writing	
  my	
  autoethnography,	
  I	
  knew	
  that	
  I	
  would	
  need	
  to	
  constantly	
  draw	
  lines	
  between	
  what	
  I	
  was	
  writing	
  for	
  my	
  own	
   process	
  and	
  what	
  would	
  be	
  useful	
  to	
  share	
  with	
  others	
  as	
  the	
  product	
  of	
  that	
    32  process.	
  	
  I	
  ended	
  up	
  with	
  hundreds	
  of	
  pages	
  of	
  process	
  in	
  the	
  form	
  of	
  journaling,	
  and	
  it	
  was	
  an	
  extraordinarily	
  difficult	
  task	
  to	
  go	
  back	
  to	
  evaluate	
  and	
  rework	
  portions	
  for	
  highlighting	
  in	
  the	
  research.	
  	
  Yet	
  therein	
  lay	
  the	
  value	
  of	
  the	
  narrative	
  research	
  methodology.	
  	
  Through	
  selection,	
  analysis	
  and	
  evaluation,	
  I	
  saw	
  my	
  chicken-­‐scratches	
  on	
  notepads	
  transformed	
  into	
  communicable	
  meanings.	
  	
  Discovering	
  autoethnography	
  for	
  the	
  first	
  time	
  in	
  the	
  process	
  of	
  researching	
  The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project,	
  I	
  came	
  to	
  understand	
  better	
  Stacy	
  Holman	
  Jones’	
  (2005)	
  description	
  of	
  this	
  methodology	
  as	
  “a	
  balancing	
  act…autoethnography	
  writes	
  a	
  world	
  in	
  a	
  state	
  of	
  flux	
  and	
  movement—between	
  story	
  and	
  context,	
  writer	
  and	
  reader,	
  crisis	
  and	
  denouement.	
  	
  It	
  creates	
  charged	
  moments	
  of	
  clarity	
  and	
  change”	
  (p.	
  765).	
  	
   Arts-­‐Based	
  Research	
   “All	
  art	
  is	
  autobiographical.	
  The	
  pearl	
  is	
  the	
  oyster's	
  autobiography.”	
  	
  -­‐Federico	
  Fellini	
  “Arts-­‐based	
  research”,	
  a	
  term	
  Elliot	
  Eisner	
  coined	
  in	
  the	
  1990’s,	
  is	
  a	
  growing	
  field	
  of	
  inquiry	
  that	
  took	
  root	
  in	
  the	
  1970s	
  when	
  the	
  practices	
  of	
  artists	
  and	
  art	
  critics	
  began	
  to	
  influence	
  the	
  processes	
  of	
  educational	
  research	
  (Sinner,	
  et	
  al.,	
  2006,	
  p.	
  1226).	
  	
  	
  This	
  methodology	
  “incorporates	
  the	
  processes,	
  forms	
  (or	
  structures),	
  and	
  approaches	
  of	
  creative	
  practices	
  in	
  academic	
  scholarship”	
  (Sinner,	
  et	
  al.,	
  2006,	
  p.	
  1226)	
  and	
  emphasizes	
  the	
  “aesthetic	
  experience”	
  to	
  deepen	
  the	
  discovery	
  process	
  (Eisner,	
  2006,	
  p.	
  9).	
  	
  Shaun	
  McNiff	
  (2007)	
  offers	
  a	
  definition	
  of	
  arts-­‐based	
  research	
  as	
    33  the	
  systematic	
  use	
  of	
  the	
  artistic	
  process,	
  the	
  actual	
  making	
  of	
  artistic	
  expressions	
  in	
  all	
  of	
  the	
  different	
  forms	
  of	
  the	
  arts,	
  as	
  a	
  primary	
  way	
  of	
  understanding	
  and	
  examining	
  experience	
  by	
  both	
  researchers	
  and	
  the	
  people	
  that	
  they	
  involve	
  in	
  their	
  studies.	
  	
  These	
  inquiries	
  are	
  distinguished	
  from	
  research	
  activities	
  where	
  the	
  arts	
  may	
  play	
  a	
  significant	
  role	
  but	
  are	
  essentially	
  used	
  as	
  data	
  for	
  investigations	
  that	
  take	
  place	
  within	
  academic	
  disciplines	
  that	
  utilize	
  more	
  traditional	
  scientific,	
  verbal,	
  and	
  mathematic	
  descriptions	
  and	
  analyses	
  of	
  phenomena.	
  (p.	
  29)	
  The	
  goal	
  of	
  arts-­‐based	
  research,	
  which	
  can	
  encompass	
  narrative	
  and	
  other	
  multiple	
  modes	
  of	
  expression,	
  is	
  non-­‐traditional.	
  	
  The	
  goal	
  is	
  not	
  to	
  make	
  knowledge	
  claims	
  or	
  achieve	
  validity	
  and	
  reliability,	
  but	
  to	
  review	
  phenomena	
  “that	
  have	
  come	
  to	
  be	
  perceived	
  or	
  conceived	
  of	
  in	
  a	
  manner	
  that	
  is	
  usual,	
  conventional,	
  or	
  orthodox”	
  (Barone,	
  2010,	
  p.	
  44).	
  	
  Fels	
  and	
  Irwin	
  (2008)	
  explain	
  the	
  how	
  arts-­‐based	
  research	
  may	
  involve	
  increased	
  reflexivity	
  on	
  the	
  part	
  of	
  researchers	
  and	
  participants:	
  [Arts-­‐based	
  research]	
  calls	
  us	
  to	
  question	
  who	
  we	
  are	
  as	
  researchers,	
  as	
  educators,	
  as	
  citizens,	
  and	
  how	
  we	
  have	
  come	
  to	
  understand	
  our	
  own	
  positioning	
  and	
  responsibilities	
  in	
  constructed	
  realities	
  that	
  situate	
  us	
  within	
  our	
  own	
  communal	
  and	
  academic	
  endeavors…Arts-­‐based	
  research	
  calls	
  us	
  to	
  question,	
  to	
  interrupt,	
  to	
  disrupt,	
  to	
  create,	
  to	
  inquire,	
  to	
  reflect,	
  and	
  to	
  engage	
  in	
  meaningful	
  ways,	
  so	
  that	
  we	
  might	
  begin	
  to	
  offer	
  new	
  ways	
  of	
  engagement	
  and	
  understanding	
  to	
  our	
  students,	
  our	
  educators,	
  our	
  communities.	
  (para.	
  13-­‐14)	
  	
  	
    34  In	
  Method	
  Meets	
  Art:	
  Arts-­‐Based	
  Research	
  Practice,	
  Particia	
  Leavy	
  (2009)	
  describes	
  the	
  many	
  advantages	
  of	
  arts-­‐based	
  research	
  work.	
  	
  The	
  arts,	
  she	
  writes,	
  “at	
  their	
  best,	
  are	
  known	
  for	
  being	
  emotionally	
  and	
  politically	
  evocative,	
  captivating,	
  aesthetically	
  powerful	
  and	
  moving.	
  	
  Art	
  can	
  grab	
  people’s	
  attention	
  in	
  powerful	
  ways”	
  (p.	
  12).	
  	
  Leavy	
  describes	
  a	
  quality	
  of	
  immediacy	
  that	
  the	
  arts	
  offer;	
  she	
  explains	
  how	
  qualitative	
  researchers	
  may	
  access	
  through	
  arts-­‐based	
  methods	
  certain	
  information,	
  understandings	
  and	
  experiences	
  otherwise	
  inaccessible	
  and	
  which	
  are	
  particularly	
  useful	
  in	
  research	
  projects	
  that	
  aim	
  to	
  describe,	
  explore	
  or	
  discover	
  (p.	
  12).	
  	
  Diverging	
  from	
  traditional	
  methods,	
  arts-­‐based	
  research	
  often	
  emphasizes	
  process	
  as	
  opposed	
  to	
  product,	
  (p.	
  12).	
  	
  Offering	
  short	
  term	
  and	
  long	
  term	
  benefits,	
  the	
  immediacy	
  and	
  process-­‐orientation	
  of	
  the	
  arts	
  all	
  contribute	
  to	
  why	
  researchers	
  exploring	
  identity	
  choose	
  arts-­‐based	
  methods	
  (p.	
  13).	
  	
  	
   A/r/tography	
   “Art	
  is	
  not	
  a	
  thing;	
  it	
  is	
  a	
  way.”	
   -­‐Elbert	
  Hubbard	
  A/r/tography	
  is	
  a	
  form	
  of	
  arts-­‐based	
  action	
  research	
  that	
  is,	
  as	
  Rita	
  Irwin	
  (2010)	
  describes,	
  “concerned	
  with	
  possibilities	
  rather	
  than	
  probabilities”	
  (p.	
  42).	
  Irwin	
  describes	
  the	
  forward	
  slashes	
  in	
  a/r/tography	
  as	
  representing	
  the	
  bringing	
  together	
  of	
  both	
  the	
  arts	
  and	
  writing	
  (graphy),	
  as	
  well	
  as	
  signifying	
  the	
  interconnected	
  parts	
  of	
  the	
  artist,	
  researcher,	
  and	
  teacher	
  (educator/learner),	
  explaining	
  that	
  they	
  “are	
  contiguous	
  representations	
  of	
  identities	
  colliding,	
  merging,	
  and	
  separating	
  as	
  the	
  dynamics	
  of	
  a	
  situation	
  are	
  revealed”	
  (p.	
  42).	
  	
  A/r/tographers,	
    35  she	
  explains,	
  “do	
  not	
  separate	
  theory,	
  practice,	
  and	
  making,	
  preferring	
  to	
  use	
  all	
  three	
  ways	
  of	
  knowing	
  in	
  complementary	
  or	
  even	
  contradictory	
  ways”	
  (p.	
  42).	
  	
  	
  I	
  see	
  the	
  teachers	
  who	
  undertake	
  the	
  journey	
  of	
  making	
  their	
  own	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  as	
  being	
  a/r/tographers.	
  	
  The	
  community	
  of	
  inquiry	
  that	
  we	
  created	
  in	
  this	
  research	
  exhibits	
  what	
  Irwin	
  (2010,	
  p.	
  42)	
  lists	
  as	
  the	
  commitments	
  of	
  an	
  a/r/tographic	
  community:	
  	
   Commitments	
  of	
  an	
  	
   A/r/tographic	
  Community	
   A/r/tographic	
  Elements	
  of	
  	
   The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project	
  (1.)	
  a	
  commitment	
  to	
  a	
  way	
  of	
  being	
  in	
  the	
  world	
   Participants	
  must	
  undertake	
  an	
  arts-­‐based	
  self-­‐reflective	
  process	
  to	
  examine	
  their	
  identities	
  and	
  experiences	
  as	
  educators	
  (2.)	
  a	
  commitment	
  to	
  inquiry	
   Participants	
  must	
  examine	
  their	
  identities	
  as	
  educators	
  through	
  art-­‐making	
  and	
  reflection	
  (3.)	
  a	
  commitment	
  to	
  negotiating	
  personal	
  engagement	
  within	
  a	
  community	
  of	
  belonging	
   Participants	
  must	
  determine	
  their	
  own	
  paths	
  to	
  designing	
  their	
  Teaching	
  Coats;	
  they	
  discuss	
  their	
  experiences	
  in	
  The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project;	
  their	
  discussion	
  participates	
  in	
  and	
  contributes	
  to	
  establishing	
  a	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project	
  community.	
  	
  (4.)	
  a	
  commitment	
  to	
  creating	
  practices	
  that	
  trouble	
  and	
  address	
  differences	
   Participants	
  must	
  make	
  decisions	
  about	
  what	
  to	
  express	
  of	
  the	
  complex	
  challenging	
  aspects	
  of	
  their	
  identity	
  (beliefs,	
  experiences,	
  motivations,	
  etc.);	
  they	
  may	
  discuss	
  tensions	
  in	
  these	
  decisions	
  with	
  others;	
  in	
  some	
  cases,	
  participants	
  wear	
  their	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  in	
  their	
  places	
  of	
  work	
  to	
  elicit	
  responses.	
   Table	
  1:	
  The	
  Commitments	
  of	
  an	
  A/r/tographic	
  Community;	
  A/r/tographic	
  Elements	
  of	
  The	
  Teaching	
  	
  	
  	
  	
   Coats	
  Project	
    Narrative	
  Inquiry	
   Stories	
  are	
  how	
  we	
  think.	
  	
  They	
  are	
  how	
  we	
  make	
  meaning	
  of	
  life.	
  	
  Call	
  them	
   schemas,	
  scripts,	
  cognitive	
  maps,	
  mental	
  models,	
  metaphors,	
  or	
  narratives.	
  	
   Stories	
  are	
  how	
  we	
  justify	
  our	
  decisions,	
  how	
  we	
  persuade	
  others,	
  how	
  we	
    36  understand	
  our	
  place	
  in	
  the	
  world,	
  create	
  our	
  identities,	
  and	
  define	
  and	
  teach	
   social	
  values.	
   	
   	
   	
   	
   	
   -­‐Patricia	
  Rutledge	
  Stories	
  are	
  everywhere,	
  told	
  in	
  all	
  the	
  ways	
  humans	
  communicate.	
  	
  The	
  vehicles	
  people	
  have	
  used	
  to	
  convey	
  stories	
  have	
  been	
  historically	
  diverse,	
  from	
  the	
  ancient	
  cave	
  drawings	
  to	
  modern	
  personal	
  blogs	
  and	
  many	
  ways	
  in	
  between.	
  	
  For	
  example,	
  stories	
  are	
  expressed	
  through	
  modes	
  of	
  representation	
  including	
  written,	
  oral,	
  image-­‐based,	
  dance,	
  and	
  musical.	
  	
  Webster	
  and	
  Mertova	
  (2007)	
  make	
  the	
  case	
  for	
  the	
  importance	
  of	
  narratives	
  as	
  integral	
  to	
  the	
  human	
  experience:	
  People	
  make	
  sense	
  of	
  their	
  lives	
  according	
  to	
  the	
  narratives	
  available	
  to	
  them…We	
  all	
  have	
  a	
  basic	
  need	
  for	
  story,	
  for	
  organizing	
  our	
  experiences	
  in	
  to	
  tales	
  of	
  important	
  happenings…Narrative	
  should	
  not	
  be	
  looked	
  upon	
  as	
  separate	
  from	
  real	
  life,	
  but	
  as	
  forming	
  meaningful	
  connections	
  to	
  that	
  life.	
  	
  (p.	
  2).	
  Narrative	
  inquiry	
  is	
  a	
  research	
  methodology	
  that	
  deals	
  in	
  the	
  making	
  and	
  analyzing	
  of	
  stories.	
  	
  Susan	
  E.	
  Chase	
  describes	
  this	
  methodology	
  as	
  both	
  flourishing	
  and	
  “a	
  field	
  in	
  the	
  making”	
  (2005,	
  p.	
  651).	
  	
  She	
  presents	
  narrative	
  inquiry	
  as	
  a	
  subtype	
  of	
  qualitative	
  inquiry	
  that	
  is	
  “characterized	
  as	
  an	
  amalgam	
  of	
  interdisciplinary	
  analytic	
  lenses,	
  diverse	
  disciplinary	
  approaches,	
  and	
  both	
  traditional	
  and	
  innovative	
  methods—all	
  revolving	
  around	
  an	
  interest	
  in	
  biographical	
  particulars	
  as	
  narrated	
  by	
  the	
  one	
  who	
  lives	
  them”	
  (p.	
  651).	
  	
  To	
  paraphrase	
  Natasha	
  Wiebe	
  (2009)	
  who	
  references	
  Creswell	
  (2008)	
  in	
  describing	
  the	
  key	
  characteristics	
  of	
  narrative	
  inquiry,	
  these	
  typically	
  include:	
  (1.)	
    37  flexibility	
  in	
  the	
  development	
  of	
  the	
  research;	
  (2.)	
  emphasis	
  on	
  the	
  experiences	
  of	
  an	
  individual	
  over	
  that	
  of	
  group;	
  (3.)	
  life	
  experiences	
  described	
  through	
  story	
  structure;	
  (4.)	
  coding	
  of	
  field	
  texts	
  (such	
  as	
  interview	
  transcripts)	
  for	
  themes;	
  (5.)	
  restorying	
  data	
  around	
  specific	
  themes,	
  settings,	
  or	
  chronology;	
  (6.)	
  collaboration	
  between	
  the	
  researcher	
  and	
  others;	
  (7.)	
  the	
  researcher	
  learning	
  from	
  research	
  participants;	
  and	
  (8.)	
  writing	
  that	
  exhibits	
  a	
  literary	
  nature	
  in	
  that	
  it	
  may,	
  for	
  example,	
  be	
  engaging,	
  persuasive,	
  and	
  or	
  make	
  use	
  of	
  literary	
  conventions.	
  I	
  like	
  Jerome	
  Bruner’s	
  (1990)	
  explanation	
  of	
  narrative	
  analysis	
  as	
  “how	
  protagonists	
  interpret	
  things”	
  (p.	
  51).	
  	
  This	
  reminds	
  me	
  of	
  how	
  in	
  my	
  own	
  narrative	
  research	
  I	
  am	
  both	
  protagonist	
  and	
  author,	
  simultaneously	
  living	
  in,	
  constructing,	
  and	
  sharing	
  my	
  world.	
  	
  I	
  believe	
  researchers	
  may	
  draw	
  important	
  conclusions	
  through	
  narrative	
  as	
  they	
  live-­‐write-­‐read	
  and	
  then	
  relive-­‐rewrite-­‐reread—continually	
  zooming	
  in	
  and	
  out,	
  growing	
  in	
  and	
  enriching	
  their	
  perspectives.	
  	
  	
   Bringing	
  It	
  All	
  Together:	
  Arts-­‐Based	
  Narrative	
  Inquiry	
   “A	
  writer	
  should	
  write	
  with	
  his	
  eyes	
  and	
  a	
  painter	
  paint	
  with	
  his	
  ears.”	
  -­‐Gertrude	
  Stein	
  As	
  a	
  methodology,	
  narrative	
  inquiry	
  is	
  a	
  genre	
  encompassed	
  by	
  arts-­‐based	
  research	
  (Leavy,	
  p.	
  ix,	
  3).	
  	
  Conversely,	
  arts-­‐based	
  research	
  is	
  presented	
  as	
  a	
  type	
  of	
  narrative	
  inquiry	
  (Mello,	
  2007,	
  p.	
  214).	
  	
  In	
  reflecting	
  on	
  how	
  the	
  narratives	
  of	
  this	
  research	
  grow	
  from	
  both	
  the	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  and	
  the	
  discussion	
  of	
  these	
  artworks,	
  I	
  chose	
  to	
  identify	
  this	
  research	
  as	
  an	
  arts-­‐based	
  narrative	
  inquiry	
  to	
  acknowledge	
  what	
  I	
  believe	
  are	
  the	
  vital	
  contributions	
  of	
  both	
  the	
  visual	
  arts	
  and	
  narrative	
  arts.	
  	
  Mello	
  (2007)	
  defines	
  arts–based	
  narrative	
  as	
  follows:	
  	
  	
  	
    38  When	
  art	
  is	
  applied	
  in	
  narrative	
  inquiry	
  as	
  a	
  part	
  of	
  the	
  method,	
  as	
  a	
  way	
  of	
  composing	
  and	
  gathering	
  field	
  texts,	
  it	
  is	
  considered	
  to	
  be	
  the	
  base	
  of	
  the	
  whole	
  research	
  process.	
  	
  In	
  this	
  case,	
  art	
  is	
  the	
  beginning	
  of	
  everything.	
  	
  That	
  is	
  why	
  I	
  call	
  it	
  arts-­‐based	
  narrative.	
  (p.	
  214)	
  A	
  picture	
  may	
  speak	
  a	
  thousand	
  words,	
  and	
  likewise	
  the	
  wordsmith	
  may	
  summarize	
  a	
  thousand	
  pictures	
  in	
  a	
  single	
  word.	
  	
  In	
  my	
  research	
  with	
  The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project,	
  I	
  found	
  both	
  narrative	
  and	
  arts-­‐derived	
  imagery	
  to	
  be	
  like	
  yin	
  and	
  yang	
  in	
  the	
  discovery	
  process;	
  I	
  found	
  the	
  study	
  participant	
  and	
  I	
  could	
  often	
  rely	
  on	
  one	
  form	
  of	
  expression	
  when	
  the	
  other	
  form	
  failed	
  to	
  express	
  what	
  we	
  intentioned.	
  Understanding	
  that	
  narrative	
  inquiry	
  “rests	
  on	
  the	
  assumption	
  that	
  we	
  as	
  human	
  beings	
  make	
  sense	
  of	
  random	
  experience	
  by	
  the	
  imposition	
  of	
  story	
  structures	
  on	
  them”	
  (Webster	
  &	
  Mertova,	
  2007,	
  p.	
  3),	
  I	
  was	
  further	
  inspired	
  by	
  Carl	
  Leggo’s	
  [2008]	
  invitation	
  to	
  see	
  the	
  opportunity	
  of	
  the	
  artist	
  and	
  writer	
  in	
  rendering	
  meanings:	
  The	
  mundane	
  events	
  of	
  our	
  lives	
  are	
  already	
  stories,	
  but	
  they	
  are	
  only	
  invested	
  with	
  significance	
  in	
  the	
  ways	
  they	
  are	
  told.	
  	
  Just	
  as	
  the	
  artist	
   represents	
  a	
  still	
  image	
  of	
  the	
  ocean	
  rolling	
  onto	
  a	
  beach,	
  the	
  writer	
  holds	
  a	
  moment,	
  or	
  part	
  of	
  a	
  moment,	
  in	
  order	
  to	
  draw	
  attention	
  to	
  it.	
  (para.	
  6)	
  I	
  found	
  it	
  especially	
  valuable	
  in	
  my	
  own	
  process	
  of	
  making	
  my	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  to	
  explore	
  applying	
  narrative	
  structure	
  to	
  my	
  Teaching	
  Coat’s	
  artwork	
  and	
  features	
   as	
  a	
  way	
  to	
  derive	
  more	
  powerful	
  meanings	
  from	
  them.	
  	
  I	
  often	
  found	
  that	
  even	
  the	
  most	
  abstract	
  elements	
  of	
  my	
  art	
  in	
  my	
  Teaching	
  Coat,	
  when	
  I	
  challenged	
  myself	
  to	
  impose	
  a	
  story	
  on	
  them,	
  revealed	
  deeper	
  meanings.	
  	
  This	
  was	
  a	
  strategy	
  I	
  carried	
    39  into	
  supporting	
  others	
  in	
  creating	
  their	
  own	
  Teaching	
  Coats.	
  	
  For	
  example,	
  I	
  asked	
  myself,	
  “What	
  could	
  be	
  the	
  story	
  behind	
  my	
  decision	
  to	
  layer	
  blue	
  and	
  green	
  tones	
  on	
  the	
  background	
  of	
  the	
  front	
  side	
  fabric?”	
  By	
  attempting	
  to	
  conjure	
  a	
  story	
  for	
  the	
  presence	
  of	
  the	
  colour,	
  I	
  transformed	
  what	
  I	
  thought	
  was	
  simply	
  a	
  matter	
  of	
  aesthetic	
  preference.	
  	
  Telling	
  a	
  story	
  revealed	
  connections	
  to	
  a	
  memory	
  of	
  a	
  time	
  I	
  swam	
  in	
  a	
  river	
  fighting	
  the	
  current	
  until	
  I	
  discovered	
  I	
  could	
  get	
  where	
  I	
  needed	
  if	
  I	
  learned	
  to	
  “go	
  with	
  the	
  flow”.	
  	
  In	
  storytelling	
  mode,	
  I	
  was	
  able	
  to	
  then	
  push	
  a	
  step	
  further	
  to	
  connect	
  the	
  story	
  to	
  illustrate	
  an	
  inspiring	
  Zen	
  principle.	
  	
  Through	
  the	
  act	
  of	
  creating	
  narrative,	
  a	
  seemingly	
  random	
  feature	
  of	
  my	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  emerged	
  with	
  a	
  special	
  meaning.	
  In	
  many	
  instances	
  of	
  this	
  research	
  study,	
  for	
  myself	
  and	
  the	
  study	
  participants,	
  this	
  kind	
  of	
  Rorschach	
  Test	
  approach	
  to	
  analyzing	
  the	
  art	
  and	
  stories	
  of	
  our	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  was	
  an	
  enjoyable	
  creative	
  challenge	
  but	
  also	
  fruitful	
  in	
  a	
  personal	
  sense.	
  	
  In	
  the	
  research	
  I	
  found	
  the	
  provocation	
  to	
  “Tell	
  the	
  story	
  of	
  feature	
   x”	
  elicited	
  the	
  richest	
  explanations	
  of	
  meaning.	
  	
  Through	
  arts-­‐based	
  narrative	
  inquiry	
  with	
  my	
  own	
  Teaching	
  Coat,	
  I	
  experienced	
  how	
  personal	
  artwork	
  and	
  stories	
  together	
  can	
  express	
  the	
  fabric	
  of	
  our	
  identities;	
  I	
  saw	
  how	
  even	
  seemingly	
  irrelevant	
  details	
  in	
  the	
  fabric	
  of	
  identities	
  may	
  actually	
  reveal	
  our	
  powerful	
  truths.	
   The	
  Participants,	
  The	
  Procedures	
  	
  	
   The	
  participants	
  in	
  this	
  study	
  included	
  myself	
  and	
  three	
  other	
  teachers	
  currently	
  working	
  in	
  the	
  British	
  Columbia	
  public	
  school	
  system.	
  	
  Our	
  teaching	
  experience	
  backgrounds	
  included	
  placements	
  in	
  a	
  broad	
  range	
  of	
  subject	
  areas	
  (math,	
  science,	
  arts,	
  history,	
  physical	
  education,	
  arts,	
  etc.)	
  and	
  grade	
  levels	
  from	
    40  kindergarten	
  through	
  grade	
  twelve.	
  	
  	
   As	
  a	
  participant	
  in	
  this	
  research,	
  I	
  engaged	
  in	
  self-­‐interviewing	
  as	
  an	
  ongoing	
  process	
  through	
  journaling,	
  which	
  formed	
  the	
  basis	
  for	
  the	
  autoethnographical	
  portions	
  of	
  this	
  research.	
  	
  	
   I	
  selected	
  the	
  other	
  three	
  participants	
  using	
  a	
  snowball	
  sampling	
  method	
  that	
  began	
  with	
  sending	
  a	
  generic	
  email	
  invitation	
  to	
  participate	
  in	
  the	
  study	
  through	
  an	
  education	
  department	
  university	
  list-­‐serve.	
  	
  Participants	
  were	
  then	
  identified	
  on	
  a	
  “first-­‐come	
  first	
  serve”	
  basis.	
  	
  As	
  it	
  turned	
  out,	
  I	
  had	
  a	
  pre-­‐established	
  working	
  relationship	
  with	
  each	
  of	
  the	
  study’s	
  participants.	
  	
   I	
  interviewed	
  the	
  three	
  participants	
  in	
  two	
  private	
  one-­‐on-­‐one	
  interview	
  sessions,	
  either	
  in	
  person	
  or	
  by	
  phone,	
  with	
  each	
  session	
  typically	
  taking	
  place	
  between	
  one	
  hour	
  and	
  ninety-­‐minutes.	
  	
  When	
  introducing	
  participants	
  to	
  the	
  study	
  in	
  the	
  first	
  session,	
  I	
  described	
  my	
  role	
  of	
  researcher	
  as	
  similar	
  to	
  that	
  of	
  a	
  facilitator.	
  	
  I	
  shared	
  my	
  own	
  story	
  of	
  how	
  I	
  came	
  to	
  the	
  inspiration	
  for	
  The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project,	
  then	
  provided	
  examples	
  in	
  the	
  form	
  of	
  descriptions,	
  photographs,	
  and	
  pencil	
  sketches.	
  	
  With	
  each	
  participant,	
  I	
  adjusted	
  how	
  much	
  time	
  was	
  used	
  to	
  describe	
  the	
  project	
  based	
  on	
  his	
  or	
  her	
  request	
  for	
  more	
  examples	
  or	
  creative	
  thinking	
  prompts.	
  	
  I	
  used	
  an	
  open-­‐ended	
  interviewing	
  style,	
  explaining	
  to	
  the	
  participants	
  that	
  my	
  goal	
  as	
  a	
  researcher-­‐facilitator	
  was	
  to	
  employ	
  an	
  "empathetic	
  interviewing"	
  practice;	
  Fontana	
  and	
  Frey	
  (2005)	
  describe	
  empathetic	
  interviewing	
  as	
  involving	
  "tak[ing]	
  an	
  ethical	
  stance	
  in	
  favour	
  of	
  the	
  group	
  or	
  individual	
  being	
  studied	
  and	
  wherein	
  the	
  interviewer	
  becomes	
  an	
  advocate	
  and	
  partner	
  in	
  the	
  study”	
  (p.	
  696).	
  	
  	
    41  Endeavoring	
  towards	
  reflexivity,	
  I	
  acknowledged	
  to	
  prospective	
  participants	
  that	
  driving	
  this	
  research	
  were	
  my	
  beliefs	
  that	
  (a.)	
  teachers'	
  work	
  is	
  profoundly	
  important	
  to	
  both	
  students	
  and	
  the	
  teachers	
  themselves;	
  (b.)	
  deeper	
  self-­‐knowledge	
  enhances	
  a	
  teacher’s	
  professional	
  practice;	
  and	
  (c.)	
  being	
  a	
  teaching	
  professional	
  is	
  an	
  ever-­‐evolving	
  personal	
  journey	
  that	
  often	
  demands	
  sharing	
  aspects	
  of	
  one’s	
  personal	
  self,	
  a	
  task	
  requiring	
  cultivation	
  of	
  both	
  courage	
  and	
  exquisite	
  professional	
  judgment.	
  	
  	
  	
  I	
  encouraged	
  participants	
  to	
  feel	
  free	
  to	
  express	
  themselves	
  in	
  any	
  way	
  they	
  like,	
  to	
  trust	
  that	
  I	
  embraced	
  anything	
  they	
  chose	
  to	
  share,	
  and	
  that	
  they	
  had	
  the	
  right	
  to	
  change	
  or	
  retract	
  any	
  comments	
  or	
  artworks	
  made	
  in	
  the	
  process	
  of	
  the	
  research	
  before	
  publication.	
  	
  During	
  the	
  interviews,	
  participants	
  shared	
  their	
  responses	
  to	
  questions,	
  memories,	
  philosophies,	
  and	
  insights	
  derived	
  from	
  the	
  “critical	
  events”	
  (Webster	
  &	
  Mertova,	
  2007,	
  pp.	
  71-­‐88)	
  they	
  believed	
  shaped	
  their	
  teaching	
  identities.	
  	
  Then,	
  participants	
  were	
  invited	
  and	
  given	
  opportunity	
  to	
  reveal	
  these	
  responses	
  and	
  any	
  related	
  discoveries	
  through	
  creative	
  narratives	
  and/or	
  the	
  creation	
  of	
  a	
  symbolic	
  Teaching	
  Coat.	
  	
  	
  During	
  the	
  first	
  interviews,	
  participants	
  were	
  provided	
  with	
  a	
  selection	
  of	
  materials	
  they	
  might	
  choose	
  to	
  use	
  to	
  initiate	
  creating	
  their	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  at	
  home	
  after	
  the	
  close	
  of	
  the	
  session.	
  	
  Between	
  the	
  first	
  interview	
  sessions	
  and	
  the	
  second	
  sessions	
  established	
  for	
  discussion	
  of	
  finished	
  Teaching	
  Coats,	
  two	
  of	
  the	
  participants	
  initiated	
  several	
  phone	
  conversations	
  about	
  their	
  developing	
  Teaching	
  Coats,	
  while	
  the	
  other	
  participant	
  chose	
  to	
  work	
  independently.	
    42  Aspects	
  of	
  the	
  data	
  creation,	
  collection	
  and	
  reporting	
  in	
  this	
  research	
  reflect	
  a	
  narrative	
  inquiry	
  framework	
  influenced	
  by	
  the	
  work	
  of	
  Clandinin	
  (2007)	
  along	
  with	
  Bathmaker	
  and	
  Harnett	
  (2010),	
  Denzin	
  and	
  Lincoln	
  (2005),	
  Hoogland	
  and	
  Wiebe	
  (2011),	
  Lyons	
  and	
  LaBoskey	
  (2002),	
  and	
  Webster	
  and	
  Mertova	
  (2007).	
  	
  The	
  data	
  collected	
  through	
  interviews	
  included	
  combinations	
  of	
  interview	
  notes,	
  audio	
  recordings,	
  video	
  recordings,	
  photographs	
  and	
  artworks.	
  	
  Such	
  data,	
  capable	
  of	
  telling	
  a	
  story,	
  I	
  considered	
  as	
  “field	
  texts”	
  (Creswell,	
  2007,	
  p.	
  55).	
  	
  I	
  regarded	
  each	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  created	
  as	
  itself	
  the	
  key	
  data	
  representing	
  a	
  teacher’s	
  creative	
  synthesis	
  of	
  his	
  or	
  her	
  personal	
  stories.	
  	
  My	
  primary	
  focus	
  in	
  analyzing	
  the	
  data	
  collected	
  was	
  on	
  the	
  aspects	
  of	
  their	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  that	
  the	
  participating	
  teachers	
  chose	
  to	
  highlight.	
  	
  In	
  analyzing	
  and	
  interpreting	
  the	
  various	
  data	
  created	
  in	
  this	
  project,	
  I	
  diverged	
  from	
  traditional	
  narrative	
  analysis	
  in	
  that	
  I	
  did	
  not	
  set	
  out	
  to	
  attend	
  to	
  chronological	
  information	
  and	
  plot	
  unless	
  I	
  perceived	
  these	
  elements	
  emerged	
  naturally.	
  	
  In	
  the	
  process	
  of	
  “restorying”	
  the	
  data	
  (Creswell,	
  2008,	
  p.	
  516),	
  I	
  collaborated	
  with	
  each	
  participant	
  to	
  discuss	
  the	
  themes	
  that	
  emerged.	
  	
  Together	
  we	
  decided	
  how	
  best	
  to	
  give	
  a	
  space	
  and	
  voice	
  to	
  his	
  or	
  her	
  own	
  unique	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  story,	
  emphasizing	
  the	
  manner	
  the	
  participant	
  preferred.	
  	
  I	
  discussed	
  the	
  possibility	
  with	
  participants	
  that	
  they	
  could	
  tell	
  their	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  story	
  in	
  the	
  body	
  of	
  this	
  research	
  paper	
  through	
  writing	
  a	
  story,	
  poem,	
  or	
  travel	
  brochure,	
  or	
  as	
  a	
  less	
  structured	
  or	
  informal	
  restorying	
  of	
  their	
  interview	
  transcripts.	
  	
  As	
  well,	
  I	
  informed	
  participants	
  that	
  they	
  could	
  choose	
  to	
  have	
  their	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  story	
  be	
  told	
    43  through	
  photographs	
  alone.	
  	
  I	
  emphasized,	
  “There	
  is	
  no	
  right	
  or	
  wrong	
  way	
  to	
  tell	
  your	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  story,	
  there	
  is	
  only	
  your	
  way.”	
  	
  	
  In	
  a	
  desire	
  to	
  present	
  the	
  study	
  participants’	
  reflections	
  in	
  an	
  authentic	
  form,	
  I	
  often	
  represented	
  their	
  words	
  directly	
  and	
  without	
  editing.	
  	
  I	
  wanted	
  to	
  preserve	
  the	
  integrity	
  of	
  the	
  participants’	
  expressions	
  and	
  original	
  intents.	
  	
  This	
  decision	
  to	
  include	
  “raw”	
  responses,	
  I	
  made	
  later	
  in	
  the	
  research	
  process	
  when	
  I	
  discovered	
  I	
  felt	
  I	
  did	
  not	
  have	
  the	
  right	
  to	
  tinker	
  with	
  or	
  alter	
  what	
  each	
  participant	
  shared	
  as	
  a	
  result	
  of	
  their	
  own	
  reflective	
  process.	
  	
  I	
  was	
  inspired	
  by	
  the	
  words	
  of	
  Carl	
  Leggo,	
  my	
  research	
  supervisor,	
  who	
  wrote,	
  …when	
  we	
  write	
  the	
  narratives	
  of	
  lived	
  and	
  living	
  experiences,	
  we	
  must	
  be	
  careful	
  that	
  we	
  do	
  not	
  misrepresent	
  the	
  complexity	
  of	
  the	
  experiences	
  by	
  writing	
  narratives	
  that	
  exclude	
  and	
  silence	
  difference	
  and	
  conflict	
  and	
  confusion	
  in	
  a	
  misdirected	
  zeal	
  to	
  produce	
  tidy	
  linear	
  narratives	
  with	
  appropriately	
  happy	
  endings.	
  	
  Instead	
  we	
  need	
  to	
  honour	
  the	
  multiplicity	
  and	
  meaning	
  making	
  and	
  mystery	
  that	
  are	
  at	
  the	
  heart	
  of	
  the	
  searching	
  in	
  our	
  research	
  (Leggo,	
  1997,	
  p.	
  3).	
  	
   Each	
  participant	
  accepted	
  the	
  opportunity	
  to	
  review	
  a	
  draft	
  of	
  their	
  contributions	
  to	
  this	
  research	
  study	
  and	
  submit	
  changes,	
  although	
  I	
  note	
  that	
  participants	
  requested	
  very	
  few	
  revisions.	
  	
  This	
  arts-­‐based	
  narrative	
  inquiry	
  is	
  expressed	
  through	
  my	
  autoethnographic	
  account	
  of	
  the	
  project,	
  incorporating	
  the	
  participants’	
  narratives,	
  linked	
  through	
  thematic	
  analysis,	
  and	
  presented	
  with	
  photos	
  of	
  our	
  Teaching	
  Coats.	
  	
  I	
  recognize	
  as	
  inevitable	
  that	
  the	
  limits	
  of	
  my	
  perspective	
  and	
  the	
  boundaries	
  set	
  on	
  this	
  research	
    44  project	
  leave	
  unseen	
  angles	
  and	
  loose	
  ends—I	
  hope	
  these	
  may	
  be	
  built	
  upon	
  in	
  the	
  future.	
  	
  	
   	
    45  Chapter	
  4:	
  Our	
  Teaching	
  Coats Phoebe’s  Story:   “Ms.  Combustible”                      	
   I.	
  Setting	
  the	
  Scene	
   I am a high school math, science, and special education teacher.  I’ve been teaching about eight years now.  It’s my second career: I used to be a customer service engineer for major corporations and I felt I wasn’t contributing to the betterment of the world.  I wanted to make a difference in the world so I decided to become a teacher.    II.	
  Phoebe’s	
  Approach	
    As soon as I heard about The Teaching Coats Project I got so excited.  I think this is a very creative project and I liked how it gave me the opportunity to reflect on where I Figure 4.1: Phoebe's Teaching Coat (front view)  46  started as a teacher, how far I’ve come as a teacher, and how far I need to go as a teacher. I knew I wanted to do a tie-dye coat because I think my personality is all about neon colours.  I looked online and researched companies selling lab coats and I ordered a style I liked.  While I was waiting for it to be delivered I went over to Michael’s Art Store and went crazy buying fabric dye, fabric, special buttons, ribbons and it was so exciting.  Then I was in the university bookstore and saw they had lab coats there for cheaper and since I was tired of waiting for my lab coat online, it was immediate and I picked up my lab coat right there and started working on it.    III.	
  Phoebe’s	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
                           Figure 4.2: Phoebe's Teaching Coat (back view)  47  	
   	
   	
   	
   	
   	
   	
   IV.	
  Phoebe’s	
  Meanings	
   I enjoyed putting my whole teaching career into perspective. It made me realize that everything I’ve done in the past is a part of what kind of teacher I am today. It also made me think about where I want to go as a teacher and what I want to accomplish in the future. It was a wonderful treat to just be able to think about what I am doing instead of mechanically going through the motions of teaching.  V.	
  Phoebe’s	
  Next	
  Chapters:	
    I will be wearing it to school after spring break.  I will wear it with pride…My kids know me, I plan on having them add to the Teaching Coat things they see about me that I haven’t even considered and I am looking forward to this…I love feedback from students and I’m really excited about having them participate in creating my coat because my identity is about how they see me.  Figure 4.3: Phoebe's Teaching Coat (detail)	
    48  Denyse’s  Story:   “My  Inspiration  Coat”                       	
   I.	
  Setting	
  the	
  Scene	
   I  am  a  49  year-­‐old  female  teacher  who  has  been  working  in  the  public  system  for  18  years.    I   have  worked  mainly  with  intermediate  grades  4  –  7  in  most  subject  areas.    I  have  worked  with   regular  K-­‐7  schools  as  well  as  a  Traditional  School,  a  Middle  School  and  a  Distributed  Learning   School.    I  have  a  bachelor’s  degree  as  well  as  a  TLITE  (technology  focus)  diploma  from  SFU.     I  hadn’t  wanted  to  be  a  teacher.  Teaching  was  not  my  original  goal.  Most  adults  in  my  family   seemed  to  end  up  in  teaching.    I  recognized  teaching  as  a  new  path  when  in  my  late  20’s,  after  having   my  own  children.      Seeing  an  elementary  school  as  a  parent  made  me  want  to  get  into  education           Figure 4.4: Denyse's Teaching Coat (front view)  49  because  I  realized  how  incredibly  important  it  is.  I  didn’t  want  a  “job,”  I  felt  that  I  needed  to  be   involved  in  work  that  developed  the  potential  in  children.  There  was  a  particular  “light  bulb   moment”  that  involved  a  Max  van  Manen  book.  The  quote  said,    “I  experience  my  children  as  living   hope.    Hope  has  activated  me.”  At  a  particularly  hard  time,  this  quote  gave  me  a  reason  to  carry  on.   Once  I  decided,  I  have  wanted  no  other  career.   While  lots  of  fun  and  very  rewarding,  teaching  is  often  hard  for  me,  a  painfully  shy  person.    I   am  more  comfortable  in  small  groups  and  do  not  enjoy  “leading”  or  being  on  “stage”.  I  found  it  hard   to  get  my  own  education.    First  I  dropped  out  in  Gr.  11.    Between  money  problems  and  trying  to  raise   kids,  getting  my  university  courses  completed  and  then  career  going,  was  hard.    Trying  to  do  it  as  a   single  parent  made  it  even  harder.    Often  my  priorities  were  juggled  and  not  well.    Other  hard  things   included  very  challenging  schools,  students  and  their  parents.    There  were  times  I  found  so   demanding  that  I  thought  it  might  be  impossible  to  endure.     My  teaching  coat  is  my  “Inspiration  Coat”.    My  coat  is  a  visual  of  the  things  that  have  kept   me  going  in  the  struggles.  It  contains  metaphors  for  goals  and  motivations  for  my  career.    In   particular,  my  teaching  coat  reflects  the  people  I  love  and  the  ideas  that  motivate  me  most.   	
   II.	
  Denyse’s	
  Approach	
   I  started  making  the  coat  in  October  2011  by  researching  and  collecting  the  inspirational   quotes  and  documents.    I  then  printed  them  and  posted  them  around  my  current  teaching  space.    I   left  these  up  for  many  months,  living  among  the  powerful  words,  almost  like  a  molecule  of  water  in  a   Dr.  Masaru  Emoto  experiment.    Some  of  these  ended  up  on  the  coat,  some  not.    Next  I  got  a  lab  coat   from  my  science  teacher  husband.    It  was  a  bit  stained.    I  thought  that  was  appropriate  in  a   humorous  way:  teaching  is  messy,  and  one  can’t  avoid  being  marked  up  in  the  process.    As  well,  it   was  great  to  get  it  from  him  as  so  much  of  my  later  career  has  become  entwined  with  his  career.       Finally  I  collected  artifacts  that  became  the  metaphors  for  my  life.    Even  the  color  was   changed  to  take  on  an  appropriate  meaning.  For  example,  I  dyed  the  coat  off-­‐white  beige  -­‐  which   seemed  appropriate  for  me,  kind  of  a  happily  beige  person.      50  III.	
  Denyse’s	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
                 	
   	
   	
   IV.	
  Denyse’s	
  Meanings	
   •The  birdcage  with  Inspire  is  like  my  title  page  for  the  coat.    It  both  articulates  the  Inspiration  theme   and  reminds  me  how  teaching  “freed”  me  in  so  many  ways.   •  All  the  people  in  the  pictures  are  family  with  carefully  selected  quotes  around  them.  These  are  all   the  people  who  have  either  got  me,  or  kept  me,  on  track.   •  My  teaching  philosophy  was  developed  with  lots  of  time  and  thought  about  6  years  ago.    I  take  it   very  seriously.         Figure 4.5: Denyse's Teaching Coat (detail)  51  •  The  rhinestone  broach  was  my  mother’s.    I  have  very  early  memories  of  it  as  the  most  beautiful   thing  I  could  imagine.       •  The  Dewey  quote  reminds  me  of  my  own  belief  that  most  learning  disabilities  are  teaching   disabilities  on  the  part  of  the  school.  This  means  it  is  vital  to  personalize  learning.     •  “This  I  believe”  statement  on  the  sleeve   is  a  middle  school  statement  created  by   the  Middle  School  Association.  A  year   ago,  I  took  it  on  as  my  own  and  have  a   signed  version.  It  particularly  relates  to   my  perspective  on  teaching  adolescents.       •  My  “happiness”  pocket  has  a  picture  of   my  husband  and  personal  items  that   mean  a  lot  to  us.  By  nature  a  more  up-­‐ beat  person  than  I  am,  I  rely  on  my   husband  to  keep  me  inspired  and   positive.   •  Various  pins  and  meanings  (SFU   alumni  pin-­‐my  post-­‐secondary   schooling  which  “opened  my  cage”;  a   CBC  logo  –  my  friend  for  years;  a   Canadian  flag  –  I  would  never  move   from  Canada).     •  Baby  footprints  on  the  back  reflect  that   my  grandson  is  now  leaving  his  mark  on   the  world.   •  The  heart  on  the  inside  reflects  my  own   introspective  and  private  nature.   Figure 4.6: Denyse's Teaching Coat (side view)  52  •  The  backwards  apples  on  each  sleeve  contain  the  mirror  image  of  my  teaching  philosophy.    The   unexpected  symbolism  and  benefit  of  the  accidental  error  of  printing  the  image  backwards  is  that  I   can  see  my  own  philosophy  best  when  I  find  myself  reflecting.       •  Various  quotes  about  leadership  remind  me  about  my  current  role  in  my  school  and  considering   my  age  and  stage  of  career,  they  inspire  me  to  keep  getting  better  and  better  at  that  aspect.      V.	
  Denyse’s	
  Next	
  Chapters:	
    Teaching  is  a  battle  between  time  and  energy.    Teaching  is  about  developing  the  “hope”  in   children.  Teaching  is  a  gift  I  gave  to  myself.  Teaching  is  nevertheless  a  constant  struggle.       Like  beacons,  various  sources  of  inspiration  keep  me  going.    The  images  and  ideas  of  so   many  are  on  my  coat  and  in  my  heart.  I  do  love  teaching.  I  feel  it  is  what  I  want  to  do.  I  also  know   how  important  it  is,  and  why  I  should  endure  the  down  times  and  hardship.  I  also  know  that  it  has   been  worth  it.       I  feel  good  about  making  the  coat.    But  yes,  I  do  feel  that,  as  my  career  has  been  at  times,  it  is   a  bit  messy.    And  I  wish  I  had  more  skills  to  enhance  it.       At  this  time,  I  am  not  sure  whom  I  will  share  it  with.    The  artifacts  selected  are  incredibly   powerful  to  me,  but  also  very  personal.    While  not  “secret”,  I  wonder  if  I  would  have  the  ability  to   share  their  full  import.    My  career  has  not  been  easy  and  sharing  why  the  various  inspirations  kept   me  going  would  not  be  easy  either.    And  over  time  I  have  become  more  and  more  private.    This  means   wearing  it  with  students  may  never  be  possible.     53  Fred’s  Story:   “Education:  My  Life,  My  Journey”   	
   	
   	
   	
   	
   	
     	
   	
   I.	
  Setting	
  the	
  Scene	
   1981   B.Sc. Microbiology, UBC 1982   Teaching Category 5: PDP UBC 1982-2001  Taught Science 8, 9, and 10; Math 8 1998   Masters of Education, University of Portland. 2002-present  Teaching Science 9 and 10, Earth Science 11.  Sitting at the dining room table, Fred’s eyes and hands are occupied with marking Science 9 Ecology exams, although his posture is angled towards the conversation happening between his wife and me on the couch a few feet away. His hand moves in rapid-fire motion across the papers. Figure 4.7: Fred's Teaching Coat (front view)	
    54  He interjects comments into our conversation about teaching while working on his marking in a seamless way.  He reminds me of a pilot in the cockpit, driving a jumbo jet while chatting with the flight attendant—skillfully navigating both worlds.  Fred’s octopus-like multitasking talent is both natural and developed after years of wrangling energetic young science students around caustic chemicals experiments. “You’ve got to be flexible, you’ve got to find time whenever it’s there…” he says of his teaching practice, adding with a smile, “hey, it’s fun!” It’s immediately apparent why Fred is beloved by his students. Students come back year after year, and rave about his classroom experiments, of which there are dozens of videos on YouTube, recorded and posted by his students. “Mr. Fred is awesome!” are the kind of comments reported online at a website called ratemyteacher.com When the matter of making a Teaching Coat comes up, Fred explains, “I’ve already got a teaching coat—had it for years. A colleague made it for me, it’s got all these flames on the pocket and big clown buttons.” Fred and his wife take turns explaining how the decorated lab coat became a staple item in his chemistry classroom, a kind of mascot that had been ever- present to the point of being just regular furniture of the classroom.  He would wear it occasionally and lend it to colleagues as well.  One time the coat was on loan to a colleague’s teenage daughter who wanted to wear it to a Halloween party. “It’s pretty dirty—been hanging around the class for years, got lots of wear.” He and his wife laugh, immediately realizing how this description of the coat also speaks to Fred’s many years in the teaching profession.  He is a seasoned teaching veteran known for his mad-scientist style experiments involving blowing up teddy bears with chemicals in an effort to teach and capture the attention of too-cool-for- school ninth graders.  Without explosions, and without Mr. Fred, many of these students would disengage from school. The conversation has ramped up now as Fred and his wife speak excitedly about parallels between the coat and Fred as a teacher. The coat, they decide, IS Fred. The coat, which has been passed around to colleagues and shared with students, mirrors Fred’s generosity also apparent in the way he shares his expertly designed lessons with colleagues, the way he has mentored over seven student teachers, and in his caring and trust with his students.  II.	
  Fred’s	
  Approach	
   “I officially started working on my Teaching Coat in February of 2012.  My starting point was a lab coat decorated for me by a colleague in the mid-1990’s—it has a flame coming out of the pocket.  After discussion with my wife, I decided that the coat would represent my educational journey, including activities and events that occurred throughout my career.  Ideas flowed quickly: my personal education,  55  teaching areas, union life, pro-d and mission statement. I finished the coat in the first week of March 2012.”  III.	
  Fred’s	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
   	
  	
   	
   	
   	
   	
   	
   	
   	
     	
   Figure 4.8: Fred's Teaching Coat (front view)	
    56  IV.	
  Fred’s	
  Meanings	
   1. A list of my schools and universities, showing my educational journey. 2. The Periodic Table: the most interesting topic in Science 9 and 10. Chemistry is the teaching area of my greatest enjoyment. 3. The Element: The name of my fictitious element I came up with derived from my last name. 4. Picture of my wife in an apple frame because she is the “apple of my eye”. Being married to a teacher is “Pro-D/24-7.”  It facilitates constant discussion around educational ideas and strategies. 5. Example Flowing Wells: teacher mentorship also seen in the FW pin 6. My Teaching Mission Statement outlines my thoughts about my job as a teacher with respect to my students. (Refer to the mission statement.) This guides what I “do”. 7. BCTF and ADTA union pins; “Proud to be teacher and member of the union.” I have had many roles: vice – president, staff rep, member at large.  I also met my wife at a union meeting. 8. OBE (on the sleeve) means Outcomes Based Education. This was my Master’s of Education presentation. Teach and Test the outcomes. Students may redo activities and exams in order to show understanding; however they must perform correctives. The philosophy is based on: It’s not when you learn, it is whether you learn. 9. School logo: My entire career will involve the schools in which I work.   1982 to retirement.   At one, the mascot was the Husky, and at the other, a Panther. 10. The Flame out of the pocket, represents the idea that I am lighting a fire, sparking students’ ideas and thinking.  Quote: Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. As well, as a chemistry teacher, I have been known to ”blow things up.” 11. The Earth (on my sleeve). This represents my newest teaching assignment: Earth Science 11—a whole new world of learning for a chemist. 12. Salmon Enhancement pin. I spent the 80’s and 90’s working on the Salmon Enhancement Community Program. It is a cause that I felt and still feel very strongly about. 13. Canadian Pin:  Proud to be a Canadian. 14. A Variety of Colorful Big Buttons.  A teacher is part entertainer. It keeps the students’ attention. 15. Having a variety of “things” and “text” on the coat, emphasize that education is diverse. 16. “MY MISSION IS TO EMPOWER MY STUDENTS TO REACH THEIR FULL POTENTIAL AND HELP THEM BELIEVE THEY HAVE THE ABILITY TO BE SUCCESSFUL, INDEPENDENT AND RESPONSIBLE LEARNERS.   I WANT MY STUDENTS TO FEEL GOOD ABOUT THEMSELVES.   I WILL PROVIDE MY STUDENTS WITH A SAFE, FUN AND POSITIVE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT WHILE EMPLOYING  A VARIETY OF TEACHING STRATEGIES THAT ATTEMPT TO  57  MEET THE VARIOUS  NEEDS OF MY STUDENTS.  I WILL TREAT STUDENTS WITH RESPECT, EMPATHY, AND UNDERSTANDING.   I WILL ESTABLISH HIGH EXPECTATIONS IN ACADEMICS AND BEHAVIOR.  I WILL FOCUS ON THE POSITIVE ASPECTS OF MY WORK, NOT THE NEGATIVES, THUS REDUCING MY STRESS LEVEL AND ENHANCING MY EFFECTIVENESS.”    III.	
  Fred’s	
  Next	
  Chapters	
    “This project was more fun and easier than I thought it would be. I learned I am proud to be a teacher. I am also proud to have taught at [my school]. I enjoy teaching kids, and I like the material that I teach. It is paramount that a teacher enjoys the material and curriculum they teach. The process reminded me of all the educational things I have done as a teacher, in and out of the classroom. Being a teacher is more than the classroom—it is union involvement, Pro-D, community involvement. The coat reinforced the idea that I do not like change. 30 years in 2 schools, teaching mostly the same topics. ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’  I would definitely wear my coat at work because I am happy with its end outcome. As a teacher it outlines who I am, what I believe, what I did, and what I am currently doing.” Figure 4.9: Fred's Teaching Coat (back view)  58  My  Story:   “My  Teacher  Self  ”   	
   	
   	
   	
   	
   I.	
  Setting	
  the	
  Scene	
    After teaching for six years in public elementary schools, I was on maternity leave and getting ready to return to work and I needed inspiration.  I needed to reconnect with my “inner teacher” and have something that would get me excited to return to the classroom.  Creating my Teaching Coat began a transformative journey in which I continue to encounter the teacher I am—in every thread.  II.	
  My	
  Approach	
   At the start of this project, I went to a medical supplies store and purchased two blank white labs coats. The more expensive, fancy coat would be my “good copy”, while a second much cheaper coat would be my “draft Figure 4.10: My Teaching Coat (back view)    59  copy” (I pulled this one from the discount bin, finding it had a black mark on the sleeve).  The “expensive coat” still hangs in my closet untouched.  I guess it just intimidated me.  I never felt ready to approach it because I was too afraid I would “mess it up”. The discount coat, however, felt welcoming. It said, “Try me on!  Play! Take a chance!” and so I did. My first step was to boil a big pot of my favourite chai tea, which I often like to drink before the school day starts.  After enjoying some tea, I plunged my coat into the pot and marveled as the fabric took on a rich, fragrant tan–a great way to help that first cup of tea last! When I finally realized that this “draft copy” was becoming my “good copy”, I saw a parallel with how I create my Teaching Coat and how I create myself as a teacher in many ways.  This coat has grown from something I felt was simple, marked and discounted into something complex, beautiful and meaningful, like the teacher I want to be. (On the other hand, that fancy, expensive coat remains perfectly white, but unchanged and un-evolved, like the teacher I never want to be.) As well, when I first started teaching, I worked hard to make my lessons “perfect” (like a pristine white coat).  But over time I discovered that the real fun and meaningful learning would happen when I was able to go with the flow, feel free to experiment, capture the teachable moments, and be alert to new possibilities. And I am happy to report that the little dark spot on the arm of this discounted, “draft copy” coat has finally found it’s place as a punctuation mark!  It is finally at home now surrounded by the inspirational quotations I wrote around it–I got the idea to write these quotations here because of that little dark spot.  Isn’t it amazing how everything has its purpose? Another powerful reminder I got from this experience is that we are more likely to create and take chances when we feel we have the permission.  Stark white coats, expensive blank canvases, quiet-as-a-pin classrooms…all of these pristine things can feel intimidating for some people sometimes.  My Teaching Coat inspires me to think about how I can make learning opportunities for my students that are more inviting and where students feel safe to take creative risks. Figure 4.11: Dying my Teaching Coat with chai tea  60  III.	
  My	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
                      	
   Figure 4.12: My Teaching Coat (various views)  61  IV.	
  My	
  Meanings	
     On the right arm… On the right arm, to guide my “right” actions, are a careful selection of insightful quotations about teaching and leading. These include the following:  “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” -Benjamin Franklin  “The greatest sign of success for a teacher…is to be able to say, ‘The children are now working as if I did not exist.’” -Maria Montessori  On the left pocket… I wrote the quote that inspired the Teaching Coats Project, and at the base of the pocket, I placed silk sunflowers.  These flowers are symbolic of the sun, warmth, happiness, adoration and longevity–all things I hope to be part of my teaching career. As well, the sunflowers are a nod to the paintings of Vincent van Gogh, which I love and which have also been a source of creative inspiration. On several of the petals I wrote words of virtue such as honesty and wisdom.    On the right pocket… Attached is a mirror to remind me about the role of reflection in both teaching and learning.  As well, when gazed upon by students, the mirror reflects back to them an image of who they are; this is a process I believe I facilitate as a teacher. Figure 4.13: My Teaching Coat (right arm) Figure 4.14: My Teaching Coat (left pocket)  62  As a teacher, I am a mirror for my students, and I must be mindful of what and how I reflect for them. As a teacher, I am also a mirror of my students, and I must be mindful of what I take on from others as a part of myself.  On the collar… I wrote the word “authenticity” around the collar.  The collar wraps around my neck and below my voice box, which is a place where my intentions join with sound to become words; I want to remind this place to act from a place of authenticity.  What does it mean to be authentic with my students and colleagues?  What has this meant for me in the past? What does this mean for me today?  What will this mean for me in the future? My Teaching Coat is a meditation on these questions.  Lining the inside… An elaborate piece of crochet lace, handmade by my grandmother forms the part of my “Teaching Coat” that is closest to my skin.  Attached to it inside is a selection of personal photos of myself and family to remind me of where I come from. Photos of myself as a young child remind me of how it feels to be a student. Photos of my parents and grandparents remind me of my first teachers.  A photo of my son reminds me of the sacredness of each child and that each of us is somebody’s child. Intending this weaving for use as a tablecloth, my grandmother bestowed it upon me along with its story.  The story was of how she worked for hours weaving, stretching, and turning yards of web-like thread until it was complete and doing so with the help of my grandfather. To me, the lace and its story always seemed too sacred to bring out; therefore, like so many other sacred things, this beautiful artwork has spent its recent life locked away unused, unseen, and ”safe” on a shelf.  But I must be brave.  I must dare to let peek out into the light a glimpse of what I hold sacred. Figure 4.15: My Teaching Coat (collar) Figure 4.16: My Teaching Coat (lining)  63  And I must reflect on those web-like threads, which connect and embed me in something larger, more beautiful and durable than I imagine.  I did not come from nothing…I am wrapped in history.  These are lessons I want to share with my students.  On the front, right side… Autumn leaves symbolize a time for “back to school” and harvesting learning, and this collage on the right hand side of my “Teaching Coat” creates a special, nature space around me from which my “teacher within” can emerge naturally.  These leaves represent my love for nature, reminding me of my favourite network of trails through the densely wooded “Watershed Park” near my home.  This is a place where I often walk with my dog for relaxation and reflection.  I go to nature to feel recharged and hatch new teaching ideas.  The spaciousness and connectedness I feel in nature is something I want to carry with me throughout my day in the classroom.  On the front, left side… I sewed a patch with “The Starfish Story” by Loren Eisley in the location that is over my heart.  The story reads as follows… One day a man was walking along a beach when he notices a boy picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean.  Approaching the boy, he asked, “What are you doing?” The youth replied, “Throwing starfish back into the ocean.  The surf is up and the tide is going out.  If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die.” “Son,” the man said, “don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish?  You can’t make a difference!” After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it back into the surf.  Then, smiling at the man, he said… “I made a difference for that one.” This story is dear to me for some many reasons.  For one, as educators we sometimes feel overwhelmed by the immensity of the task ahead of us: there are so many lessons, so many students, and so little time.  This story reminds us to stay focused on what we can accomplish and to know that it does matter. Figure 4.17: My Teaching Coat (front, right side)  64  Secondly, the story reminds me of how at times I am like the man in the story and my students are like the young boy with so much wisdom.  As a teacher, I learn so much from the young people in my practice—I want to be alert and sensitive to what my students have to share. Thirdly, this story is a powerful counterpoint to the “drop in the bucket” fallacy that we can’t make a difference for others or for this planet as one single person.  We can.  And we do.  This story reminds me of that.  On the left arm… At the top is a star, which illustrates the “Starfish Story” on the front left side, but it is also accentuates the pinnacle of “Bloom’s Taxonomy” of learning objectives.  Put forward by Benjamin Bloom, this hierarchy encourages teachers to understand the task of teaching as more than just delivering facts.  Teachers must assist students in moving up through all of these stages, which include REMEMBERING, UNDERSTANDING, APPLYING, ANALYZING, EVALUATING, and CREATING.  The last three, analyzing, evaluating and creating are “higher order thinking” tasks.  These are the most demanding–and often the most rewarding ways of learning.  As well, to give options for the “CREATING” level, I have written in shadow tones in this area dozens of creative “products of learning” including the following: essay, collage, script, project cube, board game, mosaic, puzzle, crossword, drawing, interpretive dance, and many more.   On the back, left side… I list the steps I came up with for my students to help them more easily envision and create their own “Personal Interest Projects”.  Very often we have big ideas and goals, but they can seem overwhelming.  So it helps to remember the Chinese proverb that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step and that we can break big projects into smaller steps.  The following steps may occur in a linear fashion, these steps may happen concurrently or they may be revisited during a project.  At the start of this research process and throughout, it helped me to refer to this framework.    Figure 4.18: My Teaching Coat (left arm)  65  On the back, right side… I like to share with others the notion of “Multiple Intelligences”: Existential, Naturalist, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal, Musical/Rhythmic, Visual/Spatial, Logical/Mathematical, Bodily/Kinesthetic, Verbal/Linguistic.  This multi- modal theory of intelligence put forward by Howard Gardener has impacted the way I understand learning and how I design learning in my classroom.  I believe it is important for students to explore their own styles of learning and then for me as a teacher to provide learning experiences and assignments that will challenge these areas.  I want this list of intelligences close to me as a reminder, as an instructional point, as a symbol for what I believe.  I also believe there is more development to be done on this theory.  Just as Naturalist and Existential intelligences were added after Gardner’s initial presentation of this theory, I believe there should be a tenth intelligence based on what I have experienced with my students: Humouristic Intelligence!    In the left pocket… Here I keep a pair of eyeglasses coloured with a red marker to reflect my optimism.  On the lenses of these “rose-coloured glasses” is written: How to See the World.  As well in the pockets I keep a magnifying glass scored with a bold reminder to “EXAMINE”.  As a teacher and a learner myself, I don’t want to become complacent in my knowledge.  I don’t want to simply receive truths, I want to examine things for myself.  I hope I can model this analytical way of being for my students.   Socrates, one of my favourite philosophers, is credited with saying that the unexamined life is not worth living.  I envision using this special magnifying glass as a prop to accentuate that point in a fun, dramatic way.  Figure 4.19: My Teaching Coat (back, right side) Figure 4.20: My Teaching Coat (inside the left pocket)  66  Inside the pockets… At last, the idea that inspired this whole project: I placed a small glass bottle of dust in one pocket and “gold” (sparkles) in the other.  Sometimes when people are nervous, or self-conscious when speaking in public, they don’t seem to know what to do with their hands. They may fidget, wave them wildly, let them hang like logs on the sides of their bodies, or tap their fingers. Now, I will have a great place to rest my hands if I should ever need one.  The first time I wrapped my fingers around the bottles of gold and dust in my pockets, I was amazed at how well my talismans worked to help me feel connected and grounded.  And so much more… And there are some special details that are just for me, that cannot and should not be explained…details that are all just a part of the magic of my own special Teaching Coat.  IV.	
  My	
  Next	
  Chapters	
    In this process of making, reflecting on and discussing my Teaching Coat, I believe I came to see my teaching identity. In this process of thinking about myself as a teacher, I also thought about myself as a young student. Back then, school could be a place of both great comfort or great pain.  School was a place of powerful inspiration when I felt connected and demoralizing isolation when I felt my identity—my past, my background, my learning style, my ways of giving and expressing—were not understood, valid, respected, or equal. Who I am as a teacher now is partly inspired by thinking about the girl I used to be, and I am driven me to create the kind of classroom atmosphere where she and any child would feel accepted and nurtured.  I teach to right the wrongs of my past.  I teach to carry forward to others the gifts I have been given and cannot imagine living without. When I take stock of my life’s work, I ask, how would I feel as a child in my own class?  What would I want to see in a teacher?  What do I want to know of that teacher? Figure 4.21: My Teaching Coat (gold and dust)  67  As teachers, our focus is mostly outward on the students. So pausing to think about oneself can feel embarrassingly indulgent, yet I believe we must. The Teaching Coats Project grew out of a longing for clarity and integration in my identity.  On the path of this creative quest to create a wearable representation of who I am, what I need and believe as a professional, I stumbled upon answers to questions I had not ever even considered asking myself.                       The Teaching Coats Project was a project rich and open-ended enough that I felt I could live inside for a while.  I plan to continue building on it and sharing it for the rest of my life, for myself, and for others.  Just as I felt when I first entered the teaching profession, I felt with working with others in support of creating their own Teaching Coats is what I was meant to do. In a way, my Teaching Coat has taken on a life of its own.  I realized this after a funny story my husband confessed to me one morning.  I kept my Teaching Coat hanging on a mannequin bust in our house as way to work on it while seeing it “embodied” to an extent.  One night, my husband awoke and was so startled by the Teaching Coat’s eerily lifelike presence when he encountered it in the hallway, he confessed he nearly punched it out, thinking it was burglar! Figure 4.22: My Teaching Coat (back shoulders)  68  This story makes me laugh thinking of my husband wrestling a coat, but it also strikes a chord with me.  I feel it speaks to something I began to suspect towards the end of creating my Teaching Coat:  through this process I have breathed my life into my Teaching Coat to the point that I believe it has taken on a kind of ontological status of its own. Yet I don’t mean that in a sci-fi, artificial intelligence way.  Rather, I have imagined my Teaching Coat standing in for me in my absence—perhaps on display with my photograph like at a celebration of my life when I pass on.  When people look at my Teaching Coat, I want it to remind them of a teacher of integrity, who deeply cared for, believed in, and had fun learning with her students, who was creative and never stopped looking for answers. It has been powerful for me to look forward and then plan backwards the legacy I want to leave.  My Teaching Coat is a symbol of the person I am, but also the person I hope to become, and for whom I hope to be remembered.  It gives me comfort knowing that even when I am no longer around, perhaps my Teaching Coat will be—passed down to grandchildren who will make sense of its mysterious features in their own ways. But even once my Teaching Coat has frayed its last thread, I take comfort knowing that the meanings, the lessons and the memories it held and clarified for me, made me a better teacher in my time and the impact of this may live on forever in the minds and hearts of my students.        Figure 4.23: My Teaching Coat (front view)  69  Chapter	
  5:	
  The	
  Discussion	
  	
   	
   	
   thread	
  [thred]:	
  	
   	
   	
   noun:	
  	
  	
   1.	
  a	
  fine	
  cord	
  of	
  flax,	
  cotton,	
  or	
  other	
  fibrous	
  material	
  spun	
  out	
  to	
  considerable	
  length,	
  especially	
  when	
  composed	
  of	
  two	
  or	
  more	
  filaments	
  twisted	
  together.	
  	
  8.	
  that	
  which	
  runs	
  through	
  the	
  whole	
  course	
  of	
  something,	
  connecting	
  successive	
  parts:	
  I	
  lost	
  the	
  thread	
  of	
  the	
  story.	
  	
  9.	
  something	
  conceived	
  as	
  being	
  spun	
  or	
  continuously	
  drawn	
  out,	
  as	
  the	
  course	
  of	
  life	
  fabled	
  to	
  be	
  spun,	
  measured,	
  and	
  cut	
  by	
  the	
  Fates.	
  	
  11.	
  threads,	
  Slang.	
  clothes.	
   	
   	
   verb:	
   	
  12.	
  to	
  pass	
  the	
  end	
  of	
  a	
  thread	
  through	
  the	
  eye	
  of	
  (a	
  needle).	
  	
  13.	
  to	
  fix	
  (beads,	
  pearls,	
  etc.)	
  upon	
  a	
  thread	
  that	
  is	
  passed	
  through;	
  string.	
  	
  14.	
  to	
  pass	
  continuously	
  through	
  the	
  whole	
  course	
  of	
  (something);	
  pervade:	
  A	
  joyous	
  quality	
  threaded	
  the	
  whole	
  symphony.	
  	
  15.	
  to	
  make	
  one's	
  way	
  through	
  (a	
  narrow	
  passage,	
  forest,	
  crowd,	
  etc.).	
  	
   	
    70  Embedded	
  Threads	
   Teachers construct their teacher identities within context, in an ongoing creative process. 	
   When	
  I	
  first	
  began	
  making	
  my	
  Teaching	
  Coat,	
  I	
  worked	
  alone.	
  	
  	
  I	
  assumed	
  figuring	
  out	
  who	
  I	
  am	
  as	
  a	
  teacher	
  was	
  a	
  purely	
  introspective	
  task—something	
  I	
  might	
  accomplish	
  if	
  I	
  could	
  take	
  time	
  out	
  and	
  get	
  away	
  from	
  it	
  all.	
  	
  Later	
  I	
  reflected	
  on	
  this	
  choice	
  to	
  create	
  myself	
  by	
  myself,	
  and	
  it	
  brought	
  to	
  light	
  something	
  about	
  my	
  philosophical	
  orientation	
  that	
  was	
  worth	
  re-­‐evaluating.	
  	
  	
  Through	
  making	
  my	
  Teaching	
  Coat,	
  I	
  found	
  that	
  I	
  had	
  to	
  acknowledge	
  that	
  who	
  I	
  am	
  is	
  deeply	
  affected	
  by	
  the	
  world	
  around	
  me—and	
  that	
  I	
  could	
  view	
  this	
  as	
  an	
  empowering	
  rather	
  than	
  disempowering	
  fact.	
  In	
  earlier	
  academic	
  life	
  as	
  a	
  philosophy	
  undergraduate,	
  I	
  had	
  never	
  met	
  an	
  advocate	
  for	
  post-­‐modernism	
  who	
  could	
  rightly	
  explain	
  the	
  view	
  in	
  a	
  way	
  that	
  resonated	
  with	
  me	
  or	
  even	
  made	
  sense.	
  	
  Grouping	
  post-­‐modernist	
  philosophy	
  with	
  social	
  constructionism,	
  the	
  idea	
  of	
  the	
  self	
  as	
  a	
  “social	
  construct”	
  created	
  in	
  and	
  contingent	
  upon	
  social	
  relations	
  (Frazer,	
  2005,	
  p.	
  873),	
  I	
  dismissed	
  both	
  wholesale.	
  	
  I	
  think	
  I	
  rejected	
  these	
  ideas	
  most	
  forcefully	
  because	
  I	
  felt	
  they	
  were	
  injurious	
  to	
  my	
  individuality	
  and	
  hope	
  that	
  each	
  person	
  has	
  an	
  essential	
  essence,	
  or	
  persisting	
  soul.	
  	
  From	
  my	
  perspective	
  at	
  the	
  time	
  of	
  beginning	
  my	
  Teaching	
  Coat,	
  it	
  seemed	
  logical	
  to	
  search	
  for	
  my	
  teacher	
  identity,	
  the	
  essence	
  and	
  soul	
  of	
  my	
  inner	
  teacher,	
  all	
  by	
  myself.	
  	
  	
    71  	
   I	
  still	
  do	
  not	
  believe	
  that	
  all	
  of	
  who	
  I	
  am	
  is	
  socially	
  constructed,	
  but	
  I	
  have	
  to	
  admit	
  I	
  have	
  seen	
  first	
  hand	
  how	
  a	
  dimension	
  of	
  who	
  I	
  am—my	
  teacher	
  identity—is	
  continually	
  being	
  created	
  in	
  the	
  process	
  of	
  my	
  interpreting	
  and	
  responding	
  to	
  the	
  contexts	
  in	
  which	
  I	
  work.	
  	
  I	
  believe	
  that	
  flowing	
  from	
  my	
  core	
  identity	
  is	
  my	
  teacher	
  identity,	
  as	
  a	
  co-­‐constructed	
  projection.	
  	
  Consistent	
  with	
  social	
  constructionist	
  views,	
  I	
  saw	
  how	
  in	
  establishing	
  my	
  teacher	
  identity	
  there	
  were	
  “value-­‐free	
  foundations	
  or	
  sources	
  of	
  knowledge”	
  (Frazer,	
  2005,	
  p.	
  873),	
  and	
  that	
  everything	
  I	
  believed	
  as	
  teacher	
  was	
  vetted	
  through	
  my	
  perceptions	
  of	
  the	
  demands	
  of	
  the	
  profession	
  and	
  expectations	
  and	
  needs	
  of	
  the	
  people	
  with	
  whom	
  I	
  work.	
  	
  	
   But	
  of	
  course,	
  one	
  might	
  challenge,	
  you	
  are	
  a	
  professional	
  doing	
  a	
  job	
  so	
  you	
   have	
  to	
  think	
  this	
  way.	
  	
  Yet,	
  this	
  was	
  a	
  transformation	
  in	
  thinking	
  for	
  me	
  as	
  I	
  previously	
  assumed	
  I	
  exerted	
  sole	
  force	
  on	
  shaping	
  my	
  teacher	
  identity.	
  	
  Previously,	
  I	
  thought	
  I	
  had	
  greater	
  free	
  will	
  in	
  determining	
  my	
  teacher	
  identity.	
  	
  Previously	
  I	
  thought	
  any	
  socially	
  constructed	
  or	
  modified	
  aspects	
  of	
  my	
  teacher	
  identity	
  were	
  purely	
  my	
  choice.	
  	
  Now	
  I	
  saw	
  I	
  was	
  socially	
  embedded	
  as	
  in	
  escapable	
  fact,	
  just	
  as	
  Weber	
  and	
  Mitchell	
  (1995)	
  express:	
  “Our	
  stories	
  are	
  not	
  only	
  our	
  own	
  personal	
  accounts;	
  we	
  live	
  embedded	
  in	
  biographies	
  that	
  are	
  simultaneously	
  personal,	
  cultural,	
  institutional,	
  and	
  historical”	
  (p.	
  9).	
  Looking	
  back	
  at	
  how	
  I	
  created	
  my	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  I	
  realized	
  that	
  even	
  when	
  I	
  pulled	
  back	
  to	
  explore	
  my	
  teaching	
  identity	
  alone,	
  I	
  was	
  never	
  truly	
  alone	
  in	
  my	
   mind.	
  	
  I	
  inevitably	
  would	
  imagine	
  my	
  students	
  and	
  their	
  parents,	
  my	
  colleagues,	
  our	
  school	
  and	
  community	
  while	
  making	
  my	
  creative	
  choices.	
  	
  I	
  wondered,	
  how	
  might	
   people	
  respond	
  if	
  I	
  add	
  this	
  feature?	
  	
  How	
  will	
  others	
  perceive	
  the	
  placement	
  of	
  certain	
    72  objects?	
  	
  What	
  could	
  I	
  alter	
  to	
  make	
  this	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  better	
  fit	
  our	
  school?	
  	
  Thinking	
  constantly	
  of	
  the	
  social	
  implications	
  was	
  not	
  something	
  I	
  tried	
  consciously	
  to	
  do;	
  it	
  was	
  natural,	
  compulsive.	
  	
  	
  Imagining	
  the	
  presence	
  of	
  others	
  and	
  their	
  hypothetical	
  responses	
  directed	
  the	
  choices	
  that	
  shaped	
  my	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  and	
  rightly	
  so.	
  	
  After	
  all,	
  a	
  teacher	
  can	
  only	
  be	
  a	
  teacher	
  in	
  relationship	
  to	
  a	
  student.	
  	
  This	
  relational	
  element,	
  along	
  with	
  the	
  moral	
  demands	
  of	
  the	
  position	
  and	
  psychological	
  fact	
  that	
  teachers	
  are	
  social	
  beings,	
  all	
  dictate	
  teaching	
  professionals	
  must	
  not	
  and	
  cannot	
  behave	
  as	
  though	
  working	
  in	
  a	
  vacuum.	
  	
  As	
  study	
  participant	
  Phoebe	
  put	
  it,	
  “Teachers	
  need	
  to	
  operate	
  within	
  the	
  social	
  norms.	
  	
  If	
  something	
  is	
  not	
  within	
  the	
  social	
  norms,	
  then	
  [teachers]	
  really	
  can’t	
  do	
  it...teachers	
  are	
  held	
  to	
  a	
  higher	
  moral	
  standard	
  than	
  other	
  people.”	
  Perhaps	
  I	
  had	
  little	
  choice	
  but	
  to	
  create	
  my	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  and	
  teaching	
  identity	
  from	
  within	
  a	
  context	
  and	
  for	
  that	
  context.	
  	
  While	
  this	
  revelation	
  does	
  incite	
  a	
  degree	
  of	
  existential	
  claustrophobia,	
  it	
  does	
  not	
  disturb	
  me	
  to	
  the	
  same	
  degree	
  as	
  would	
  discovering	
  the	
  absence	
  of	
  free	
  will	
  in	
  my	
  core	
  identity	
  for	
  two	
  reasons:	
  (1.)	
  I	
  believe	
  it	
  was	
  my	
  free	
  will	
  that	
  led	
  me	
  to	
  enter	
  and	
  continue	
  to	
  work	
  in	
  the	
  teaching	
  profession;	
  and	
  (2.)	
  as	
  a	
  teacher,	
  I	
  don’t	
  want	
  to	
  be	
  like	
  a	
  tree	
  that	
  falls	
  alone	
  in	
  a	
  forest	
  unheard—so	
  I	
  have	
  to	
  see	
  and	
  admit	
  that	
  I	
  am	
  a	
  part	
  of	
  a	
  forest	
  and	
  that	
  I	
  have	
  roots.	
  	
  This	
  reflection,	
  I	
  found	
  offers	
  me	
  comfort,	
  a	
  feeling	
  of	
  belonging,	
  and	
  a	
  deeper	
  sense	
  of	
  power	
  and	
  responsibility.	
  	
  	
  In	
  the	
  process	
  of	
  making	
  my	
  Teaching	
  Coat,	
  I	
  paused	
  to	
  consider	
  how	
  the	
  expectations	
  on	
  me	
  as	
  a	
  teacher	
  control	
  and	
  limit	
  my	
  expression.	
  	
  But	
  I	
  was	
  able	
  to	
  imagine	
  my	
  Teaching	
  Coat,	
  my	
  teacher	
  identity,	
  as	
  like	
  a	
  patch	
  embedded	
  in	
  a	
    73  greater	
  quilt.	
  	
  It	
  is	
  still	
  my	
  patch,	
  and	
  so	
  I	
  have	
  some	
  freedom	
  to	
  be	
  creative,	
  so	
  long	
  as	
  I	
  am	
  respectful	
  of	
  the	
  context	
  in	
  which	
  I	
  am	
  embedded:	
  I	
  may	
  choose	
  my	
  own	
  colours	
  and	
  designs	
  and	
  decide	
  to	
  blend	
  in	
  or	
  contrast.	
  	
  There	
  are	
  boundaries	
  and	
  limits	
  around	
  my	
  teacher	
  identity	
  and	
  some	
  are	
  pre-­‐established,	
  but	
  others	
  I	
  establish	
  myself.	
  	
  	
  I	
  get	
  it	
  now:	
  my	
  Teaching	
  Coat,	
  like	
  my	
  teacher	
  identity,	
  is	
  embedded	
  in	
  a	
  greater	
  fabric.	
  	
  I	
  am	
  a	
  contextually	
  bound	
  professional;	
  I	
  create	
  my	
  teacher	
  identity	
  within	
  boundaries.	
  	
  To	
  describe	
  the	
  impact	
  of	
  this	
  realization	
  for	
  me,	
  I	
  would	
  call	
  it	
   transformative.	
   Pulling	
  Threads	
   To	
  foster	
  the	
  development	
  of	
  teacher	
  identity,	
  	
   we	
  must	
  support	
  teachers	
  in	
  creating	
   their	
  own	
  communities	
  of	
  inquiry.	
  Recognizing	
  my	
  teacher	
  identity	
  as	
  embedded,	
  I	
  gained	
  greater	
  perspective	
  on	
  it	
  especially	
  once	
  I	
  began	
  dialoguing	
  with	
  other	
  teachers	
  about	
  identity	
  through	
  The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project.	
  	
  In	
  retrospect,	
  discussing	
  with	
  other	
  teachers	
  about	
  how	
  our	
  teacher	
  identities	
  were	
  expressed	
  through	
  our	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  was	
  the	
  richest	
  part	
  of	
  the	
  whole	
  experience—these	
  were	
  the	
  moments	
  I	
  felt	
  most	
  alive.	
  	
  It	
  was	
  magical	
  being	
  aware	
  and	
  present	
  in	
  the	
  moments	
  of	
  co-­‐creating	
  myself	
  as	
  a	
  professional.	
  	
  The	
  quality	
  of	
  insights	
  and	
  feelings	
  generated	
  in	
  this	
  collaborative	
  process	
  were	
  powerful.	
  	
  Sharing	
  the	
  journey	
  of	
  perpetual	
  inquiry,	
  we	
  found	
  that	
  collaboration	
  enhanced	
  the	
  metacognitive,	
  meaning-­‐making,	
  creative	
  and	
  emotional	
    74  aspects	
  of	
  our	
  individual	
  explorations.	
  	
  Working	
  together	
  brought	
  contrast	
  and	
  dimension	
  to	
  my	
  thoughts,	
  and	
  pulled	
  unseen	
  issues	
  to	
  the	
  surface.	
  	
   Teacher	
  identity	
  is	
  a	
  complex	
  fabric	
  we	
  weave	
  together	
  	
   with	
  many	
  threads	
  seen	
  and	
  unseen.	
  If	
  we	
  pull	
  at	
  a	
  loose	
  thread,	
  what	
  happens?	
  	
  Sometimes	
  the	
  line	
  is	
  short,	
  self-­‐contained,	
  and	
  we	
  can	
  brush	
  it	
  away.	
  	
  Some	
  threads	
  we	
  trim	
  off,	
  patch	
  over,	
  accept,	
  ignore,	
  or	
  find	
  creative	
  ways	
  to	
  integrate	
  with	
  the	
  whole.	
  	
  Other	
  threads	
  we	
  pull	
  only	
  to	
  discover	
  the	
  extent	
  of	
  their	
  interconnectedness	
  as	
  they	
  jerk	
  tension	
  in	
  the	
  surrounding	
  fabric,	
  threatening	
  an	
  unraveling.	
  In	
  addition	
  to	
  the	
  notion	
  of	
  the	
  embeddedness	
  of	
  teacher	
  identity,	
  four	
  thematic	
  threads	
  emerged	
  that	
  compelled	
  me	
  with	
  their	
  complexity,	
  interconnectedness	
  with	
  one	
  another,	
  and	
  their	
  saliency	
  as	
  noted	
  by	
  all	
  research	
  participants.	
  	
  These	
  themes	
  may	
  be	
  named	
  broadly	
  as	
  self-­‐awareness,	
  boundaries	
  of	
  identity,	
  teacher	
  authenticity,	
  and	
  transformation.	
  	
  	
   Self-­‐Awareness	
   Teachers	
  need	
  inspiration	
  and	
  opportunities	
  	
   to	
  deepen	
  self-­‐awareness—	
   both	
  for	
  the	
  benefit	
  of	
  themselves	
  and	
  their	
  students.	
  As	
  a	
  part	
  of	
  exploring	
  their	
  teacher	
  identities,	
  participants	
  in	
  The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project	
  were	
  invited	
  to	
  grapple	
  with	
  questions	
  that	
  had	
  the	
  potential	
  to	
  lead	
  to	
  greater	
  self-­‐awareness,	
  particularly	
  with	
  respect	
  to	
  their	
  motivations	
  and	
  the	
  moral	
  dimensions	
  of	
  their	
  professional	
  practice.	
  	
  They	
  were	
  asked:	
  	
  Who	
  are	
  you	
  as	
  a	
  teacher?	
  	
  Why	
  do	
  you	
  teach?	
  	
  What	
  beliefs	
  guide	
  your	
  practice?	
  	
  	
    75  Often	
  as	
  teachers	
  we	
  assume	
  we	
  know	
  the	
  answers	
  to	
  these	
  questions,	
  yet	
  struggle	
  to	
  find	
  just	
  the	
  right	
  words	
  in	
  response.	
  Three	
  participants	
  in	
  this	
  research	
  discussed	
  remembering	
  their	
  struggle	
  to	
  write	
  their	
  own	
  “Teaching	
  Philosophy”	
  statements	
  to	
  fulfill	
  course	
  requirements	
  as	
  a	
  part	
  of	
  teacher	
  training.	
  	
  All	
  of	
  the	
  study	
  participants	
  expressed	
  feeling	
  at	
  times	
  tongue-­‐tied	
  when	
  put	
  on	
  the	
  spot	
  with	
  questions	
  of	
  a	
  personally	
  philosophical	
  nature.	
  	
  When	
  confronted	
  with	
  these	
  questions,	
  I	
  too	
  have	
  been	
  tongue-­‐tied	
  at	
  times,	
  or,	
  conversely,	
  I	
  found	
  spoke	
  so	
  much	
  that	
  I	
  in	
  fact	
  said	
  very	
  little	
  of	
  meaning.	
  	
  So	
  why	
  might	
  intelligent,	
  caring	
  teachers	
  who	
  behave	
  as	
  though	
  motivated	
  by	
  a	
  noble	
  force	
  find	
  it	
  hard	
  to	
  succinctly	
  express	
  who	
  they	
  are,	
  why	
  they	
  teach,	
  and	
  what	
  they	
  believe?	
  	
  Perhaps	
  the	
  seemingly	
  simple	
  questions	
  of	
  teacher	
  identity	
  are	
  hard	
  to	
  answer	
  because	
  we	
  feel	
  they	
  matter	
  so	
  deeply	
  to	
  us:	
  	
  we	
  want	
  to	
  be	
  thorough;	
  we	
  want	
  to	
  be	
  accurate;	
  we	
  want	
  to	
  speak	
  meaningfully.	
  	
  And	
  certainly	
  we	
  need	
  the	
  in-­‐demand	
  commodities	
  of	
  focused	
  time	
  and	
  space	
  to	
  nurture	
  the	
  self-­‐awareness	
  that	
  brings	
  about	
  a	
  sense	
  of	
  teacher	
  identity.	
  	
  And	
  we	
  need	
  this	
  time	
  and	
  space	
  for	
  self-­‐awareness,	
  not	
  just	
  once	
  at	
  the	
  beginning	
  of	
  our	
  careers,	
  but	
  all	
  through	
  out	
  our	
  careers	
  because	
  our	
  teacher	
  identities	
  evolve.	
  	
  	
  For	
  this	
  reason,	
  beginning	
  my	
  own	
  evolving	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  was	
  so	
  useful	
  for	
  developing	
  the	
  self-­‐awareness	
  needed	
  to	
  clarifying	
  my	
  teacher	
  identity.	
  	
  As	
  teachers,	
  we	
  are	
  called	
  to	
  make	
  thousands	
  of	
  small	
  and	
  large	
  decisions	
  each	
  day.	
  	
  I	
  have	
  seen	
  how	
  the	
  greater	
  self-­‐awareness	
  I	
  developed	
  through	
  creating	
  my	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  has	
  helped	
  me	
  to	
  not	
  only	
  continue	
  making	
  decisions	
  more	
  consistent	
  with	
  my	
  core	
    76  beliefs,	
  but	
  to	
  make	
  them	
  more	
  efficiently,	
  and	
  with	
  a	
  clearer,	
  more	
  articulate	
  rationale	
  that	
  I	
  could	
  share	
  with	
  others—an	
  act	
  which	
  has	
  educative	
  value.	
  	
  	
  	
  Developing	
  greater	
  self-­‐awareness,	
  particularly	
  with	
  respect	
  to	
  the	
  moral	
  dimension	
  of	
  teaching	
  and	
  living,	
  is	
  something	
  Maxine	
  Greene	
  (1978)	
  likens	
  to	
  “wide-­‐awakeness”	
  in	
  her	
  work	
  Landscapes	
  of	
  Learning.	
  	
  In	
  discussing	
  the	
  value	
  of	
  “wide-­‐awakeness,”	
  Greene	
  references	
  philosophers	
  Alfred	
  Schultz	
  who	
  talked	
  of	
  “wide-­‐awakeness	
  as	
  an	
  achievement”	
  and	
  Henry	
  David	
  Thoreau,	
  who	
  argued	
  that	
  “to	
  be	
  awake	
  is	
  to	
  be	
  alive”	
  (p.	
  42).	
  	
  She	
  makes	
  the	
  case	
  that	
  this	
  form	
  of	
  self-­‐awareness	
  in	
  a	
  teacher	
  has	
  innumerable	
  pedagogical	
  value,	
  especially	
  given	
  that	
  “the	
  young	
  are	
  most	
  likely	
  to	
  be	
  stirred	
  to	
  learn	
  when	
  they	
  are	
  challenged	
  by	
  teachers	
  who	
  themselves	
  are	
  learning,	
  who	
  are	
  breaking	
  with	
  what	
  they	
  have	
  too	
  easily	
  taken	
  for	
  granted,	
  who	
  are	
  creating	
  their	
  own	
  moral	
  lives”	
  (p.	
  51).	
  	
  	
  One	
  study	
  participant,	
  Denyse,	
  reflected	
  on	
  her	
  process	
  of	
  becoming	
  more	
  self-­‐aware	
  through	
  the	
  course	
  of	
  her	
  participation	
  in	
  the	
  project:	
  	
  Making	
  my	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  has	
  been	
  on	
  a	
  small	
  scale,	
  what	
  my	
  whole	
  teaching	
  career	
  has	
  been	
  about	
  –	
  trying	
  to	
  keep	
  the	
  bigger	
  picture	
  of	
  what	
  I	
  do	
  before	
  me,	
  trying	
  to	
  be	
  more	
  positive,	
  and	
  attempting	
  to	
  be	
  as	
  open	
  as	
  possible	
  while	
  at	
  the	
  same	
  time	
  trying	
  to	
  keep	
  what	
  should	
  be	
  private	
  just	
  that.	
  	
  I	
  don’t	
  expect	
  or	
  want	
  to	
  share	
  everything,	
  but	
  the	
  extreme	
  value	
  of	
  the	
  profession	
  demands	
  that	
  the	
  connections	
  be	
  built	
  around	
  what	
  is	
  key.	
  	
  After	
  my	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  was	
  finished,	
  I	
  realized	
  that	
  is	
  what	
  I	
  had	
  been	
  doing	
  while	
  creating	
  it.	
  	
  My	
  teacher	
  identity	
  has	
  become	
  more	
  explicit	
  through	
  this	
  process.	
    77  Boundaries	
  of	
  Identity	
   “Art	
  consists	
  of	
  limitation.	
  The	
  most	
  beautiful	
  part	
  of	
  every	
  picture	
  is	
  the	
   frame.”	
  	
   	
   	
   	
   	
   	
   -­‐Gilbert	
  K.	
  Chesterton	
  The	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  metaphor	
  reminds	
  us	
  that	
  we	
  are	
  involved	
  in	
  creating	
  and	
  co-­‐creating	
  our	
  teacher	
  identities	
  that,	
  in	
  a	
  way,	
  belong	
  to	
  others	
  as	
  much	
  as	
  they	
  belong	
  to	
  us.	
  	
  When	
  part	
  of	
  who	
  we	
  are	
  belongs	
  in	
  a	
  sense	
  to	
  another,	
  it	
  is	
  vital	
  that	
  we	
  can	
  draw	
  distinctions	
  between	
  this	
  co-­‐owned	
  aspect	
  of	
  self	
  and	
  our	
  other	
  aspects	
  of	
  self.	
  	
  	
  A	
  useful	
  pondering	
  on	
  the	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  metaphor	
  was	
  the	
  fact	
  that	
  a	
  coat	
  is	
  something	
  that	
  can	
  both	
  be	
  put	
  on	
  and	
  taken	
  off.	
  	
  My	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  is	
  not	
  a	
  straightjacket:	
  I	
  choose	
  to	
  wear	
  it.	
  	
  Having	
  a	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  suggests	
  to	
  me	
  that	
  I	
  have	
  the	
  option	
  to	
  wear	
  or	
  take	
  off	
  my	
  teaching	
  identity	
  at	
  the	
  appropriate	
  times.	
  	
  I	
  have	
  some	
  control	
  over	
  delineating	
  boundaries	
  for	
  where	
  and	
  when	
  to	
  wear	
  this	
  coat	
  and	
  this	
  identity.	
  	
  	
  Another	
  issue	
  related	
  to	
  boundaries	
  of	
  identity	
  that	
  participants	
  in	
  this	
  research	
  discussed	
  concerned	
  how	
  much	
  to	
  share	
  of	
  their	
  personal	
  identities	
  at	
  work.	
  	
  Participants	
  in	
  the	
  study	
  were	
  asked	
  to	
  imagine	
  wearing	
  their	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  in	
  public	
  and	
  to	
  think	
  about	
  how	
  the	
  prospect	
  of	
  sharing	
  their	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  would	
  affect	
  their	
  choices	
  of	
  both	
  what	
  to	
  include	
  and	
  how	
  to	
  include	
  it.	
  	
  A	
  key	
  question	
  discussed	
  was,	
  What	
  is	
  too	
  personal	
  to	
  share	
  in	
  a	
  professional	
  context?	
  	
  As	
  distinct	
  from	
  their	
  teacher	
  identities,	
  participants	
  spoke	
  frequently	
  of	
  a	
  notion	
  of	
  a	
  “true	
  identity”,	
  “real	
  self”	
  or	
  “personal	
  life”,	
  or	
  “true	
  self”.	
  	
  As	
  well,	
  all	
  participants	
    78  emphasized	
  a	
  need	
  to	
  consciously	
  create	
  such	
  distinctions	
  as	
  a	
  part	
  of	
  being	
  a	
  professional	
  and	
  adhering	
  to	
  job	
  expectations	
  and	
  social	
  norms,	
  but	
  also	
  because	
  of	
  the	
  need	
  to	
  protect	
  one’s	
  privacy	
  and	
  guard	
  one’s	
  feelings.	
  	
  There	
  can	
  even	
  be	
  an	
  element	
  of	
  artistry	
  in	
  the	
  judgments	
  teachers	
  must	
  make	
  to	
  establish	
  boundaries.	
  Phoebe	
  explained,	
  “I	
  think	
  it’s	
  important	
  that	
  some	
  of	
  the	
  things	
  and	
  memories	
  we	
  create	
  we	
  keep	
  for	
  ourselves.	
  	
  As	
  teachers,	
  I	
  see	
  us	
  as	
  actors,	
  and	
  we	
  choose	
  what	
  we	
  want	
  to	
  show	
  and	
  how	
  we	
  want	
  to	
  present	
  ourselves.”	
  	
  	
  One	
  participant	
  spoke	
  of	
  a	
  time	
  she	
  questioned	
  how	
  much	
  to	
  share	
  from	
  her	
  personal	
  life	
  when	
  a	
  distressed	
  teenage	
  student	
  asked	
  her	
  about	
  her	
  thoughts	
  on	
  miscarriage	
  because	
  her	
  mother	
  had	
  just	
  experienced	
  one.	
  	
  This	
  participant	
  was	
  still	
  struggling	
  to	
  decide	
  what	
  her	
  best	
  action	
  would	
  be	
  given	
  all	
  of	
  the	
  contextual	
  details.	
  This	
  participant’s	
  story	
  moved	
  me	
  as	
  I	
  recalled	
  my	
  own	
  decision	
  to	
  switch	
  the	
  schools	
  in	
  which	
  I	
  worked	
  after	
  losing	
  my	
  baby	
  late	
  in	
  pregnancy	
  during	
  summer	
  vacation.	
  	
  I	
  made	
  the	
  decision	
  because	
  I	
  felt	
  I	
  wasn’t	
  prepared	
  to	
  return	
  to	
  face	
  the	
  inevitable	
  questions	
  from	
  the	
  young	
  children	
  who	
  knew	
  me.	
  	
  Over	
  the	
  previous	
  months—without	
  invitation—students	
  watched	
  my	
  growing	
  belly	
  with	
  excitement,	
  surprising	
  me	
  with	
  baby	
  name	
  lists	
  they	
  wrote	
  during	
  recess,	
  asking	
  questions,	
  and	
  otherwise	
  seeking	
  to	
  involve	
  themselves	
  in	
  this	
  detail	
  of	
  my	
  personal	
  life.	
  	
  It	
  was	
  a	
  detail	
  that	
  I	
  tried	
  but	
  could	
  not	
  hide	
  for	
  long.	
  	
  When	
  I	
  felt	
  the	
  heartbreak	
  of	
  loss,	
  I	
  wished	
  it	
  to	
  belong	
  to	
  me	
  alone.	
  	
  But	
  I	
  was	
  embedded.	
  	
  I	
  could	
  not	
  draw	
  the	
  kind	
  of	
  boundary	
  around	
  my	
  pregnancy	
  I	
  would	
  have	
  wanted.	
  	
  	
  Pregnancy	
  challenged	
  me	
  to	
  reflect	
  more	
  deeply	
  on	
  boundaries	
  of	
  identity	
  because	
  never	
  before	
  in	
  my	
  life	
  would	
  it	
  have	
  seemed	
  acceptable	
  for	
  students	
  or	
    79  colleagues	
  to	
  touch	
  my	
  stomach	
  in	
  the	
  workplace.	
  	
  Yet	
  once	
  I	
  was	
  pregnant,	
  I	
  found	
  people	
  treating	
  my	
  belly	
  as	
  public	
  property,	
  reaching	
  out	
  to	
  touch	
  it,	
  and	
  drawing	
  conclusions	
  about	
  my	
  life.	
  	
  When	
  one	
  nine-­‐year-­‐old	
  boy	
  returned	
  from	
  a	
  Family	
  Life	
  lesson	
  with	
  the	
  P.E.	
  teacher,	
  he	
  posed	
  a	
  question	
  he	
  didn’t	
  realize	
  crossed	
  a	
  boundary,	
  “Hey	
  Teacher,	
  you	
  have	
  a	
  baby	
  in	
  there,	
  does	
  this	
  mean	
  you’ve	
  had	
  sex?”	
  	
  Boundaries	
  of	
  identity	
  must	
  be	
  established—it	
  is	
  a	
  crucial	
  part	
  of	
  leadership	
  and	
  a	
  crucial	
  part	
  of	
  a	
  teacher’s	
  daily	
  work.	
  	
  While	
  some	
  personal	
  details	
  of	
  our	
  lives	
  we	
  can	
  and	
  must	
  keep	
  private,	
  other	
  details	
  announce	
  themselves	
  against	
  our	
  will.	
  	
  Yet	
  if	
  we	
  are	
  self-­‐aware	
  and	
  prepared,	
  we	
  can	
  better	
  respond	
  in	
  situations	
  that	
  test	
  the	
  lines	
  we	
  have	
  drawn	
  between	
  our	
  personal	
  and	
  professional	
  identities.	
  	
  During	
  her	
  interview	
  session,	
  Phoebe	
  emphasized	
  the	
  role	
  of	
  discernment	
  and	
  good	
  judgment	
  in	
  establishing	
  professional	
  boundaries:	
  	
  I	
  think	
  that	
  teachers	
  need	
  to	
  go	
  with	
  their	
  gut	
  instinct.	
  They	
  don’t	
  need	
  to	
  answer	
  every	
  question	
  a	
  student	
  will	
  ask—they	
  just	
  need	
  to	
  be	
  comfortable	
  with	
  what	
  they	
  say	
  with	
  the	
  student.	
  	
  And	
  what	
  I’m	
  comfortable	
  saying	
  might	
  not	
  be	
  the	
  same	
  as	
  what	
  another	
  teacher	
  is	
  comfortable	
  with	
  saying.	
  	
  In	
  creating	
  our	
  Teaching	
  Coats,	
  we	
  may	
  find	
  the	
  process	
  conjures	
  memories,	
  feelings,	
  and	
  beliefs	
  we	
  hold	
  sacred,	
  and	
  we	
  have	
  the	
  opportunity	
  to	
  make	
  decisions	
  about	
  whether	
  to	
  share	
  these	
  things	
  and	
  in	
  which	
  circumstances.	
  	
  One	
  participant	
  in	
  the	
  research	
  noted	
  that	
  in	
  creating	
  her	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  she	
  initially	
  wanted	
  to	
  record	
  on	
  it	
  her	
  feelings	
  about	
  the	
  current	
  tense	
  negotiations	
  between	
  the	
  teachers’	
  union	
  and	
  the	
  government.	
  	
  She	
  later	
  changed	
  her	
  mind	
  explaining,	
  “Other	
  people	
  might	
    80  not	
  agree	
  with	
  my	
  point	
  of	
  view,	
  and	
  it’s	
  a	
  very	
  personal	
  thing,	
  and	
  not	
  something	
  I	
  want	
  others	
  to	
  see.”	
  	
  The	
  question	
  of	
  boundaries	
  is	
  especially	
  important	
  in	
  the	
  technology-­‐driven	
  21st	
  century	
  as	
  many	
  teachers’	
  identities	
  seem	
  to	
  extend	
  beyond	
  their	
  physical	
  bodies	
  and	
  onto	
  the	
  internet.	
  	
  Many	
  teachers,	
  by	
  personal	
  choice	
  and	
  as	
  a	
  part	
  of	
  their	
  work,	
  have	
  increased	
  social	
  networking	
  presence	
  on	
  blogs,	
  discussion	
  forums,	
  Facebook,	
  Twitter,	
  LinkedIn,	
  Wikis,	
  and	
  other	
  broadly	
  reaching	
  media	
  (Ferriter,	
  Ramsden,	
  &	
  Sheninger,	
  2011,	
  p.	
  1-­‐2).	
  	
  New	
  technologies	
  contribute	
  to	
  shrinking	
  privacy	
  for	
  all,	
  and	
  there	
  is	
  also	
  a	
  noticeable	
  cultural	
  relaxing	
  of	
  attitudes	
  around	
  the	
  boundaries	
  between	
  private	
  and	
  public	
  (Sullivan,	
  2006);	
  both	
  of	
  these	
  facts	
  may	
  shift	
  where	
  we	
  perceive	
  boundaries	
  are	
  and	
  lead	
  to	
  confusion	
  about	
  what	
  teachers	
  can	
  and	
  should	
  share	
  of	
  their	
  identities.	
  	
  Blurring	
  of	
  the	
  personal-­‐professional	
  lines	
  is	
  well	
  acknowledged	
  as	
  a	
  major	
  ethical	
  consideration	
  for	
  teachers	
  in	
  cases	
  where	
  online	
  activities	
  undermine	
  a	
  teacher’s	
  reputation,	
  authority	
  or	
  the	
  appropriateness	
  of	
  teacher-­‐student	
  relations	
  (Ludvigsen,	
  2011,	
  p.	
  15-­‐16).	
  	
  	
  However,	
  there	
  is	
  growing	
  discussion	
  about	
  how	
  teachers	
  may	
  harness	
  new	
  media	
  in	
  their	
  practice	
  as	
  a	
  way	
  to	
  communicate	
  their	
  thoughts	
  and	
  connect	
  in	
  an	
  immediate	
  way	
  with	
  larger	
  numbers	
  of	
  students,	
  parents	
  and	
  colleagues;	
  by	
  doing	
  so,	
  teachers	
  may	
  help	
  build	
  relationships	
  and	
  present	
  as	
  more	
  authentic	
  professionals	
  (Ferriter	
  et	
  al.,	
  2011,	
  pp.	
  9-­‐10).	
  	
  The	
  world	
  wants	
  teachers	
  who	
  create	
  balance,	
  drawing	
  boundaries	
  around	
  their	
  personal	
  ways	
  of	
  being	
  that	
  are	
  appropriate	
  and	
  professional,	
  but	
  that	
  are	
  not	
  so	
  rigid	
  so	
  as	
  to	
  eclipse	
  the	
  humanity	
  of	
  the	
  teacher.	
  	
  	
    81  A	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  offers	
  a	
  useful	
  metaphor	
  and	
  beginning	
  point	
  for	
  teachers	
  to	
  directly	
  examine	
  their	
  own	
  boundaries	
  as	
  professionals.	
  	
  In	
  setting	
  professional	
  boundaries,	
  by	
  choosing	
  to	
  share	
  certain	
  aspects	
  of	
  their	
  personal	
  selves	
  while	
  excluding	
  others,	
  teachers	
  form	
  the	
  boundaries	
  of	
  their	
  teacher	
  identity.	
  	
  Done	
  well,	
  the	
  establishment	
  of	
  professional	
  boundaries	
  appropriately	
  guards	
  a	
  teacher’s	
  inner	
  life,	
  while	
  at	
  the	
  same	
  time	
  allowing	
  for	
  their	
  students	
  and	
  colleagues	
  to	
  experience	
  them	
  as	
  authentic	
  professionals.	
   Teacher	
  Authenticity	
    What	
  is	
  teacher	
  authenticity?	
   What	
  is	
  its	
  value?	
   Why	
  does	
  it	
  matter?	
  Teacher	
  authenticity	
  is	
  a	
  concept	
  related	
  to	
  teacher	
  identity	
  that	
  is	
  difficult	
  to	
  define.	
  	
  In	
  this	
  research,	
  teachers	
  were	
  challenged	
  to	
  create	
  their	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  as	
  expressions	
  of	
  their	
  own	
  definitions	
  of	
  teacher	
  authenticity.	
  	
  Participants	
  in	
  this	
  study	
  commonly	
  described	
  teacher	
  authenticity	
  as	
  being	
  about	
  making	
  the	
  conscious	
  decision	
  to	
  share	
  aspects	
  of	
  who	
  they	
  are	
  with	
  their	
  students,	
  to	
  let	
  them	
  glimpse	
  into	
  their	
  worlds.	
  	
  And	
  it	
  was	
  reported	
  that	
  sharing	
  their	
  personal	
  selves	
  in	
  this	
  way	
  helped	
  build	
  rapport	
  that	
  could	
  be	
  a	
  starting	
  point	
  for	
  learning.	
  	
  Denyse	
  shared	
  that	
  she	
  keeps	
  on	
  her	
  desk	
  a	
  picture	
  of	
  a	
  cat	
  she	
  no	
  longer	
  owns	
  simply	
  because	
  she	
  found	
  for	
  years	
  that	
  this	
  picture	
  offered	
  a	
  window	
  into	
  her	
  life	
  that	
  her	
  students	
  appreciated.	
  	
  She	
  believed	
  it	
  was	
  valuable	
  to	
  share	
  carefully	
  chosen	
  details	
  of	
  her	
  personal	
  identity,	
  explaining,	
  “I	
  get	
  a	
  lot	
  of	
  mileage	
  of	
  this	
    82  picture	
  of	
  Patches—kids	
  love	
  pets,	
  and	
  she	
  was	
  a	
  really	
  beautiful	
  cat…this	
  is	
  my	
  way	
  to	
  share	
  a	
  bit	
  of	
  who	
  I	
  am	
  and	
  begin	
  to	
  develop	
  a	
  relationship	
  with	
  students.”	
  When	
  asked	
  to	
  define	
  what	
  being	
  an	
  authentic	
  teacher	
  looked	
  like	
  for	
  her,	
  Phoebe	
  shared,	
  	
  I	
  like	
  to	
  build	
  relationships	
  with	
  students.	
  [Teaching]	
  is	
  less	
  about	
  the	
  material	
  or	
  the	
  curriculum;	
  it’s	
  about	
  getting	
  to	
  know	
  the	
  students,	
  and	
  finding	
  out	
  about	
  what’s	
  important	
  in	
  their	
  lives,	
  and	
  I	
  want	
  to	
  know	
  how	
  I	
  can	
  take	
  those	
  interests	
  and	
  hopefully	
  help	
  them	
  learn	
  something	
  along	
  the	
  way.	
  	
  [When	
  it	
  comes	
  to	
  teacher	
  authenticity]	
  number	
  one	
  is	
  humour	
  in	
  my	
  class.	
  	
  And	
  Coco	
  Cola.	
  	
  I	
  always	
  joke	
  that	
  I	
  love	
  Coke	
  Slurpees,	
  so	
  a	
  lot	
  of	
  my	
  jokes	
  and	
  examples	
  in	
  class	
  are	
  about	
  them.	
  	
  So	
  for	
  instance,	
  in	
  math	
  we	
  looked	
  at	
  problems	
  where	
  if	
  a	
  Coke	
  Slurpee	
  spills,	
  how	
  much	
  waste	
  do	
  we	
  have,	
  etc.	
  	
  I	
  always	
  use	
  that	
  theme	
  of	
  Coke	
  through	
  out	
  the	
  year.	
  	
  And	
  kids	
  know	
  if	
  they’re	
  late	
  I’m	
  going	
  to	
  joke,	
  “Oh,	
  were	
  you	
  at	
  the	
  7-­‐11	
  buying	
  me	
  a	
  Coke	
  Slurpee?	
  	
  Denyse	
  and	
  Phoebe	
  describe	
  how	
  sharing	
  with	
  students	
  even	
  small	
  details,	
  such	
  as	
  owning	
  a	
  cat	
  or	
  liking	
  Coke	
  Slurpees,	
  is	
  a	
  gesture	
  of	
  openness	
  or	
  authenticity,	
  which	
  is	
  a	
  step	
  towards	
  the	
  trust	
  needed	
  to	
  build	
  healthy	
  student-­‐teacher	
  relationships	
  which	
  enhance	
  learning.	
  	
  	
   But	
  how	
  much	
  do	
  we	
  need	
  to	
  share	
  for	
  students	
  to	
  experience	
  us	
  as	
  authentic?	
   And	
  beyond	
  speaking	
  of	
  our	
  lives,	
  what	
  other	
  factors	
  may	
  contribute	
  to	
   expressing	
  ourselves	
  as	
  authentic	
  teachers?	
    83  Although	
  it	
  is	
  generally	
  accepted	
  in	
  the	
  literature	
  as	
  an	
  important	
  phenomenon,	
  the	
  notion	
  of	
  teacher	
  authenticity	
  remains	
  relatively	
  under-­‐researched	
  (Kreber	
  et.	
  al,	
  2007,	
  p.	
  22).	
  	
  Existing	
  literature	
  on	
  teacher	
  authenticity	
  tends	
  to	
  concern	
  what	
  the	
  term	
  is	
  commonly	
  understood	
  to	
  mean	
  and	
  the	
  phenomenon’s	
  value	
  in	
  practice	
  and	
  impact	
  on	
  student	
  learning.	
  	
  For	
  example,	
  Cranton	
  and	
  Carusetta	
  (2004)	
  explain	
  authenticity	
  as	
  “a	
  multifaceted	
  concept	
  that	
  includes	
  at	
  least	
  four	
  parts:	
  being	
  genuine,	
  showing	
  consistency	
  between	
  values	
  and	
  actions,	
  relating	
  in	
  such	
  a	
  way	
  so	
  as	
  to	
  encourage	
  others’	
  authenticity,	
  and	
  living	
  a	
   critical	
  life”	
  (p.	
  7).	
  	
  Similarly,	
  Brookfield	
  (2006)	
  identified	
  indicators	
  of	
  teacher	
  authenticity	
  as	
  including:	
  (a.)	
  congruence	
  between	
  a	
  teacher’s	
  words	
  and	
  actions;	
  (b.)	
  full	
  disclosure	
  of	
  a	
  teacher's	
  criteria,	
  expectations,	
  agendas,	
  and	
  assumptions	
  that	
  guide	
  her	
  practice;	
  (c.)	
  responsiveness	
  of	
  a	
  teacher	
  in	
  tailoring	
  teaching	
  to	
  students’	
  learning	
  needs;	
  and	
  (d.)	
  a	
  teacher’s	
  presentation	
  of	
  personhood,	
  which	
  is	
  marked	
  by	
  a	
  “perception	
  students	
  have	
  that	
  their	
  teacher	
  is	
  a	
  flesh-­‐and-­‐blood	
  human	
  being	
  with	
  a	
  life	
  and	
  identity	
  outside	
  the	
  classroom”	
  (pp.	
  7-­‐11).	
  	
  	
  Asking	
  if	
  one’s	
  own	
  teacher	
  identity	
  presents	
  as	
  authentic	
  can	
  happen	
  in	
  the	
  process	
  of	
  making	
  a	
  Teaching	
  Coat.	
  	
  This	
  is	
  a	
  valuable	
  question	
  because	
  its	
  answer	
  has	
  personal,	
  social,	
  and	
  pedagogical	
  implications.	
  	
   Transformation	
    John	
  Trent	
  (2010)	
  discusses	
  how	
  transformation	
  is	
  a	
  central	
  theme	
  in	
  the	
  teacher	
  research	
  movement	
  and	
  that	
  teacher	
  identity	
  is	
  seen	
  “as	
  a	
  process	
  of	
  ‘becoming’	
  in	
  which	
  teachers	
  fashion	
  and	
  refashion	
  identities	
  as	
  they	
  confront	
  and	
    84  adapt	
  to	
  varying	
  perspectives,	
  such	
  as	
  those	
  of	
  schools,	
  students	
  and	
  governments”	
  (p.	
  154).	
  	
  	
  	
  Transformation	
  is	
  an	
  exciting	
  notion	
  for	
  me	
  as	
  one	
  exploring	
  identity	
  formation.	
  	
  I	
  wondered,	
  by	
  what	
  mysterious	
  processes	
  do	
  people	
  transform	
  into	
   teachers	
  who	
  are	
  in	
  touch	
  with	
  their	
  teaching	
  identities,	
  self-­‐aware,	
  authentic,	
  and	
   clear	
  in	
  the	
  boundaries	
  between	
  their	
  personal	
  and	
  professional	
  worlds?	
  	
  As	
  the	
  research	
  participants	
  and	
  I	
  explored	
  The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project,	
  this	
  question	
  emerged	
  and	
  was	
  answered	
  for	
  me	
  in	
  glimpses—in	
  the	
  magic	
  that	
  happened	
  through	
  engaging	
  in	
  and	
  discussing	
  our	
  arts-­‐based	
  research	
  and	
  discovering	
  ourselves	
  as	
  a/r/tographers.	
  Yet,	
  I	
  do	
  not	
  feel	
  it	
  is	
  my	
  place	
  to	
  argue	
  that	
  The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project	
   transformed	
  the	
  participants	
  in	
  this	
  study.	
  	
  I	
  never	
  directly	
  phrased	
  a	
  question	
  for	
  the	
  participants	
  asking	
  if	
  The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project	
  transformed	
  them.	
  	
  As	
  the	
  project	
  designer	
  and	
  researcher,	
  that	
  question	
  I	
  believe	
  would	
  have	
  crossed	
  a	
  boundary	
  as	
  a	
  researcher;	
  I	
  wanted	
  participants	
  to	
  feel	
  safe	
  exploring	
  the	
  project	
  and	
  not	
  feel	
  because	
  of	
  our	
  relationship	
  of	
  exchange	
  they	
  were	
  obliged	
  to	
  provide	
  kindly	
  testimony.	
  As	
  well,	
  the	
  word	
  transform	
  is	
  culturally	
  loaded	
  and	
  negative	
  for	
  some,	
  conjuring	
  images	
  of	
  lowly	
  caterpillars	
  emerging	
  from	
  cocoons	
  as	
  butterflies.	
  	
  Such	
  a	
  metaphor,	
  and	
  meaning	
  of	
  the	
  word	
  as	
  related	
  to	
  the	
  word	
  reform,	
  does	
  not	
  fit	
  what	
  I	
  view	
  occurred	
  in	
  The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project.	
  	
  	
  I	
  never	
  viewed	
  the	
  participants	
  in	
  this	
  study,	
  or	
  any	
  teachers	
  for	
  that	
  matter,	
  as	
  caterpillars,	
  but	
  rather	
  as	
  established	
  butterflies.	
  	
  The	
  “butterflies”	
  who	
  participated	
  in	
  this	
  research	
  reported	
  enjoying	
  the	
    85  occasion	
  to	
  soar	
  to	
  a	
  broader	
  view	
  of	
  the	
  contributions	
  they	
  make	
  and	
  reflect	
  on	
  the	
  beauty	
  of	
  their	
  wings.	
  	
  	
  During	
  the	
  follow-­‐up	
  interviews,	
  each	
  participant	
  in	
  the	
  research	
  articulated	
  value	
  in	
  different	
  aspects	
  of	
  their	
  coat	
  creations.	
  As	
  Denyse	
  expressed,	
  “Once	
  I	
  got	
  into	
  actually	
  making	
  my	
  coat,	
  it	
  became	
  a	
  meditative	
  act:	
  quiet,	
  thoughtful,	
  and	
  peaceful.	
  	
  It	
  was	
  a	
  true	
  reflecting	
  time.”	
  Phoebe	
  mentioned	
  the	
  value	
  for	
  her	
  specifically	
  in	
  the	
  arts-­‐based	
  element	
  because,	
  as	
  a	
  technology,	
  science,	
  and	
  math	
  teacher,	
  exploring	
  her	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  helped	
  her	
  she	
  said,	
  “to	
  go	
  to	
  the	
  other	
  side	
  of	
  my	
  brain	
  and	
  create	
  for	
  a	
  bit.”	
  Fred	
  emphasized	
  the	
  benefits	
  of	
  the	
  social	
  aspect	
  on	
  his	
  reflective	
  process:	
  	
  Doing	
  the	
  project	
  with	
  another	
  person	
  (my	
  wife)	
  made	
  it	
  more	
  interesting,	
  as	
  we	
  could	
  compare	
  thoughts	
  and	
  ideas	
  as	
  we	
  went	
  through	
  the	
  process.	
  Constant	
  discussion	
  allowed	
  more	
  thought	
  about	
  what	
  to	
  add…it	
  was	
  interesting	
  to	
  ask	
  my	
  colleagues	
  for	
  school	
  logos.	
  I	
  had	
  to	
  explain	
  about	
  the	
  coat	
  and	
  now	
  they	
  want	
  to	
  see	
  the	
  coat.	
  The	
  theme	
  of	
  transformation	
  initially	
  earned	
  its	
  place	
  in	
  the	
  discussion	
  of	
  this	
  research	
  when	
  I	
  found	
  myself	
  using	
  the	
  word	
  in	
  a	
  few	
  places,	
  frequently	
  with	
  respect	
  to	
  my	
  own	
  discoveries	
  and	
  I	
  wanted	
  to	
  explore	
  the	
  idea	
  further.	
  	
  I	
  am	
  still	
  discovering	
  how	
  this	
  theme	
  fits	
  in	
  with	
  The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project.	
  	
  	
  Cranton	
  (1992)	
  explains	
  that	
  transformation	
  may	
  be	
  judged	
  to	
  have	
  occurred	
  if	
  we	
  feel	
  that	
  our	
  assumptions	
  and	
  perspectives,	
  and	
  behaviours	
  have	
  changed.	
  	
  In	
  this	
  sense,	
  I	
  myself	
  freely	
  admit,	
  that	
  parts	
  of	
  my	
  process	
  in	
  The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project	
  have	
  inspired	
  many	
  little	
  transformations	
  in	
  how	
  I	
  see	
  my	
  teacher	
  identity—  86  and	
  much	
  credit	
  is	
  due	
  to	
  the	
  “butterflies”	
  I	
  observed	
  and	
  had	
  the	
  pleasure	
  of	
  interviewing.	
  	
  I	
  will	
  speak	
  for	
  only	
  myself	
  in	
  saying	
  my	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  process	
  was	
  indeed	
  a	
  cocooning	
  and	
  emerging	
  into	
  a	
  clearer	
  world	
  in	
  which	
  I	
  saw	
  how	
  my	
  teacher	
  identity	
  works	
  as	
  a	
  part	
  of	
  a	
  greater	
  ecosystem.	
  	
  Teachers	
  everywhere	
  are	
  in	
  the	
  midst	
  of	
  their	
  own	
  transformations,	
  discovering	
  their	
  own	
  teacher	
  identities,	
  setting	
  their	
  professional	
  boundaries,	
  and	
  becoming	
  evermore	
  self-­‐aware	
  and	
  authentic	
  through	
  a	
  myriad	
  of	
  creative	
  personal	
  ways.	
  	
  The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project	
  may	
  offer	
  something	
  to	
  this	
  process;	
  it	
  is	
  an	
  invitation	
  to	
  teachers	
  to	
  acknowledge	
  and	
  magnify	
  the	
  self-­‐reflective	
  work	
  they	
  are	
  already	
  doing	
  in	
  their	
  everyday	
  professional	
  lives.	
  As	
  we	
  endeavor	
  to	
  create	
  opportunities	
  to	
  foster	
  teachers’	
  own	
  journeys	
  of	
  self-­‐discovery,	
  looking	
  to	
  the	
  literature	
  relating	
  to	
  transformation	
  can	
  provide	
  inspiration	
  and	
  the	
  beginnings	
  of	
  a	
  practical	
  framework	
  for	
  programming.	
  	
  Mezirow	
  (2003)	
  is	
  acknowledged	
  for	
  work	
  in	
  this	
  area	
  of	
  “transformative	
  learning”;	
  this	
  is	
  a	
  process	
  Brown	
  (2005)	
  echoes	
  as	
  involving	
  “experiential	
  learning,	
  critical	
  self-­‐reflection,	
  and	
  rational	
  discourse	
  that	
  can	
  be	
  stimulated	
  by	
  people,	
  events,	
  or	
  changes	
  in	
  context	
  which	
  challenge	
  the	
  learner's	
  basic	
  assumptions	
  of	
  the	
  world”	
  (p.	
  23).	
  	
  Cranton	
  (2006)	
  elaborates	
  that	
  transformative	
  learning	
  may	
  be	
  “rational,	
  affective,	
  extrarational,	
  or	
  experiential	
  depending	
  on	
  the	
  person	
  engaged	
  in	
  the	
  learning	
  and	
  the	
  context	
  in	
  which	
  it	
  takes	
  place”	
  (p.	
  6).	
  	
  A	
  key	
  feature	
  of	
  transformative	
  learning	
  opportunities	
  is	
  that	
  educators	
  are	
  active	
  facilitators	
  and	
  co-­‐learners	
  with	
  subjects	
  (Brown,	
  2005,	
  p.	
  23).	
    87  Making	
  It	
  Practical	
  So	
  if	
  teachers	
  seek	
  transformative	
  professional	
  learning	
  opportunities—ones	
  that	
  foster	
  teacher	
  identity	
  through	
  development	
  of	
  self-­‐awareness,	
  clarity	
  in	
  professional	
  boundaries,	
  and	
  teacher	
  authenticity—where	
  can	
  they	
  look?	
  	
  	
  While	
  some	
  literature	
  discusses	
  the	
  importance	
  of	
  these	
  themes,	
  there	
  is	
  much	
  less	
  formal	
  research	
  or	
  instruction	
  providing	
  practical	
  strategies	
  to	
  achieve	
  these	
  ends.	
  	
  	
  For	
  example,	
  we	
  find	
  descriptions	
  in	
  the	
  literature	
  of	
  the	
  attitudes	
  and	
   actions	
  of	
  self-­‐aware	
  and	
  authentic	
  teachers,	
  but	
  it	
  is	
  harder	
  to	
  find	
  replicable	
  steps	
  by	
  which	
  teachers	
  may	
  make	
  the	
  leap	
  to	
  adopt	
  such	
  attitudes	
  or	
  choose	
  certain	
  actions.	
  	
  We	
  may	
  read	
  recommendations	
  for	
  teachers	
  such	
  as	
  those	
  offered	
  by	
  Cranton	
  (2006)	
  who	
  offers	
  a	
  cursory	
  list	
  of	
  exercises,	
  including:	
  keep	
  a	
  journal;	
  write	
  a	
  blog;	
  make	
  a	
  collage;	
  or	
  talk	
  to	
  others	
  about	
  authenticity	
  (p.	
  12).	
  	
  We	
  may	
  see	
  how	
  these	
  recommendations	
  can	
  initiate	
  important	
  journeys	
  of	
  self-­‐discovery.	
  	
  However,	
  nowhere	
  outside	
  of	
  ourselves	
  will	
  we	
  find	
  an	
  absolute	
  definition	
  or	
  map	
  for	
  transformation.	
  	
  There	
  is	
  no	
  perfect	
  recipe	
  for	
  seeing,	
  creating,	
  and	
  sharing	
  one’s	
  teacher	
  identity;	
  and	
  like	
  making	
  a	
  Teaching	
  Coat,	
  this	
  process	
  can	
  at	
  times	
  feel	
  intimidating,	
  confusing,	
  or	
  messy,	
  as	
  well	
  as	
  beautiful,	
  meaningful	
  and	
  revelatory.	
  	
   A	
  parting	
  question	
  I	
  asked	
  participants	
  during	
  interviews	
  was	
  to	
  share	
  their	
  perspectives	
  and	
  advice	
  for	
  what	
  they	
  saw	
  as	
  important	
  to	
  The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project	
  as	
  a	
  professional	
  development	
  activity	
  for	
  teachers.	
  Participants	
  emphasized	
  the	
  importance	
  of	
  supportive	
  communities	
  of	
   inquiry	
  in	
  teacher	
  development.	
  	
  Phoebe	
  commented,	
  	
    88  I	
  think	
  number	
  one	
  is	
  building	
  relationships	
  with	
  people	
  and	
  building	
  trust.	
  	
  As	
  soon	
  as	
  you	
  have	
  those	
  relationships	
  and	
  trust	
  then	
  you	
  can	
  move	
  on	
  to	
  introducing	
  new	
  ideas	
  that	
  people	
  will	
  consider.	
  	
  The	
  thing	
  is,	
  you	
  don’t	
  impose	
  change	
  on	
  people	
  against	
  their	
  will—people	
  have	
  to	
  be	
  a	
  part	
  of	
  the	
  process.	
  Towards	
  this	
  end,	
  Phoebe	
  offered	
  advice	
  for	
  anyone	
  such	
  as	
  myself	
  who	
  may	
  present	
  The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project	
  in	
  a	
  workshop	
  setting	
  for	
  teachers.	
  	
  She	
  said	
  that	
  to	
  help	
  teachers	
  feel	
  comfortable	
  and	
  involved	
  in	
  the	
  process,	
  “[a	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  workshop	
  facilitator]	
  should	
  spend	
  time,	
  a	
  few	
  minutes	
  before	
  the	
  session,	
  mingling	
  with	
  the	
  teachers	
  informally	
  to	
  begin	
  working	
  to	
  build	
  relationships.”	
  	
  Denyse	
  emphasized	
  the	
  value	
  of	
  advanced	
  preparation	
  and	
  having	
  proper	
   tools	
  for	
  the	
  task:	
  “It	
  worked	
  so	
  well	
  that	
  I	
  gave	
  myself	
  lots	
  of	
  time	
  to	
  think,	
  plan,	
  gather	
  artifacts,	
  and	
  reflect	
  on	
  them.”	
  	
  Fred	
  mentioned	
  the	
  benefit	
  working	
  with	
  varying	
  degrees	
  of	
  structure	
  depending	
  on	
  one’s	
  interests	
  and	
  needs.	
  	
  He	
  offered,	
  “The	
  best	
  idea	
  was	
  to	
  have	
  a	
  focus	
  or	
  title,	
  and	
  work	
  from	
  there.	
  In	
  this	
  way,	
  all	
  the	
  additions	
  to	
  the	
  coat	
  were	
  intertwined.”	
  Participants	
  emphasized	
  the	
  value	
  of	
  a	
  non-­‐rushed	
  atmosphere	
  for	
  creative	
  and	
  reflective	
  work.	
  	
  All	
  participants	
  noted	
  that	
  the	
  process	
  of	
  making	
  a	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  took	
  what	
  they	
  found	
  to	
  be	
  a	
  significant	
  amount	
  of	
  time	
  and	
  that	
  this	
  could	
  be	
  an	
  inherent	
  challenge	
  to	
  the	
  accessibility	
  of	
  the	
  project.	
  	
  Phoebe	
  noted:	
  “Teachers	
  are	
  just	
  stretched	
  in	
  so	
  many	
  directions	
  that	
  by	
  the	
  end	
  of	
  the	
  day	
  they	
  don’t	
  tend	
  to	
  have	
  time	
  to	
  think	
  in	
  this	
  way.”	
  	
  When	
  asked	
  about	
  her	
  decision	
  to	
  undertake	
  the	
    89  project	
  given	
  the	
  complexity	
  of	
  her	
  schedule	
  as	
  a	
  fulltime	
  high	
  school	
  teacher,	
  master	
  of	
  education	
  student,	
  and	
  mother	
  to	
  six	
  children,	
  Phoebe	
  explained:	
  I	
  know	
  I	
  have	
  the	
  least	
  amount	
  of	
  time	
  of	
  many	
  people	
  I	
  know,	
  but	
  the	
  thing	
  is	
  when	
  you’re	
  so	
  busy,	
  you	
  don’t	
  leave	
  things	
  to	
  tomorrow:	
  you	
  either	
  do	
  it	
  today	
  or	
  it’s	
  not	
  done	
  and	
  I	
  work	
  in	
  that	
  mode.	
  	
  It	
  was	
  just	
  important	
  for	
  me	
  to	
  work	
  on	
  this	
  coat.	
  	
  I	
  was	
  just	
  really	
  interested	
  in	
  it.	
  All	
  participants	
  commented	
  on	
  the	
  value	
  of	
  the	
  physical-­‐mental	
   engagement	
  involved	
  in	
  art-­‐making.	
  	
  It	
  was	
  interesting	
  that	
  participants	
  emphasized	
  valuing	
  the	
  discoveries	
  made	
  while	
  decorating	
  their	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  by	
  handwriting,	
  an	
  activity	
  practiced	
  less	
  in	
  the	
  age	
  of	
  technology.	
  Fred	
  reported,	
  “The	
  handwriting	
  enhanced	
  the	
  experience.	
  It	
  made	
  me	
  think	
  more	
  about	
  what	
  I	
  wrote.”	
  	
  Denyse	
  called	
  this	
  aspect	
  “surprisingly	
  cathartic”	
  and	
  advised	
  any	
  future	
  makers	
  of	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  “to	
  transcribe	
  any	
  written	
  portions	
  themselves,	
  rather	
  than	
  get	
  some	
  sort	
  of	
  printer	
  help	
  (i.e.	
  iron-­‐on	
  transfers,	
  etc.).	
  	
  This	
  is	
  because	
  the	
  very	
  act	
  of	
  slowing	
  down	
  and	
  thinking	
  during	
  the	
  writing	
  is	
  so	
  very	
  meditative	
  and	
  healing.”	
  	
  A	
  useful	
  bit	
  of	
  advice	
  from	
  my	
  own	
  experience	
  that	
  I	
  would	
  offer	
  to	
  prospective	
  makers	
  of	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  concerns	
  seeing	
  beyond	
  the	
  superficial	
   aesthetics	
  of	
  a	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  because	
  its	
  beauty	
  is	
  in	
  its	
  meaning	
  and	
  functionality	
  and	
  in	
  the	
  eye	
  of	
  the	
  beholder.	
  	
  My	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  certainly	
  wouldn’t	
  make	
  it	
  on	
  the	
  runway	
  in	
  Paris	
  or	
  be	
  seen	
  on	
  a	
  supermodel	
  in	
  Vogue	
  Magazine—but	
  I	
  don’t	
  aspire	
  to	
  look	
  like	
  a	
  supermodel,	
  only	
  to	
  be	
  a	
  super	
  role	
  model.	
  	
  	
  In	
  making	
  my	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  there	
  were	
  many	
  small	
  moments	
  when	
  I	
  had	
  to	
  sacrifice	
  style	
  for	
  substance;	
  we	
  are	
  faced	
  with	
  these	
  choices	
  in	
  teaching	
  too.	
  	
  For	
  example,	
  on	
  the	
  bulletin	
  boards	
    90  outside	
  of	
  our	
  classrooms	
  we	
  can	
  hang	
  the	
  drawings	
  created	
  by	
  only	
  our	
  most	
  artistically	
  skilled	
  students,	
  or	
  we	
  can	
  hang	
  all	
  of	
  the	
  artworks	
  to	
  celebrate	
  the	
  truth	
  of	
  the	
  diversity	
  of	
  skills	
  and	
  perspectives	
  of	
  our	
  students.	
  	
  	
  It	
  is	
  important	
  to	
  continue	
  striving	
  for	
  reflexivity	
  in	
  the	
  process,	
  staying	
  alert	
  to	
  how	
  anything	
  one	
  perceives	
  as	
  “mistakes”	
  in	
  our	
  art-­‐making	
  can	
  be	
  analyzed	
  for	
  meaning	
  and	
  rendered	
  into	
  a	
  learning	
  opportunity.	
  	
  There	
  are	
  infinite	
  lessons	
  available	
  to	
  us	
  in	
  creating	
  and	
  thinking	
  about	
  our	
  Teaching	
  Coats.	
  	
  Awakening	
  to	
  and	
  engaging	
  with	
  these	
  lessons	
  is	
  an	
  ongoing	
  process	
  of	
  transformation,	
  in	
  which	
  we	
  may	
  discover	
  our	
  boundaries	
  around	
  our	
  most	
  self-­‐aware	
  and	
  authentic	
  teacher	
  identities.	
  	
  	
   	
    91  Chapter	
  6:	
  Conclusions	
  &	
  Looking	
  Ahead	
   We	
  need	
  new	
  and	
  creative	
  ways	
  to	
  explore	
  and	
  understand	
  our	
  teacher	
  identities,	
  to	
  challenge	
  and	
  perhaps	
  even	
  transform	
  our	
  thinking	
  about	
  what	
  it	
  means	
  to	
  be	
  teaching	
  professionals.	
  	
  	
  We	
  need	
  opportunities	
  to	
  deepen	
  self-­‐awareness	
  through	
  independent	
  and	
  group-­‐supported	
  inquiry.	
  	
  We	
  need	
  to	
  explore	
  the	
  tension	
  at	
  the	
  boundaries	
  of	
  our	
  personal	
  and	
  professional	
  lives,	
  make	
  judgments	
  about	
  where	
  we	
  draw	
  our	
  own	
  lines,	
  and	
  determine	
  strategies	
  for	
  responding	
  when	
  we	
  feel	
  these	
  lines	
  have	
  been	
  crossed.	
  	
  We	
  need	
  to	
  be	
  careful,	
  critical	
  and	
  not	
  cut-­‐off	
  in	
  a	
  personal	
  sense,	
  if	
  we	
  are	
  to	
  connect	
  to	
  our	
  students	
  as	
  authentic	
  beings.	
  	
  All	
  of	
  this	
  is	
  valuable	
  both	
  in	
  itself	
  and	
  because	
  it	
  contributes	
  to	
  effective	
  teaching.	
  	
  	
  The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project	
  is	
  one	
  example	
  of	
  a	
  professional	
  development	
  activity	
  that	
  draws	
  on	
  arts-­‐based	
  research	
  methods,	
  yet	
  there	
  is	
  more	
  we	
  can	
  and	
  must	
  do	
  to	
  support	
  teachers’	
  reflective	
  practice	
  through	
  multiple	
  modalities.	
  	
  Teachers,	
  like	
  all	
  people,	
  deserve	
  opportunities	
  to	
  learn	
  in	
  their	
  own	
  unique	
  ways	
  and	
  in	
  their	
  own	
  time.	
  	
  And	
  students	
  may	
  draw	
  inspiration	
  themselves	
  by	
  seeing	
  their	
  teachers	
  as	
  self-­‐aware,	
  authentic	
  professionals	
  transforming	
  themselves	
  through	
  the	
  learning	
  process.	
  The	
  examples	
  of	
  participants’	
  creative	
  and	
  reflective	
  work	
  explored	
  in	
  this	
  preliminary	
  study	
  speak	
  to	
  the	
  program’s	
  potential	
  as	
  a	
  meaningful	
  teacher	
  development	
  opportunity.	
  	
  The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project	
  is	
  in	
  an	
  early	
  phase,	
  like	
  a	
  new	
  teacher,	
  and	
  it	
  is	
  still	
  discovering	
  its	
  own	
  identity.	
  	
  Through	
  sharing	
  the	
  project	
  with	
  others	
  and	
  gaining	
  their	
  feedback,	
  and	
  particularly	
  through	
  this	
  research,	
  it	
    92  became	
  apparent	
  that	
  more	
  should	
  be	
  done	
  to	
  increase	
  the	
  accessibility	
  of	
  the	
  project	
  and	
  to	
  continually	
  refine	
  and	
  expand	
  The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project	
  program	
  of	
  offerings.	
  The	
  next	
  phase	
  of	
  my	
  work	
  in	
  this	
  project	
  will	
  be	
  to	
  join	
  with	
  others	
  in	
  finding	
  more	
  ways	
  to	
  reach	
  a	
  broader	
  demographic	
  and	
  to	
  collect	
  and	
  reflect	
  on	
  examples	
  of	
  what	
  teachers	
  create	
  and	
  share	
  in	
  the	
  The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project.	
  	
  	
   Challenges	
  At	
  this	
  time,	
  I	
  see	
  the	
  key	
  challenges	
  for	
  the	
  accessibility	
  of	
  The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project	
  as	
  being	
  the	
  following:	
  	
  (1.)	
  Lack	
  of	
  Time:	
  Making	
  a	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  can	
  be	
  time	
  consuming,	
  which	
  is	
  an	
  inherent	
  barrier	
  given	
  the	
  time	
  constraints	
  most	
  teachers	
  face	
  as	
  a	
  result	
  of	
  the	
  complexity	
  and	
  demands	
  of	
  their	
  work.	
  (2.)	
  Lack	
  of	
  Materials:	
  There	
  is	
  no	
  set	
  way	
  to	
  create	
  a	
  Teaching	
  Coat.	
  	
  Yet	
  to	
  follow	
  the	
  examples	
  described	
  in	
  this	
  research,	
  teachers	
  would	
  likely	
  use	
  materials	
  including	
  lab	
  coats,	
  fabric	
  pens,	
  permanent	
  markers,	
  acrylic	
  paints,	
  fabric	
  glue	
  and	
  numerous	
  other	
  found	
  objects.	
  	
  For	
  some,	
  the	
  cost	
  or	
  lack	
  of	
  immediate	
  access	
  to	
  these	
  materials	
  could	
  be	
  prohibitive.	
  	
  	
  (3.)	
  Lack	
  of	
  Interest	
  or	
  Lack	
  of	
  Perception	
  of	
  Value	
  in	
  Arts-­‐based,	
   Introspective,	
  or	
  Philosophical	
  Explorations:	
  The	
  arts-­‐based	
  element	
  is	
  not	
  appealing	
  to	
  some	
  teachers	
  who	
  dislike	
  or	
  feel	
  under-­‐confident	
  in	
  hands-­‐on	
  creative	
  mediums.	
  	
  Similarly,	
  there	
  may	
  be	
  reluctance	
  on	
  the	
  part	
  of	
  some	
  teachers	
  to	
  attend	
  to	
  philosophical	
  or	
  introspective	
  matters,	
  for	
  any	
  variety	
  of	
  reasons.	
  	
  The	
  could	
    93  include	
  any	
  one	
  of	
  the	
  following:	
  lack	
  of	
  interest,	
  different	
  learning	
  or	
  thinking	
  style,	
  prior	
  unpleasant	
  experience	
  in	
  these	
  areas.	
  	
   Opportunities	
  I	
  see	
  opportunity	
  to	
  share	
  and	
  communicate	
  the	
  value	
  of	
  The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project	
  experience	
  in	
  ways	
  that	
  reach,	
  not	
  just	
  the	
  artistically	
  and	
  philosophically	
  inclined,	
  but	
  also	
  those	
  who	
  are	
  not	
  pre-­‐disposed	
  to	
  seek	
  out	
  this	
  type	
  of	
  activity.	
  	
  There	
  is	
  an	
  opportunity	
  to	
  achieve	
  wider	
  appeal,	
  relevancy,	
  and	
  accessibility	
  of	
  this	
  project.	
  	
  I	
  see	
  a	
  need	
  for	
  work	
  to	
  be	
  done	
  to	
  overcome	
  the	
  abovementioned	
  challenges.	
  	
  The	
  following	
  can	
  be	
  starting	
  points:	
  (1.)	
  Increase	
  Support,	
  Target	
  Communications,	
  and	
  Streamline	
  and	
  Expand	
   Offerings:	
  	
  The	
  challenge	
  of	
  lack	
  of	
  time	
  for	
  teachers	
  is	
  complex;	
  but	
  a	
  place	
  to	
  start	
  is	
  with	
  campaigning	
  schools	
  districts	
  and	
  governments	
  to	
  allow	
  for	
  more	
  supported	
  and	
  dedicated	
  teacher	
  professional	
  development	
  throughout	
  the	
  school	
  year.	
  	
  As	
  well,	
  if	
  prospective	
  participants	
  are	
  informed	
  of	
  the	
  benefits	
  of	
  the	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project	
  process,	
  then	
  they	
  may	
  recognize	
  reasons	
  to	
  make	
  the	
  project	
  a	
  priority.	
  	
  As	
  well,	
  some	
  teachers	
  may	
  be	
  able	
  to	
  make	
  the	
  most	
  efficient	
  use	
  of	
  their	
  time	
  and	
  feel	
  better	
  supported	
  in	
  the	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  process	
  if	
  they	
  have	
  readily	
  available	
  support	
  materials,	
  such	
  as	
  a	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  Guidebook.	
  	
  	
  (2.)	
  Increase	
  Sharing	
  of	
  Resourceful	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  Strategies:	
  The	
  cost	
  barriers	
  for	
  some	
  teachers	
  who	
  many	
  want	
  to	
  create	
  a	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  may	
  be	
  overcome	
  by	
  presenting	
  more	
  photographic	
  and	
  written	
  examples	
  of	
  how	
  teachers	
  have	
  creatively	
  used	
  various	
  inexpensive	
  methods	
  and	
  materials	
  including	
  recycled,	
  secondhand	
  and	
  found	
  objects	
  in	
  the	
  making	
  of	
  their	
  own	
  Teaching	
  Coats.	
  	
  Inspiring	
    94  cost-­‐effective	
  examples	
  could	
  be	
  shared	
  online	
  in	
  the	
  free	
  online	
  teachingcoats.com	
  community	
  and	
  other	
  forums.	
  (3.)	
  Increase	
  Research	
  and	
  Communication	
  of	
  the	
  Benefits	
  of	
  Arts-­‐Based,	
   Introspective	
  and	
  Philosophical	
  Explorations:	
  When	
  teachers	
  are	
  not	
  experienced	
  in,	
  comfortable	
  with	
  or	
  convinced	
  of	
  the	
  value	
  of	
  arts-­‐based,	
  introspective	
  or	
  philosophical	
  explorations,	
  they	
  are	
  not	
  likely	
  to	
  be	
  initially	
  drawn	
  to	
  participate	
  in	
  activities	
  such	
  as	
  The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project.	
  	
  However,	
  as	
  Shaun	
  McNiff	
  (2007)	
  reminds	
  us,	
  	
  	
  when	
  difficulties	
  in	
  human	
  experience	
  become	
  deeply	
  lodged	
  within	
  individuals	
  and	
  groups,	
  this	
  is	
  usually	
  a	
  sign	
  that	
  we	
  are	
  stuck	
  in	
  our	
  ways	
  of	
  dealing	
  with	
  them.	
  	
  A	
  shift	
  in	
  methodology	
  can	
  bring	
  tremendous	
  insight	
  and	
  relief.	
  (p.	
  33)	
  	
  	
  This	
  is	
  where	
  increased	
  research	
  and	
  communication	
  about	
  the	
  benefits	
  of	
  these	
  activities	
  play	
  a	
  role.	
  	
  As	
  the	
  popularity	
  of	
  any	
  professional	
  development	
  activity	
  grows,	
  attracting	
  more	
  participants,	
  the	
  quantity	
  and	
  strength	
  of	
  the	
  data	
  supporting	
  its	
  value	
  for	
  participants	
  will	
  grow.	
  	
  	
   In	
  Development	
  As	
  a	
  part	
  of	
  my	
  desire	
  to	
  help	
  The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project	
  serve	
  greater	
  numbers	
  of	
  teachers,	
  I	
  am	
  working	
  on	
  strategies	
  to	
  increase	
  awareness	
  of	
  and	
  interest	
  in	
  the	
  project,	
  with	
  plans	
  to	
  explore	
  opportunities	
  through	
  social	
  media,	
  web-­‐based	
  publication	
  tools,	
  downloadables,	
  and	
  print-­‐on-­‐demand	
  technology.	
  	
  In	
  development	
  now	
  is	
  a	
  more	
  comprehensive	
  program	
  on	
  The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project,	
  aimed	
  to	
  support	
  individuals	
  in	
  self-­‐study	
  as	
  well	
  as	
  workshop	
  presenters	
  who	
    95  facilitate	
  the	
  program	
  with	
  other	
  teachers.	
  	
  The	
  next	
  phases	
  of	
  The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project	
  program	
  offerings	
  will	
  include:	
  (1.)	
  Our	
  Hearts	
  on	
  Our	
  Sleeves:	
  The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project,	
  an	
  art	
  book,	
  which	
  will	
  include	
  an	
  extensive	
  variety	
  of	
  teachers’	
  reflections	
  on	
  and	
  photographs	
  of	
  their	
  newly	
  created	
  Teaching	
  Coats;	
  (2.)	
  The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project	
  Workbook,	
  which	
  will	
  contain	
  step-­‐by-­‐step	
  image-­‐supported	
  instructions	
  and	
  practical	
  information	
  related	
  to	
  fabric	
  arts	
  and	
  mixed-­‐media	
  collage;	
  (3.)	
  The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project	
  Facilitator’s	
  Manual	
  containing	
  information	
  and	
  strategies	
  for	
  leading	
  small	
  and	
  large	
  group	
  workshops	
  covering	
  the	
  background,	
  historical	
  connections,	
  and	
  containing	
  support	
  and	
  strategies	
  for	
  effective	
  dialogue	
  facilitation	
  along	
  with	
  multimedia	
  supports	
  including	
  video	
  and	
  audio;	
  	
  (4.)	
  Teachingcoats.com,	
  the	
  official	
  website	
  of	
  The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project,	
  undergoing	
  expansion	
  in	
  the	
  coming	
  months	
  to	
  include	
  more	
  photo	
  galleries,	
  video	
  tutorials,	
  creative	
  prompts,	
  sample	
  supply	
  lists,	
  templates,	
  and	
  recommended	
  resources.	
   Next	
  Steps:	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  for	
  Social	
  Justice	
  In	
  That’s	
  Funny,	
  You	
  Don’t	
  Look	
  Like	
  a	
  Teacher,	
  Weber	
  and	
  Mitchell	
  (1995)	
  reveal	
  teachers’	
  struggle	
  for	
  identity	
  particularly	
  in	
  contemporary	
  popular	
  culture,	
  arguing	
  that	
  “clothing	
  can	
  be	
  a	
  proclamation	
  of	
  resistance,	
  a	
  mode	
  of	
  innovation	
  or	
  becoming,	
  a	
  reconciliation,	
  a	
  desire	
  to	
  belong,	
  or	
  a	
  surrender”	
  (p.	
  62).	
  	
  I	
  want	
  to	
  do	
    96  more	
  work	
  in	
  the	
  future	
  to	
  explore	
  how	
  a	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  may	
  be	
  a	
  proclamation	
  of	
  resistance	
  and	
  a	
  tool	
  for	
  social	
  justice.	
  Imagine	
  we	
  gave	
  teachers	
  in	
  a	
  diversity	
  of	
  contexts	
  the	
  invitation	
  and	
  opportunity	
  to	
  engage	
  in	
  The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project.	
  	
  This	
  could	
  be	
  a	
  way	
  to	
  tell	
  new	
  stories,	
  draw	
  attention	
  to	
  injustices,	
  and	
  inspire	
  positive	
  change	
  in	
  the	
  world.	
  	
  Another	
  offspring	
  of	
  The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project	
  I	
  envision	
  is	
  an	
  interactive	
  touring	
  gallery	
  exhibit	
  featuring	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  curated	
  for	
  their	
  social	
  justice	
  value.	
  	
  As	
  an	
  example	
  of	
  arts-­‐based	
  activism,	
  these	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  would	
  explore	
  the	
  medium	
  to	
  speak	
  to	
  social	
  justice	
  topics	
  impacting	
  the	
  teacher-­‐artists	
  who	
  make	
  them.	
  	
  Ideally	
  the	
  exhibit	
  would	
  represent	
  the	
  work	
  of	
  teachers	
  from	
  a	
  diversity	
  of	
  geographical	
  regions,	
  cultures,	
  ethnicities,	
  religions,	
  sexual	
  orientations,	
  ages,	
  and	
  abilities.	
  	
  Every	
  day,	
  teachers	
  all	
  over	
  the	
  world	
  work	
  hard	
  for	
  the	
  good	
  of	
  their	
  students,	
  each	
  other,	
  and	
  their	
  communities,	
  while	
  simultaneously	
  facing	
  immediate	
  and	
  broad-­‐reaching	
  challenges,	
  oppression,	
  and	
  inequities,	
  including	
  the	
  political,	
  economic,	
  social,	
  physical,	
  environmental	
  and	
  beyond.	
  	
  What	
  are	
  these	
  teachers’	
  stories,	
  and	
  what	
  might	
  they	
  teach	
  us?	
  	
  	
  What	
  might	
  we	
  learn	
  from	
  a	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  that	
  passed	
  through	
  hands	
  of	
  a	
  dozen	
  Aboriginal	
  teachers	
  and	
  students	
  in	
  a	
  crumbling,	
  underfunded	
  school	
  on	
  a	
  reserve	
  in	
  northern	
  Canada?	
  	
  What	
  would	
  we	
  learn	
  from	
  a	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  created	
  by	
  a	
  transgendered	
  teacher	
  who	
  was	
  fired	
  from	
  his	
  job	
  in	
  an	
  Ontario	
  Catholic	
  school	
  for	
  expression	
  his	
  identity?	
  	
  What	
  would	
  we	
  learn	
  from	
  the	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  of	
  an	
  inner	
  city	
  Detroit	
  teacher	
  who	
  saw	
  firsthand	
  who	
  was	
  left	
  in	
  the	
  wake	
  of	
  “no	
  child	
  left	
    97  behind”?	
  	
  What	
  would	
  we	
  learn	
  from	
  a	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  worn	
  by	
  a	
  teacher	
  in	
  an	
  Acapulco,	
  Mexico	
  protest	
  march	
  against	
  the	
  rampant	
  extortion	
  and	
  violence	
  that	
  shut	
  down	
  her	
  school	
  and	
  hold	
  her	
  community	
  hostage?	
  	
  What	
  might	
  we	
  learn	
  from	
  a	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  mailed	
  in	
  secret	
  by	
  a	
  teacher	
  in	
  a	
  place	
  that	
  is	
  silently	
  screaming	
  for	
  revolution?	
  	
  	
  The	
  next	
  phase	
  of	
  the	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project	
  will	
  be	
  to	
  seek	
  out	
  and	
  highlight	
  the	
  voices	
  of	
  teachers	
  calling	
  for	
  social	
  justice.	
  	
  In	
  this	
  new	
  journey,	
  what	
  will	
  The	
  Teaching	
  Coats	
  Project	
  teach	
  us	
  about	
  ourselves,	
  our	
  students,	
  and	
  our	
  world?	
  	
   	
    98  Epilogue:	
  An	
  Invitation	
   Imagine	
  	
  you	
  own	
  a	
  special	
  coat	
  that	
  has	
  the	
  power	
  to	
  tell	
  your	
  story	
  as	
  teaching	
  professional:	
  this	
  is	
  your	
  very	
  own	
   Teaching	
  Coat.	
  How	
  does	
  it	
  look?	
  Of	
  what	
  is	
  it	
  made?	
  Is	
  there	
  dust	
  in	
  one	
  pocket,	
  and	
  gold	
  in	
  the	
  other	
  to	
  remind	
  you	
  	
  of	
  who	
  you	
  are?	
  What	
  metaphors,	
  	
  meanings,	
  treasures,	
  symbols,	
  memories,	
  and	
  magic	
  does	
  your	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  contain?	
  And	
  how	
  do	
  you	
  choose	
  what	
  to	
  include?	
  What	
  questions	
  and	
  revelations	
  emerge	
  as	
  you	
  create	
  your	
  Teaching	
  Coat?	
  	
  And	
  when	
  you	
  wear	
  it,	
  how	
  does	
  it	
  feel?	
  And	
  when	
  you	
  share	
  it,	
  what	
  aspects	
  do	
  you	
  share?	
    99  	
  What	
  parts	
  of	
  your	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  speak	
  of	
  the	
  gifts	
  	
  that	
  flow	
  from	
  you	
  through	
  your	
  work?	
  What	
  parts	
  of	
  your	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  do	
  you	
  keep	
  for	
  yourself?	
  What	
  does	
  your	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  teach	
  you	
  and	
  others	
  	
  about	
  the	
  world	
  	
  as	
  you	
  see	
  it?	
  Is	
  your	
  Teaching	
  Coat	
  sewn	
  	
  with	
  the	
  threads	
  of	
  who	
  you	
  are,	
  what	
  you	
  believe,	
  	
  why	
  you	
  teach,	
  and	
  and	
  what	
  matters	
  most?	
  Is	
  your	
  Teaching	
  Coat,	
  like	
  you,	
  more	
  than	
  the	
  sum	
  	
  of	
  its	
  parts?	
  What	
  legacy	
  do	
  you	
  leave	
  that	
  you’ve	
  sewn	
  over	
  time,	
  that	
  you	
  wear	
  each	
  day,	
  and	
  that	
  speaks	
  on	
  in	
  your	
  silence?	
  	
    100  Is	
  your	
  Teaching	
  Coat,	
  	
  	
  	
  like	
  your	
  identity,	
  a	
  collage,	
  	
   a	
  work	
  of	
  art?	
  Perhaps	
  now	
  is	
  the	
  time	
  	
  	
  to	
  discover	
  your	
  Teaching	
  Coat:	
  If	
  you	
  look	
  you	
  may	
  see	
  it	
  	
  already	
  hanging	
  	
  in	
  your	
  heart,	
  in	
  your	
  mind,	
  	
  and	
  invisibly	
  on	
  your	
  shoulders,	
  since	
  the	
  day	
  you	
  decided	
  you	
  have	
  always	
  	
  been	
  a	
  teacher.	
  	
  	
  	
    	
  	
   	
    101  Bibliography	
   Bathmaker,	
  A.	
  &	
  Harnett,	
  P.	
  (2010).	
  Exploring	
  learning,	
  identity,	
  and	
  power	
  through	
  	
   life	
  history	
  and	
  narrative	
  research.	
  New	
  York,	
  NY:	
  Routledge.	
  Barone,	
  Tom.	
  (2010).	
  Arts-­‐Based	
  Research.	
  Encyclopedia	
  of	
  Curriculum	
  	
   Studies,	
  pp.	
  43-­‐45.	
  Retrieved	
  November	
  29,	
  2011,	
  from	
  www.sage-­‐	
  ereference.com.ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/view/curriculumstud	
  Beauchamp,	
  B.	
  &	
  Thomas,	
  L.	
  (2009).	
  Understanding	
  teacher	
  identity:	
  An	
  overview	
  of	
  	
  issues	
  in	
  the	
  literature	
  and	
  implications	
  for	
  teacher	
  education.	
  Cambridge	
  	
   Journal	
  of	
  Education,	
  39	
  (2),	
  pp.	
  175-­‐189.	
  Bresenhan,	
  K.	
  P.	
  (Juror).	
  (2010)	
  500	
  art	
  quilts:	
  An	
  inspiring	
  collection	
  of	
  	
   contemporary	
  work.	
  NY:	
  Lark	
  Crafts,	
  an	
  imprint	
  of	
  Sterling	
  Publishing	
  Co.,	
  Inc.	
  Brookfield,	
  S.D.	
  (2006).	
  Authenticity	
  and	
  power.	
  New	
  Directions	
  for	
  Adult	
  and	
  	
   Continuing	
  Education,	
  111,	
  pp.	
  5-­‐16.	
  Brown,	
  K.	
  M.	
  (2005).	
  Transformative	
  adult	
  learning	
  strategies:	
  Assessing	
  the	
  impact	
  	
  on	
  pre-­‐service	
  administrators’	
  beliefs.	
  Educational	
  considerations,	
  32	
  (2),	
  pp.17-­‐26.	
  Bruner,	
  J.	
  (1990).	
  Acts	
  of	
  meaning.	
  Cambridge,	
  MA:	
  Harvard	
  University	
  Press.	
  Chong,	
  S.	
  (2011).	
  Development	
  of	
  teachers'	
  professional	
  identities:	
  From	
  pre-­‐service	
  	
  to	
  their	
  first	
  year	
  as	
  novice	
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    107  Appendices	
   Appendix	
  A:	
  Ethics	
  Approval	
   	
   	
       The University of British Columbia Office of Research Services Behavioural Research Ethics Board Suite 102, 6190 Agronomy Road, Vancouver, B.C. V6T 1Z3 CERTIFICATE OF APPROVAL - MINIMAL RISK  PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: INSTITUTION / DEPARTMENT: UBC BREB NUMBER: Michelle Stack UBC/Education/Educational Studies H11-02805 INSTITUTION(S) WHERE RESEARCH WILL BE CARRIED OUT:  Institution Site N/A N/A  CO-INVESTIGATOR(S): Tiffany Alexandria Poirier SPONSORING AGENCIES: N/A PROJECT TITLE: The Teaching Coats Project CERTIFICATE EXPIRY DATE:  January 31, 2013 DOCUMENTS INCLUDED IN THIS APPROVAL: DATE APPROVED:  January 31, 2012 Document Name Version Date Protocol: Interview Session 1 Procedures 1 November 9, 2011 Interview Session 2 Procedures 1 November 9, 2011 Consent Forms: Consent Form 2 January 12, 2012 Advertisements: Email Notification of Selection 1 January 12, 2012 Email Notification of Non-Selection 1 January 12, 2012 Introductory Email to Listserve 1 January 12, 2012 Email Response to Request for Information 1 January 12, 2012 Letter of Initial Contact: Initial Contact Letter 2 January 12, 2012   The application for ethical review and the document(s) listed above have been reviewed and the procedures were found to be acceptable on ethical grounds for research involving human subjects.   This study has been approved either by the full Behavioural REB or by an authorized delegated reviewer  

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