UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Portrait of a teacher : stories that won't go away Hill, Peter James


Teachers tell stories—whether it’s Little Red Riding Hood in a kindergarten class or Hamlet in English 12. It’s a teacher’s job, especially an English teacher’s job, to tell stories to students. To write the stories teachers tell each other is difficult enough, but there are other stories a teacher secretly tells him or herself year after year that are more difficult to tell. Deep in the recesses of a teacher’s memory, these stories persevere and occasionally surface. These too are instructive and go to the heart of what it means to teach. This thesis explores the relationship between these stories and how a teacher understands his/her practice. Using autoethnography as a method, these autobiographical memoirs are told first as artistic expressions, and then analyzed to tease out patterns in the author’s pedagogical development. The implication for other teachers is that they can tell their own “stories that won’t go away” and, in doing so, question the way they teach their own students. The first chapter of the dissertation discusses the use of autoethnography as a methodology for telling these stories. The second chapter includes 13 stories and three poems about my development as a student and a teacher. The third and last chapter reflects on these stories and traces the patterns behind the stories to see how they affect me as a teacher.

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