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Beginning to Teach: A Time for Becoming and Belonging

Cathal de Paor
Mary Immaculate College, Faculty of Education, Limerick, Ireland
Abstract—Newly-qualified teachers are required to act as members of a collective teaching body, adhering to the standardised professionalism expected from all teachers in that body. At the same time, they must develop themselves as individual teachers [1]. Induction programmes are available in many countries to help teachers negotiate this time of transition in a teacher’s professional life. The support ranges from personal to social to professional. In line with a ‘situated learning’ perspective, new teachers learn to ‘fit in’ and adjust to the prevailing school and professional culture [2]. But the newly-qualified teacher (NQT) also needs to actively construct his/her own professionality, in line with his/her own values, beliefs, needs, etc. This is particularly important from a critical constructivist perspective [3]. This paper draws on a post-observation meeting between a newly-qualified teacher and her mentor. The results show that the NQT is engaged in a process of both belonging and becoming. She must strive to adjust and belong to her new professional community, while also following her own pathway to becoming the kind of teacher she is capable of becoming, thereby realising her potential. 
 
Index Terms—mentoring, newly-qualified teacher, becoming, belonging

Cite: Cathal de Paor, "Beginning to Teach: A Time for Becoming and Belonging," International Journal of Learning and Teaching, Vol. 3, No. 3, pp. 202-206, June 2017. doi: 10.18178/ijlt.3.3.202-206
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