In this article, the authors draw on narrative portraiture to inquire into the family, school, community, and teacher education experiences of two novice teachers who teach in schools located in two rural communities in the southeastern United States. The authors show how their university teacher education classes and field experiences neither addressed nor supported these teachers’ identities as rural teachers. In doing so, the authors highlight how these teachers desired to be connected personally and professionally to the communities in which they teach. From these narrative portraits, the authors argue that identity and relationship exist synergistically within these teachers’ lives and experiences. Drawing on such synergy is critical to attracting preservice teachers to and retaining novice teachers in schools within rural communities. Based on their interpretations, the authors offer suggestions for how teacher educators can better prepare preservice teachers who intend to teach within such schools.
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