AMBIGUOUS PRESENCE: (RE)SEARCHING THE NEGOTIATIONS OF BE(COM)ING TEACHER

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AMBIGUOUS PRESENCE:(RE)SEARCHING THE NEGOTIATIONS OF BE(COM)ING TEACHER

ABSTRACT

The textual space of this dissertation is performative and fluid; using the metaphors of yoga and glasswork, I invite multiple voices and bodies to enter into the Om of a collective and tangled interrogation of the experiences of be(com)ing Teacher.  By openly piecing the voices and stories of those be(com)ing Teacher, both my own and those pre-service teachers I work with, I offer opportunity for rearrangement and layering of the (un)broken windows of perception.  I invite the reader to join me in the fluid fusing of insight –  Sel(f)es melting into Other(s) as we move collectively across a landscape of the (un)known moment of be(com)ing.  This (re)searching process is not meant to be comfortable as one negotiates across open and shifting spaces – but in the dis/comfort new ways of seeing are exposed.  These spaces are pedagogical, offering one the opportunity to allow his/her voice to echo, reverberating experience until it can be viewed as a new and hopeful possibility belonging to all who journey through the textual space

of living inquiry.

 

Across the landscape of this dissertation I offer a/r/tographical methods (de Cosson, A., 2002; de Cossen&Irwin, 2004; Springgay,Irwin & Wilson, 2004; Springgay, 2003) as a means to shake up traditional notions of what it means to do (re)search.  Awakening to the presence of the breath across moments of be(com)ing Teacher, I offer a space for collective and performative (re)search that exists in the openings and folds that evolve through dialogue.  Moving through the collective dialogue, I consider the ways in which my/sel(f)es and my students negotiate across the landscape of the academy’s un/spoken demands for a named identity of character of Teacher to perform in the classroom and how I might I help them move through this space of dis/comfort so that they might find a

 

sense of praxis amidst the emotional and political space of teaching?   I do not seek to answer these questions; rather, I seek to acknowledge the pedagogical possibility that arises when one begins to open the spaces of the silent ordinary – happening everyday, but spoken of rarely – to the act of living and performative inquiry.  Perhaps as we continue in our journey as educators, fused fragments of our blended and shifting stories might lead to a sense of acknowledgement or agency within structures that seek to silence the stories.  It is through the Om of the (un)spoken dialogue that we are able to interrogate the movements of be(com)ing Teacher, letting go of attachments and acknowledging desires.  Through the motions of a present and performative dialogue we create openings where multiple voices can begin to shift or disrupt meaning inviting us to

embrace the possibility in what we have been and what we might be/come.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table of Contents

Chapter I: Entering into the Om………………………………………………. 1

(re)Turning in hope ………………………………………………………………….1

Through pain and pleasure: movements of be(com)ing …………………………. 5

Fragments of sel(f)es …………………………………………………………….  10

Fragmented be(com)ing …………………………………………………………  12

Aparigraha:  the possibilities of letting go ………………………………………. 13

Be/coming present – pedagogy of the breath(e) ………………………………….17

(Un)marking the journeyed landscape ……………………………………………..19

Fragmentation ………………………23

Chapter II: (Re)marking the Om  ………………………………………………24

Postures of possibility: opening up to the moment  ……………………………… 24

“We began in the midst. We end in the midst” ……………………………………27

Shattering the I Story: finding collective fragments of the moving (un)known …. 35

(un)Broken truths ………………………………………………………………….39 Fluid postures of fragmentation ………………………………………………….. 43

(un)Charting the journey of the OM ………………………………………………..47

Present sel(f)se …………………………………………………………………… 48

Embodied (un)knowing……………………………………………………………56

Fragmentation………………………..58

Chapter III: With/in the (re)search……………………………………………. 59

Windows …………………………………………………………………………. 59

A/r/tography ……………………………………………………………………….60

(Re)turning to the Performance: theatrical representations of teacher ……………65 Inter(play)tations of being difference ……………………………………………. 68 Fused fragmentation of the (un)known experience ……………………………… 72

Textual representations of teaching and learning sel(f)es ……………………….  75

Visual representations of be(com)ing ……………………………………………. 78 Getting ‘lost’ in the response …………………………………………………….. 81 (Im)possibilities of the fragmented dialogue …………………………………….. 82

Mindful multiplicities ……………………………………………………………. 83 Fragmentation…………………… 88

  Interlude: Stepping Back in Time: what happened to who, when, in the  be(com)ing?  ………………………… 89

 

Scene I: ………………………………………………………………………………………… 90

Scene II: ……………………………………………………………………………………….. 91

 

Scene III: ……………………………………………………………………………………….. 92

 

Fragmentation ………………….   95

Chapter IV:  Be/coming to Teacher …………………………………………… 96 Stepping on to the mat …………………………………………………………… 96

Movements toward a desire remembered ………………………………………. 100

Rejections of performing the (un)known sel(f)e ………………………………… 104 Warm ups – dreaming of the (im)possible ……………………………………… 107 Vigorous Breath –ambivalent excitement ………………………………………. 110

Playing Teacher …………………………………………………………………. 113

Searching: going from one place to the next ……………………………………. 117

Bodily reverberations – holding on with/in discomfort ………………………….120 Broken gazes  ……………………………………………………………………………..125

Movements of spoken (be)longing ……………………………………………… 128                                                                      Fragmentation ………….………. 133

Chapter V: Fused Imag/ination ………………………………………………..134 Looking toward the reflections of Teacher ………………………………………134

Sel(f)es evolutions ………………………………………………………………. 135

Choosing new voices to enter the OM ………………………………………….. 140

Un/collected Sel(f)es ……………………………………………………………. 141 Conformed openings ……………………………………………………………..143 Recognition ………………………………………………………………………150

Verses …………………………………………………………………………….155

Inter/twined conclusions …………………………………………………………161

Fragmentation ………………….. 164 Chapter VI: Breathing Witness: Per/formative Testimony as (re)Turning to

Possibility: my/sel(f)es storied …………………………………………………………….165

Journeying through the (in)scripted self ………………………………………….167

(un)comfortable Positions ………………………………………………………..172

Scripting the (un)known ………………………………………………………….175

Reverberating possibilities of the (un)recognizable …………………………….. 180

Seeking sel(f)es …………………………………………………………………. 184

(un)truthful be/Longing …………………………………………………………. 187

An (un)certain gaze toward sel(f)es …………………………………………….  191 Per/forming whose desire, where? ……………………………………………….194

Witnessing the movements of (im)possibility ……………………………………196

Fragmentation ………………….. 200

Chapter VII: In(con)clusion – Savasana ………………………………………201

Rigorous experience …………………………………………………………….. 201

(Re)turning to the breathe ……………………………………………………….. 207 Awakening and wondering ……………………………………………………….212

Amidst a hopeful concl/(f)usion ………………………………………………… 216

References ……………………………………………………………………… 219

Chapter I Entering into the OM

 (re)Turning in hope

There are shards of glass

Broken windows upon my memory

of being                                                           Teacher

a whirling of what

could have been                                              or that which never was

or was

my desire

I look at the faces of Teacher                          mine

or yours                                                or theirs

But the images are cracked

the possibilities

perhaps

only ending in what I thought

I lost

and so

in loss                   I begin

the journey again                                                      to find hope amidst                                                                        the chasms of experience, emotion       and thought                                      echoing across the darkness                                                    bouncing upon the psyche                 new

lights are

born                 reflecting the image

of what could be                                                         upon the shards of what we remember

 

 

( re)searching fragments The yogic journey guides us from our periphery, the body, to the center of our being, the soul.  The aim is to integrate the various layers so that the inner divinity shines out through clear glass.  (Iyengar, 3)

 

She arrived early that morning in the attempt to move past those feelings of powerlessness and fear.  Two weeks of freedom after what seemed way to short of a winter break, but now she was back.  No matter how much she did not want to be there she new she had her responsibilities – to the children, the administration … she could not leave.

As she set herself to write the days agenda on the board she found herself overwhelmed with a feeling that she could neither place nor name.  Vivika, her mentor, who questioned all this young teacher had ever dreamed of in her visions of education stepped through the door.  At that moment the darkness began to lower its veil upon her vision and the young teacher had to sit down, knowing that otherwise she would fall and there was no way that she would lose control in front of this woman who she felt held all she believed in such great disdain.

Vivika:  Are you alright?  You didn’t eat breakfast did you?

Young Teacher: (to herself: just like you to make the negative assumption) No, no I am fine, probably just low blood sugar.

Of course this is what she is saying, but inside every fiber of her being shakes as she tries to keep herself from breaking in front of this woman who claims superiority.

Vivika: I will go get the nurse

The young teacher makes attempts at normal breathe, nodding her head – desperate for the arrival of the school nurse, Marcia.  She trusts Marcia, who has just arrived this year, but she is older and confident and has no problem saying what she thinks and people seem to respect this.  The young teacher, too continues to try to say and do what she believes is right – yet somehow she feels that nothing is accomplished and in fact her power dwindles further.  Marcia arrives and the young teacher feels a sense of relief but also a rush of the grief that must of pressed its veil upon her vision; she is safe now.  Tears begin to flow down her face and she cannot catch her breathe – and she knows she cannot escape.

Marcia: It looks to me like you had an anxiety attack

Young Teacher:  I don’t know I just feel so funny

Marcia:  You can go if you need to, I will let them know that you need a substitute because you are sick…But you are miserable here, have you thought of leaving.

The young teacher things to herself, if only you knew – but then where would I go?  What would I do?

 

 

 

Dear Young Teacher,

I remember you, breath shallow as you used every ounce you had to tread the waters of the educational system you had been thrown in.  Nothing could have prepared you for that, or so you thought.  Each attack that you had was built upon your own sense of failure as you saw your every desire whither across a pedagogical landscape that was not your own.

I cannot save you, I cannot return your desires so that you might once again step into a classroom of your own and I cannot silence those who silenced you.  But I know I have a responsibility to you and it is with this sense of responsibility that I write – sharing my story of being both teacher and teacher educator as I weave through the stories of those pre-service teachers I work with.  I want to be with their negotiations, helping them become more aware – in a manner that you could not.  I could not give you what you needed, but perhaps by offering up space for the dialogue of the experience of be(com)ing Teacher they might begin to move through the discourses that position them, aware that they are not alone.  Maybe, if they enter into a collective conversation of experience they might find their breath that which you so long ago lost.

I have moved forward young teacher, but you remain forever in my memory as I remember that I was you and you are me.  I write this letter seeking to offer spaces for active movement within those borders that we for so long dreamt of crossing.  I admit, this work, this research that I do is problematic as it arises from my own desire to discover that which I could name along my own journey of being teacher.  Yet it is this same problematizing that offers opportunities to get lost within the fragments of story and desire, finding new paths and ways of knowing those discourses that shape our subjectivities.

I can finally breathe now, but my breath is now one of fluid awareness – where desire is fleeting and possibility is plentiful.

 

Love, Sarah

Through pain and pleasure: movements of be(com)ing

The light that yoga sheds on Life is something special.  It is transformative.  It does not just change the way we see things; it transforms the person who sees.  It brings knowledge and elevates us to wisdom (Iyengar, xxi)

 

The life of be(com)ing Teacher is one that moves through the spaces of multiple moments of struggle and delight.  Like the yogi moving through postures, the pre-service teacher may find her body shaking as she strives to align herself – finding difficulty in the poses; however, she may also find herself moving joyful across the space as she breathes through postures that both energize and delight.   Our society tells us we must name these movements of experience; however, there is possibility that arises when we let go of the attachment to naming and instead embrace the varied nature of experience as it exists for those who are or have been Teacher[1] .  Throughout this dissertation, I strive to examine both the struggles and delights of be(com)ing Teacher – acknowledging the multiple facets of experience, while tangling the understanding of experience with the voices of those who travel across similar landscapes, so that we might enter into a collective OM through dialogue that invites relationship. I offer a/r/tographical methods (de Cosson, A., 2002; de Cossen&Irwin, 2004; Springgay,Irwin & Wilson, 2004; Springgay, 2003) as a means to (re)turn to the experience, breaking through traditional modes of understanding what it means to be with/in experience.  Using the yogic breath,[2] I explore those stories that offer a glimpse of the desire and struggle for agency within the space of being a new teacher, from varied facets of awareness.

The yogic breathe[3] and these facets of awareness I mention, arise from two metaphors that will be used across the landscape of this dissertation as a means to offer shared “points of departure” (Pente, 2005, p. 93) from which we might begin our journey of exploring across the landscape of be(com)ing Teacher.  The first metaphor I draw on is that of the practice of yoga.  It is this practice that offers up enlightenment, but an enlightenment that goes beyond the notion of a Truth; instead embracing inner and outward awareness and fluidity of being.  The practice of yoga is a practice of possibility; however, like the work of be(com)ing Teacher, yoga is a practice in which individuals experience both struggle as they work through postures that are not always comfortable, and joy as the body finds itself awakened with newfound energy. Postures as considered by Iyengar (1976) are movements of reflection and being as one works through making sense of the world.  These postures are not simply physical movements, but rather exist also as responses of the mind, thoughts that become embodied connecting the facets of sel(f)es with the physical world. The second metaphor that pieces together across the dissertation is that of the fused glass.  Fusing glass is a process of fluidity as variations of glass are cut and shattered, yet these fragments join together into something seemingly concrete and unified through the heat of momentary insight or the kiln. The pieces that result are varied based on the way in which fragments are positioned, many times the pieces are seem as jewelry, ready to be worn and recognized; however, the fused piece is glass, fragile and fluid, easily broken and (re)pieced together across time.  As one engages in the work of be(com)ing Teacher she arrives like a piece of fused glass, fragments of experience have come together to shape her subjectivity; yet subjectivity is fleeting as one’s truths may be shattered by multiple realities and moments of experience.  The shattering of an image/ined self does not mean the end as some might fear, but rather offers opportunities for re/piecing one’s sense of sel(f)es with/in the world.  Both the practice of yoga and the fusing of glass are personal, projects of which I have across time found myself engaged in.  Through my own active involvement in these projects, I began to explore my own understandings of the negotiations of one be(com)ing Teacher and it is from that space which I begin, a space explored by both Pente (2005) and Lakoff and

Johnson (1980) who note:

Just as in mutual understanding we constantly search out commonalities of experience when we speak with other people, so in self-understanding we are always searching for what unifies our own diverse experiences in order to give coherence to our lives.  Just as we seek out metaphors to highlight and make coherent what we have in common with someone else, so we seek out personal metaphors to highlight  and make coherent our own pasts, our present activities, and our dreams, hopes and goals as well…Self understanding requires unending negotiation and renegotiation of the meaning of your experiences to yourself (232-233).

 

Beginning perhaps with the personal, I want to move into a collective and pedagogical space of possibility and as such, I use the metaphors of the yogic practice and fusing of glass as a way to engage a collective search for meaning – that draws on both personal and public ways of constructing meaning.

Across the landscape of this dissertation, I move to shake up traditional notions of what it means to do research, instead offering a space for collective (re)search that exists in the openings and folds (Irwin, 2003) that evolve through dialogue -inviting one to engage with image and text as it exists within the pores of their own being with/in experience.  The OM might be entered into through the multiple openings and breaks as each reader embarks on her own path, a path that might embrace image, poetry, or prose as her chosen terrain or perhaps she might engage with the multiple forms of (re)searching that take place across the landscape of this dissertation. I offer up my own stories of being Teacher and teacher educator, as well as those stories of the pre-service teachers I work with; each story leaves space for both loss and possibility, offering fragments to be rearranged and reflected upon as we consider how teachers find themselves both shaped and alienated within education.  It is across these caverns of (re)searching that one can not find insight in isolation – my voice cannot exist alone.

Within and outside each chapter, other voices may enter in, real or imagined – as I invite the dialogue of those pre-service teachers who move through the postures of be(com)ing Teacher.  I attempt to make each voice visible by using various fonts, to illustrate intention, person, voice, and emotion as we help one another find direction along the journey. There are moments where my voice joins that of the pre-service teacher as I pull their words, cutting and rearranging, creating poetry as a means to offer new spaces for perspective.  Images too, hold still at moments but are easily broken to expose new meaning with/in the movement of be(com)ing teacher.  I invite you to infuse the text with your own ways of meaning making and storytelling, to enter into the dialogue of pedagogical possibility.  The poetry, image, and other textual renderings of experience evolve to become something entirely different as each reader begins her[4] own journey through the performative spaces of the text.   It is my hope that as we continue in our journey as teacher educators, our blended stories of be(com)ing and teaching Teacher, might lead to a sense of acknowledgement or agency within structures that seek to silence the stories.  As we speak of the movements of be(com)ing Teacher, might we embrace the possibility that exists in what we have been and what we might be/come.  I invite you to enter with me into this textual space of inquiry (Richardson, 2000), where in the writing we might find ourselves with/in the complications of understanding and being.  Research exists across multiple contexts, shaped through the subjectivity and intention of those telling and seeking story.  Springgay (2004) observes that “Postmodern and psychoanalytic theories maintain that subjectivities are inherently unfixed, unknowable, and uncertain”(60). There is no possibility for prediction, there are no connections that might remain concrete; instead the nature of knowing is one that demands a sense of openness to the possibilities of the present and the fluid existence of the past.  As Valerie Janesick (2000) identifies in her metaphorical exploration of research as choreography, the story searched is one of improvisation, evolving over the course of moments.  In searching, the selves of artist, teacher, and researcher collide in the discomforting space of un/knowing.  Truth, that has for so long been recognized as that which holds pedagogic value within the telling space becomes fragmented, slipping in and out of the subjectivities of multiple voices.  As these voices come together in a cacophony of storied selves, pedagogy evolves becoming something outside the hegemony of a starving society desperate for Truth.  Through the fragmented lens of stories, there is more to be seen; in naming my/self as artist, researcher, and teacher, I find myself wandering through a space crowded with the vividness of my own and others’ intention, desire, and definition.  There is a yogic quality to such a space of inquiry, as knowing moves fluidly, inviting individual and collective attention to the moment.

Embracing the spiritual nature of inquiry with/in pedagogy and research, I seek to honor its patterns by offering up textual renderings of the frayed and fragmented layers of being as one seeks understanding across experience.  Stories become intertwined, through the space and text honoring the multiplicity of knowing across and through multiple contexts and subjectivities, spaces are opened to invite new writing of experience to enter into the movement, and reality becomes tangled within the deformed nature of being of the world.  Each complication of the known invites the OM, that which binds the breathing self to other – so that we might grow, nourished by the confusion and beauty of the collective experience.

 

Fragments of sel(f)es

As the main goal of the dissertation I seek to ask: what are the experiences through the movements of being and becoming Teacher? – not as a means to define clear plans to erase these struggles or even to find a distinct answer.  Rather the asking arises out of the desire to create pedagogical openings that are alive. Openings, that as Judith Robertson (1997) notes in her own exploration of pedagogy, create space for full involvement of the self; both the flesh and the psyche dance upon the pages of the journey – breathing life into the experience. The pedagogical asking  works as a means to open up a textual space that invites reflexivity across the ordinary and helps one regain a sense of agency within the echoes that reverberate (Luce-Kapler, 1997; Norman, 2000; Irwin, 2004) through the emotions of silence, pleasure and being, even within the broken caverns of those ambiguous losses that cannot be named.  As I consider the postures of be(com)ing Teacher I find myself conflicted, now an educator of pre-service teachers I still (re)turn to my own, at times clouded, experiences of being Teacher.

My days as an elementary school teacher were miserable; daily I found myself drawn to help my students, to stand up to the injustice that existed in the systems of administration, to prove to myself and others that I was a good teacher as I tried on new ways of accepting and attempting to move within my position as Teacher. But the days slowly faded into one another, and as each experience passed one into the other, I found that I too was fading.  I did my best to speak what I believed, but my voice became softer, my body clenched to prevent the tears from flowing and my patience with those students I felt responsible for became nothing less than forced.  The struggle had overtaken me and I felt there was little I could do.  5

 

                                               

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Throughout the course of my research I reflect on my own (past and present)  experiences as I seek to make sense of my present experiences and those of my students.  These reflections are written in the Bradley hand font as a way to separate my own reflections.

My struggle is relevant and worth (re)turning to as a means to enter into the discussion of be(com)ing Teacher, but I must tread carefully upon the shards of my own memory as I invite students to consider the notion of Teacher.  My memory is clouded with emotion as I still find myself at times searching for a voice with/in my past; I must be careful not to imprint this desire upon my students, clouding their own experiences of be(com)ing Teacher. While my conflict as a teacher educator begins to fuse across the strands of the naming oneself as Teacher; there is often an inner sense of turmoil – pleasure, conflict, and confusion collide as one finds oneself seeking and being asked to be named amidst a space of ambiguity and desire. With/in this space, I consider:  how might I, a teacher educator, best meet the needs of the pre-service teachers I work with?  They too have dreams, those that are both as meaningful and as flimsy as my own.  But there are multiple factors that I must address to help them become the teachers that they want to be.  Each student arrives having developed some image of the teacher they want to be; however, these images are different, rooted in past experiences that vary across class, culture, and place.  As I seek to attend to the needs of my pre-service teachers, I find myself returning again and again to the question, what is it my students experience as they seek to define themselves as Teacher amidst the academy’s un/spoken demands for a named identity or character to perform within the classroom and how might I help them move through this space of dis/comfort so that they might find a sense of praxis amidst the emotional space of teaching[5] ?

 

Fragmented be(com)ing

In a recent call for papers in the journal Educational Insights, a question was posed: “are we educating teachers out of education?”  This is an especially powerful question to consider when reflecting on how pre-service teachers attempt to name themselves, and how we as teacher educators encourage them to look at these names.  To consider the idea of being teacher, it is important to explore the multiple facets of self that are involved in the ambiguous movements of be(com)ing Teacher:  how does one respond, what are the variations of response, why might they exist?  I share my own story, but in the sharing, the fragments of various voices fuse together; the teacher educator, the pre-service teacher, beginning teacher, and all those interactions that shape the subjectivity of self and other within the context of the classroom begin to lay remnants of their own perceptions across the landscape of be(com)ing Teacher.

I ask students during our class introduction meetings to share why it is that they have chosen to enter into the field of education.  There is often a sense of hesitancy as they search for responses that are varied.  This hesitancy reflects the complexity of the position they have chosen to pursue, (Bolotin & Joseph, 1994) – teaching is an exceedingly complex profession that is imagined in the technical, political, and emotional.  Even those who find themselves ‘called’ to teach must ask, where is it this calling comes from?   There is a tangling that occurs as one begins to move, with the breathe of awareness, through the personal and political spaces of be(com)ing teacher.

 

 

 

Aparigraha:  the possibilities of letting go

Energy needs to flow, or its source withers.  By covetousness or miserly clinging on, we stop energy from flowing, from creating more energy, and eventually, by this offence against a natural law, it is we who are impoverished and poisoned by our own hoarding of life’s riches (Iyengar, 254).

 

In yogic philosophy there exists a value of aparigraha, meaning nonpossessiveness or nonattachment to things, people, places, and ideas.  By letting go of attachment, one is freed from the burden of want – able to move to new levels of enlightenment, somehow knowing that upon no level will one remain for long (BHAGAVAD-GITA).  My desire to hold tight to the stories I claim as my own is wrapped deeply within the chasms of my own subjectivity, yet aparigraha allows me to release these stories so that they might become something else. As a postmodern artist, researcher and teacher I want to open up spaces so that multiple truths might enter into the OM, yet there are moments when I find myself desperately attached to a singular meaning of experience seeking to claim the experience as it was for me within a given moment:

To let go  of attachment

the experience may  lose the meaning

I have placed upon                           it,

with that loss                               of meaning,

I fear

I will lose loved

aspects of myself

the possibility for freeing  voice   body  once silenced         during the moment  of the lived experience.   Clinging

desperately  to a single facet               momentary Truth

I miss

opportunities            unable

to move            beyond the barriers

of a single story

unable

to develop   relationship with

Other

 instead I remain     silent
    alone  

I speak

my words schizophrenic

holding

momentary meaning                                    for me

alone

unintelligible                  to anyone

who

I do not let in.

Possessed

my boundaries tight                                    allowing

few

rays of the fluid story  to enter  sealing the porous spaces

of being

freezing movement

turning

through what

I have known  Caught  in my attachment  there is no room

to connect  grow

I am  forever trapped in the waters of silent narcissism.[6]

 

 

The yogic philosophy of aparigraha offers both the teacher educator and she who is be(com)ing Teacher, the possibility of moving beyond those myths that shape ones perception of what should be, as we are able to  let go of absolutes and begin to be present to all that is going on around us.  Aparigraha arises from the breathe, as one releases that which might once have been clenched within a holding pattern.  Through the concept of aparigraha one is called upon to detach the self from possession of both thing and experience, relieving herself of greedy ways and thus discovering new energy.  There is value in this work of non/possession as we consider the pedagogical possibilities of the collective story as it might begin to weave across the textual terrain of shared experience, inviting one to let go or at least recognize preconceived notions of what is true.   It is through aparigraha that might allow one to become present with/in the story; releasing the tight grip upon those ‘loved’ aspects of the experience and the self.  I consider this first from the perspective of my/self, once a beginning teacher, the writer who begins the sharing by clinging to her tale. Yet I can open the pedagogical space by admitting that my work arises from my own attachment to those experiences of struggle that have shaped my understanding of myself.  I want to disrupt this attachment to that which I perceive as my own personal truth as a means to move beyond the singular experience opening space for movement and possibility. My experimentation of aparigraha within the textual landscape releases the need for protective isolation, inviting both myself and the reader to perform varied possibilities of understanding what it means to be(come) Teacher.

 

 

 

Be/coming present – pedagogy of the breath(e)

Perhaps by embracing the postures of entanglement, by entering into a dialogue of experience and possibility, we might invite teacher educators, beginning and pre-service teachers to move beyond the isolation of the unsaid along their search for position within a complex profession. The embrace engages a collective strength so that they might have the choice to stay, claiming agency with/in the ambiguity, moving in hope across the context of evolving experiences of being and becoming Teacher.  Throughout this dissertation we will not arrive at answers, instead our postures will begin to flow into a place of pedagogical possibility – that which arises when one begins to breathe through the spaces of the silent ordinary, becoming attentive to the movements thus embracing the act of living inquiry. The questions that I move to occupy and invite the reader to enter into begin as I explore the experiences of our/sel(f)es as Teacher.  The exploration is one of reflection; by weaving spaces for the un/known upon the textual landscape, I seek to create openings where multiple voices can begin to shift or disrupt meaning, thus opening the windows of dialogue.

I begin to write, to negotiate my place within questioning, a (s)p(l)ace is similar to Lather’s (2003) notion of research striving to be that which vacillates “between knowing and not knowing” (p.265).  It is in this vacillation  amongst and  between the complexities  of life’s entwinement with/in the moving circles of experience that I

find my/self seeking purpose and (awareness of) position.   It is as I make myself present

to the tangles            of the moment,  that I might find

peace (Thich Naht Hahn, 2001, p. 19),   rooting and honoring myself within those moments in which my understanding may become more than simply knowledge, becoming something that transcends Truth.  Moving toward this spiritual place of enlightenment, I seek to bow to those possible ways of being and knowing that intersect at the prism of creation – allowing for transformation, justice, beauty and movement through the spaces of a life lived.  But how is it that I might journey along this spiritual terrain of understanding?  I speak of terrain rather than destination as I perceive the spiritual nature of research as pedagogy from the poststructuralist position discussed by Butler (1992) – that which shifts

across contexts

as the subjectivity

of my/self as researcher

existing and

interacting with the powerful echoes of all those moments of my past, present, and desires for the future.  The spirituality of being and understanding is one recognized by Irigaray (2002) as evolving and incomplete; I am teacher, researcher, artist, writer, student – one moving in and out of the other, balanced and askew – seeking my/self with/in those traumas that have been inscribed upon my body (Slatterly, 2000; Davies, 2000) and continue to impact my perceptions and practices.  With/in my seeking I “… must try to connect the here and now of today, this present moment of our life, to the reality of yesterday and tomorrow” (Irigaray, p.21).  It is in the space of this paper that I wish to explore the possibilities, those practices of multiple and blurred genre (Barone,

2001; Richardson, 2000) that are never fixed – but rather react to the shifts of         nature and soul                soul and nature nature soul shifting

that might allow my understanding to reach a conscious place of fluid enlightenment.  A fluidity of spirituality and insight that allows me, the researcher to establish connection and relationship with/in time and (s)p(l)ace, with an other – inviting and joining the dialogue of the reader as we explore what it means to be in the world through our movements and words.

 

(Un)marking the journeyed landscape

Each chapter, across the textual landscape of this dissertation, offers spaces to engage with sel(f)es across multiple experiences of re/searching the negotiations of be(com)ing Teacher.  The spaces of engagement exist across the landscape and continue between each chapter as create intentional pauses for reflective fragmentation and preparation for the next step.  Chapter two, (Re)marking the OM, offers a means to open the door to the spiritual aspects of the negotiations of be(com)ing.  I invite the reader, to move beyond traditional positivist notions of what it means to do research, considering the possibilities that arise from the spiritual work of re/search, that which is both poststructuralist and a/r/tographical (Irwin, Wilson, Springgay, deCossen, 2004) in nature.  Across this space I invite readers to awaken to the moment, allowing themselves to become present to the echoes that cross their own and others fragments of (self) understanding.  Chapter three, With/in the (Re)search offers renderings of my own methodological explorations as I consider the possibilities of engaging text.  Visual images collide with written word as I expose my/sel(f)es as active with/in the analysis, at the same time creating spaces for my own analysis to be shattered and rearranged.  It is with/in this chapter that my voice begins to intersect with those students who have joined in the dialogue of be(com)ing Teacher.  These voices become louder, as I introduce the students in the short interlude between the fragments of chapter three and four.  With/in this space I offer a snapshot of the students who speak through the textual landscape of the dissertation and how the voices of these students came to enter into the dialogue.  The students offer their own stories of be(com)ing Teacher within chapter four, Be/coming to Teacher.  Each story opens a window into making sense of the ways in which discourses interact as pre-service teachers attempt to name themselves as both teachers and learners.  I too breathe my own sense making upon this chapter as I dis/rupt students’ performances and words, by pulling and rearranging the text into poetry.  I offer up these poet spaces noting Irigaray’s (2002) suggestion that through the creation of poetry we “ … use respiration  in a way other than obedience to an already written word or text, expressing orders or laws, more than praises or graces” (54).  While my interpretations move across the landscape of this chapter, so to do multiple open spaces – created as crevices in which the reader might enter offering her own ways of (un)knowing.  Chapter five, Fused Image/ination is the story of searching across multiple textual renderings of be(com)ing Teacher.  I try to consider my students’ relationships with these texts as I acknowledge my own prejudices by piecing together, poetry, image, and traditional prose. Throughout the dissertation, I allude to my own experiences of be(com)ing Teacher, acknowledging their role in my perception of negotiation and discourse; yet it is not until Chapter six, Breathing Witness: Performative Testimony as (re)Turning to Possibility: my/sel(f)es storied, that I bear witness to those events that even today remain etched upon my perceptions of the experience of be(com)ing Teacher.  I share this testimony, not as a search for recognition – but rather, as a means to consider the collective nature of the storied experience.  I may speak my story, but it does not speak in isolation; instead as I share my story, inviting the reader to disrupt my own interpretations as they erase and add to the text, actively engaging with the pedagogical nature of the OM.  Chapter seven, In(con)clusion – Savasana calls our collective, journeyed selves to reflect upon the fragments of experience and insight that have shattered or fused across the textual landscape of the dissertation.  I re/turn to the inclusive nature of the OM, while also addressing the nature of Savasana – that which one might consider to be a pause.  In the yogic pose of Savasana, one allows the experiences of the practice to wash across their being – to for a moment allow for stillness before one begins the work again.  The work of this dissertation is not something that I believe can ever truly come to conclusion, instead we might pause and begin again upon our collective journey of considering the work of be(com)ing Teacher.

[1] One is named through her actions, I choose to capitalize the T of teacher as a means to illustrate the nature of becoming one who is named amidst those discourses that trouble and position the one who seeks to be part of the collective ideal of being a teacher.

[2] “To remain silently attentive to the breath comes down to respecting that which, or who, exists and maintaining for oneself the possibility to be born or to create (Irigaray, 2002, p. 51)

[3] Throughout the dissertation I have chosen to add an ‘e’ at the end of the word breath as a way to illustrate the active nature of this process.  By returning to the breath we might be able to breathe our evolving stories and insight across the textual landscape of this space of making sense of be(com)ing.

[4] Throughout the dissertation, I refer to the reader as female not as a means to exclude any particular sex or individual. Instead the female I address is she who exists within both female and male – she who is able to give birth and experiences the making and changing of life in a very intimate way.

[5] It is the emotion as Paulo Freire (1973) remarks, that often freezes one into various postures.  Through dialogue one is able to acknowledge and move beyond the single movement, instead experimenting with various postures that open spaces for understanding.

[6] Throughout the dissertation, I use poetry as a means to make sense offering up spaces for reinterpretation.  The poetry at times is a reflection of my own experiences as a teacher and teacher educator and also a reinterpretation of my students writing.  When I claim the words as my own the font is Arial Narrow, Book Antiqua, and Garamond, when the words are a joining together of my voice with my students, I use Eras Light ITC  – to highlight their voices and also as a metaphor to illustrate the hesitancy in the work of be(com)ing.

AMBIGUOUS PRESENCE:(RE)SEARCHING THE NEGOTIATIONS OF BE(COM)ING TEACHER

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