Date of Award

Spring 1995

Project Type


Program or Major

Reading and Writing Instruction

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Thomas R Newkirk


In this study the author uses autobiographical method to explore specific questions about teacher development: How is a teacher identity constructed; What constitutes the teaching self? In addition this study seeks to consider the potential uses of autobiography as a tool in teacher education.

Part One, "A Quiver of Truths," is an autobiographical text in which the author explores issues of her own development as a teacher to reveal its broad roots in a wide expanse of life experiences, specifically the familial, cultural, and historical influences as well as broader issues of human development. Any attempt to make meaning out of experience draws one into an impulse to order one's life. This study attends to the particular work of bringing that meaning to written language. The author composes the story of her life from a particular location marked by a multitude of factors including race, gender, class, development. Reflections on the act of writing are interwoven into the text making the work of autobiography itself an additional subject of the text. In writing this story the author attempts to make visible the story of her writing.

Part Two, "Notes and Further Ruminations" extends the theorizing function of autobiography as well as provides more explicit discussion on the narrative strategies and structures employed by the author. The notes are meant to further explore the complexity of autobiographical work by discussing both the potentials and limitations involved in constructing a written story of one's life.

Readers are invited to both witness and participate in the autobiographical act. While the novelty of a traditional study lies in the reported findings, the novelty of this work is in the reading and the writing. It lies in the act of perception, both the writer's and the reader's.