Getting started with autobiographical/teacher identity entry #1:

Focus on family & early schooling history


The following are guided questions for you to consider as you write. You are not required to answer these questions directly; they are intended to help prompt you to think about the family in which you grew up and your early schooling experiences influenced by your concept of “school” and “teacher”.


Items 1-7 are from, Reinventing Ourselves as Teachers: Beyond Nostalgia by Claudia Mitchell and Sandra Weber (1999).


1.      Age in relation to remembering school

·        from what time period are your earliest memories of school related episodes?

·        what is the relationship between the age of the rememberer and the time remembered? (Do older people remember situations from an ealier time period more readily?  Do males and females differ in your group in terms of how far back they go with memories?)


2.      Recounting memories

·        who is recounting the memory?

·        to whom and for what reason?

·        which memories do you tell over and over again?  Why might that be?


3.      Memory as mediated by the accounts of others

·        which memories are stories you have heard over and over again?

·        what are the conditions under which you hear these memories repeated?

·        how do you feel about hearing these memories?


4.      Forgetting

·        are there incidents from school that you remember but which your friends or family members don’t remember?

·        are there incidents that others remember but of which you have no memory?  Why might that be?


5.      Vicarious experiences (witnessing) and memory

·        are there incidents that happened to someone else in school but which are vivid in your memory?


6.      Emotion

·        what emotions are attached to the memory?

·        how do you feel about other people’s memories of school?


7.      Gaps and absences

·        what’s missing from the memories of the group?


8.      When you revisit your childhood recollections (for example, items 1-7 above) consider how these experiences and memories have influenced your identity as a teacher.


Michael Vavrus