Working through Whiteness: Examining White Racial Identity and Profession with Pre-service Teachers

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White educators comprise between 85-92 percent of the current teaching force in the United States, yet in the race toward leaving no child behind, contemporary educational research often invests significant time and energy looking for ways to reach students who represent difference without examining the nature of those who do the work of educating the nation's public school children. Educational research that has looked at racial identity is often void of earnest discussion of the identity of the teachers, how that identity impacts teacher beliefs about students and families, and ultimately how teachers frame their understanding of the profession. This book takes readers on a journey to explore the nature of pre-service teachers' narratives as a means of better understanding racial identity and the way teachers enter the profession. Through a case study analysis approach, Examining White Racial Identity and Profession with Pre-service Teachers examines the nature of white racial identity as seen through the narratives of nine pre-service teachers as well as his own struggles with racial identity. This text draws on racial identity, critical race theory, and discourse and narrative analysis to reveal how participants in the study used discourse structures to present beliefs about race and their own understandings and ultimately how the teachers' narratives display underdeveloped understandings of their choices to become educators. Fasching-Varner also critically examines his own racial identity auto-ethnographically, and ultimately proposes a new, non-developmental model for thinking about white racial identity. This text aims to help teacher educators and teachers to work against the privileges of whiteness so as to better engage students in culturally relevant ways.