Professional Learning Teacher Inquiry

Wobbling in Public: Supporting New and Experienced Teachers


Who is an expert teacher? Who is a novice? This article will be of interest to teacher educators and to experienced teachers working with colleagues who are new to the profession. The authors describe the ways in which teachers who appear "expert" to their newer colleagues "move from novice to expert to novice again as new challenges arise" and argue for the value of making these moments transparent. The article starts with a recreated dialogue and reflection about how and why a pair of facilitators - the authors - make themselves vulnerable as a way to open a conversation with new and preservice teachers about race, whiteness, and positionality.


How, for instance, does Antero address concerns about cultural positionality while preparing a mostly white, female, middle-class population when he is often the only person of color in the room? How does Cindy make claims about “what diverse students need” without essentializing various student populations or lumping them together as a homogeneous group? Moreover, how do the few students of color who are studying to be pre-service teachers in our classes participate in these conversations without taking on the responsibility of “representing” others who share their particular backgrounds?


In this article we highlight how considering questions such as these, especially from the perspectives of career teachers, can help support communities of teachers still in the developmental stages of their practice. In doing so, we (1) challenge preexisting stereotypes of “master” and “novice” teachers; (2) offer a new framework for identifying and working through challenging areas of one’s teaching that we call Pose/Wobble/Flow; and (3) underscore how the practice of public reflection is sorely needed in today’s teacher education programs.