Amatucci, Kristi Bruce
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A post-qualitative dissertation, this self-study follows the five-year career of a new teacher as she balances competing stresses in, around, and outside the classroom. She transacts with students, fellow teachers, administrators, governmental mandates, prescribed curricula, standardized tests, public scrutiny, the criminal justice system, parents and families of her students, her own family and friends, as well as her desires, histories, and memories. Teaching is not what she thought it was; it overwhelms her. In an attempt to escape the rigors of life as high school teacher and to examine teaching in America today, she returns to the university to pursue her doctoral degree in education, only to find that her questions about teaching multiply, becoming more complex and muddled than she ever imagined. She finds no answers, only a cascade of conundrums. The theoretical framework of this study is post-structuralism, and the author relies primarily on the work of Michel Foucault, Helene Cixous, Judith Butler, and Jacques Derrida, among others, to frame her approach. The methodology of this work is a strategy called writing to know, as outlined by Laurel Richardson and Elizabeth St. Pierre. The author writes in an attempt to untangle her multiple teaching selves; yet as she writes, she finds herself becoming more and more enmeshed, confused, confident, eager, and surprised as she follows the words that pour unbridled out of her. The work does not lend itself to neat conclusions or prescriptions for future teacher education programs. Instead, it opens spaces in which the enterprise of teaching becomes a problematic, not to be solved but to be interrogated. The dissertation—part autobiography, part fiction, part empirical study—pushes the boundaries of what sort of research is possible after we relinquish the qualitative quest for meaning.