Avoiding Fatalism in Public Education: Transforming the Institution from Within
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AbstractThis study sought to determine what could be learned from established career teachers (sometimes referred to as “survivor teachers”) about how they are able to function and experience satisfaction within a formal educational institution while simultaneously working to transform the institution and their communities. In-depth interviews were used to collect data from four Oklahoma public school teachers. Participant responses to these interviews suggested four major themes, or skills and sensibilities, that helped teachers “survive” the system as they worked to transform it. These themes included: teaching authentically, reconciling personal and institutional tensions, avoiding isolation through building community, and focusing on joy. At the conclusion of the study, I explore possible implications for myself, other educators, and teacher education.