Shaping educators in the digital age: Exploring the discrepancy in professional identities from initial teacher education to classroom realities
Abstract: Higher education programmes equip preservice teachers with strong professional knowledge, attitudes, and skills. However, a worrying number of newly qualified teachers experience a reality shock when they enter the profession, experiencing tensions, burnout symptoms, and less-than-optimal teaching performance. Internships during initial teacher education (ITE) may be the key to bridging the gap between theoretical education and classroom practice, but do they really help? The paper reports a case study (N=38) conducted during the academic year 2021-2022. Through interviews, this study explores the ideals and characteristics of teacher identities perceived by preservice teachers in the ITE and internship contexts, with a focus on the role of technology in education. Findings highlight an expectation gap along with a vulnerability to succumb to contextual pressures, even in internships’ protected environments. Closer collaboration between ITE and internship settings is necessary, to sustain teachers' organic (technology) identity and future agency within the system.