EJ926622.pdf - The Qualitative Report Volume 16 Number 2...

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The Qualitative Report Volume 16 Number 2 March 2011 415-440 “I Can See You”: An Autoethnography of My Teacher-Student Self Erika França de Souza Vasconcelos University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, USA This article is an autoethnographic investigation of my second-nature teacher-student self. What has made me into the teacher I am? What makes me the teacher I am? I draw upon my memories of my own teachers and students to address these questions. As I portray my teaching-learning experiences as textual “snapshots,” I find that my dearest memories come from when I have been in dialogue with my teachers and students. This investigation leads me to pedagogy centering attention to teacher student relationships; a humanizing pedagogy that I discover, embrace, and which redefines and recreates my teacher-learner self. Key Words: Autoethnography, Memories, Textual “Snapshots”, Teacher Student Relationships, Humanizing Pedagogy, and Teacher Identity Goiânia, 1985 “Okay, so now why don’t you all tell me your names and something about you, anything you feel like sharing, it needn’t be much.” Maily, our Portuguese language teacher, gazes matter-of-factly at us from a distance behind her thick glasses. Maily, in her late thirties, is short, plain-looking, and has short curly black hair. She has just introduced herself and talked about her expectations for the course. Some 70 high school freshman students pack the classroom. I am seated at my usual backstage spot – the second or third desk from the back left corner. Like all the others, I am quietly trying to make out new teacher number three. “We’ll follow the lines starting here at the first desk, up and down all the way to the student at the end of the seventh line.” One by one we all say our names and add some unimportant detail: where we went to middle school, where we come from, what we like to do. Every now and then Maily asks a student a question or makes a quick comment, but she mostly listens motionless, attempting a half-smile if someone’s lucky. Before I know it, my turn has come and gone, and then the last student’s micro- monologue is over. Maily takes charge again, as 70 pairs of eyes, soon to be filled with surprise and amusement, turn back toward her. “So let’s see if I know who you are.” Maily begins to recite each student’s name as she gazes fixedly at his or her face, from the first student in the first line to the last student in the seventh line, following a rhythmic pattern broken up only by brief instances of hesitation. We are entranced by Maily’s nearly perfect performance. She misses no more than two names. The whole class applauds with enthusiasm. I know without a shade of doubt that I will like this teacher.
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