Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Daniel P. Liston

Second Advisor

Jennie Whitcomb

Third Advisor

Victoria Hand

Fourth Advisor

Joseph L. Polman

Fifth Advisor

Erin M. Furtak


A great deal depends on preparing high quality teachers, and reformers of teacher preparation have recently drawn attention to the need for clearer delineations of effective practice, what it takes to be a teacher, and standards of preparation. Taken together, these reform proposals arguably frame a professional ideal for teaching. How this ideal and other ideals are established as desirable for beginning teachers during preparation remains relatively unexplored. In this study I thus tease out the desired ideals of teaching in two alternative residency-based teacher preparation programs, City Teacher Prep (CTP) and a Montessori teacher training program (MONT). Drawing from literature in the humanities and the learning sciences, I develop a conceptual framework of desire as socially constructed and conveyed to beginning teachers through orienting narratives that serve to direct them toward desired objects of teaching. I also postulate that beginners develop desires by making heartfelt investments in those objects. I use a constructivist grounded theory approach to collect and analyze observation and interview data. My findings reveal differences in the desired objects at each program suggestive of a tension between a professional ideal and vocational ideal of teaching. I also find evidence of standing desires for leadership among beginners at both programs that could result in their eventually leaving teaching. Through this investigation, I illuminate the conceptual features of desire and show how it can inform our understanding of teacher preparation.