Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education, Teaching and Learning Sciences, Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Bruce Uhrmacher, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Paul Michalec

Third Advisor

Nicholas Cutforth

Fourth Advisor

Terrence Blackman

Fifth Advisor

Bin Ramke


Heart of the teacher, High poverty schools, Ideal versus real, Teacher attrition, Teacher education, Teacher identity


New teacher attrition shows no signs of abating as about half of new teachers in urban high-poverty schools quit in their first three years of the work. Some of the push factors that contribute to attrition in these settings are the increasing pressure of standards and accountability measures. Some research has turned to teacher education programs to look at the preparation of pre-service teachers.

The purpose of this qualitative study is to explore the beliefs and intentions of four teacher educators who are also facilitators of Parker Palmer's Courage to Teach workshops and retreats, and the ways in which their beliefs influence their teaching practice. The conceptual framework is based on Parker Palmer's concepts of the real--what is, and the ideal--what we know could be, and the gap between them. The literature review provides concepts of the ideal and the real in preservice teachers, the function of teacher education as the bridge between the ideal and the real in preparing teachers for their careers, a review of identity development, and a description of the Courage to Teach program.

A transformative framework drives this study. The importance of self-knowledge and the development of the self who teaches as companion knowledge to the development of teaching skills and competencies will be discussed. A holistic versus one-dimensional approach to teacher preparation is explored.

The findings from this heuristic study are represented by the following five themes: (1) Multifaceted Definitions of Ideal and Real (2) Teacher Education: The Ideal as a Diverse Network (3) The Gap as Tragic and Permanent (4) Courage Work Changes Your Way of Being in the World (5) Identity as a Factor in Receptivity to Spiritual Work. These findings, the interviews from which they arose, and the phases of this heuristic study led to a creative synthesis represented by a Symbolic Growth Experience. The study concludes with the implications of this experience for the education community.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Eron L. Reed


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

214 p.


Educational Philosophy, Educational Evaluation, Educational Sociology