This study asked the question of how I constructed my beginner teacher identity as a female Mathematics teacher and why my journey unfolded in the way it did. With regards to beginner teacher identities I used work from Morrison (2013), Pennington & Richards (2015), Ballentyne & Grootenboer (2012) and Beijaard, Meijer & Verloop (2004). For work on the beginner female STEM teachers, I used authors including Spangenberg & Myburgh (2017), Else-Quest et al. (2013), Stromquist et al. (2013), Ahlqvist et al. (2013) and Rodriguez et al. (2017). These concepts were key to the understanding of this study. An Interpretivist epistemological paradigm underpinned this study (Wagner, Kawilich & Garner 2012). The conceptual lens used in this study was designed employing tenets of the Social Identity Theory of Tajfel & Turner (1979) as well as Albert Bandura’s Self-Efficacy Theory (1994).
I followed a qualitative research approach and autoethnography as research design whereby the I, the researcher was also the sole participant of the study (Ellis, 2009). Co-constructors of knowledge were involved in this study to corroborate my personal. They comprised of close family members and a friend. Data generation methods included self-reflexive narratives about my experiences as a beginner teacher and my researcher’s journal. Furthermore, I conducted semi-structured, face-to-face interviews with the co-constructors. In analysing my data, I used the method of thematic analysis whereby I would read my data and identify suitable themes based on my two secondary research questions. The main findings of the study showed that I faced situations that went against my pre-conceived expectations, formed in part by my family members and that the construction of my beginner teacher identity involved a process wherein I had to accept elements of my out-group as part of my in-group (Tajfel & Turner, 1979) to achieve a satisfied social identity.