Prospective teachers enrolling for teacher education programmes often bring with them
fixed images and beliefs about the roles they see themselves fulfilling in the teaching profession. The aim of this research was to uncover, firstly, beginning student teachers’ initial perceptions of the roles that they see themselves performing, and secondly, to understand how, after authentic school-based experiences, the student teachers have subsequently
(re)arranged their perceptions of teacher roles. Interviews were conducted based on visual collages that the student teachers constructed and analysed by means of
metaphorical lenses. We found that the teacher education programme with its strong
focus on the teacher-as-self had indeed challenged some of the traditional roles that
student teachers saw themselves fulfilling. One such significant change was revealed by
their assertions that they cannot be sole knowledge providers but must rather be
facilitators of learning, challenging students through the design of powerful learning environments to use the multiple information sources of the knowledge age. Another overwhelming role perception was that of Mother (caring and nurturing) elicited by the HIV/Aids pandemic, which would leave many learners orphaned in the Southern African context.