Reproducing successful rituals in bad times : exploring interactions of a new science teacher

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Teaching is emotional work. This is especially the case in the first years of teaching when new teachers are particularly vulnerable. By understanding changes in teacher emotions in the early years of teaching we hope to identify strategies that might ultimately reduce teacher attrition. As part of a larger study of the transition of new teachers to the profession, this ethnographic case study explores how a new science teacher produced and reproduced positive emotional interaction rituals with her students in her first year of teaching. We show how dialogical interactions were positive and satisfying experiences for the teacher, and how they were reproduced successfully in different contexts. We also illustrate how both teacher and students used humor to create a structure for dialogical interactions. During these successful interactions the students used shared resources to satisfy their teacher that they were engaging in the relevant science content. The implications of what we have learned for the professional development of new teachers are discussed in relation to an expanded understanding of teacher emotions.