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Professional Identity Matters: Agency, Emotions, and Resilience

Day, Christopher



Paul A. Schutz

Ji Hong

Dionne Cross Francis


I will take as given that: (1) a core defining feature of teacher professionalism is a positive sense of professional identity; (2) identity is an amalgam of the personal and professional selves, and is represented through the dynamic interplay between efficacy, agency, emotions in the context of personal biographies, workplace structures and cultures, and policy influences; (3) teachers’ professional identity is inherently unstable, subject to fluctuation. Its formation and management are not entirely rational processes; (4) preserving a strong, positive sense of professional identity requires on-going emotional as well as intellectual energy. Both a continuing sense of agency and emotional wellbeing are ‘factors that have a bearing on the expression of identity and the shaping of it’ (Beauchamp & Thomas, 2009 p. 180), and (5) whilst resilience is essential for these to be sustained, by itself it is an insufficient condition for building and sustaining a sense of a positive professional identity
through which teachers remain committed and able to teach to their best and well. These three strands: (1) identity, efficacy, and agency, (2) identity and emotions; and (3) identity and resilience are often reported in isolation, separated by the different ontological, epistemological, and ideological positions of teacher educators, critical theorists, and school improvement researchers.


Day, C. (2018). Professional Identity Matters: Agency, Emotions, and Resilience. In P. A. Schutz, J. Hong, & D. C. Francis (Eds.), Research on Teacher Identity: mapping challenges and innovations, 61-70. Springer. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-93836-3_6

Online Publication Date Jul 12, 2018
Publication Date 2018
Deposit Date Jan 24, 2019
Publisher Springer
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Pages 61-70
Book Title Research on Teacher Identity: mapping challenges and innovations
Chapter Number 6
ISBN 978-3-319-93835-6
Public URL
Publisher URL