Changing the Story: Implications of Narrative on Teacher Identity

  • Geah Pressgrove West Virginia University
  • Melissa Janoske
  • Stephanie Madden
Keywords: narrative, reputation management, teaching, educators


This study takes a qualitative approach to understanding the connections among narrative, professional identity, and reputation management in public education. Through 15 interviews and five focus groups with high-achieving teachers and administrators, researchers explored the narratives these educators share to understand and improve the story of the teaching profession. Central to the findings are societal, organizational, and community-level factors that have led to a reputation crisis for the profession of teaching and thus contribute to the national teacher shortage. Ultimately, this study points to the notion that a shift in the perception of the value of teaching and teachers can be affected when narratives are understood and the principles of reputation management are applied. Communication interventions that provide a path forward are discussed.

Author Biography

Geah Pressgrove, West Virginia University

Geah Pressgrove, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of strategic communications at the Reed College of Media at West Virginia University. Her published and in-progress research examines the ways in which key communications variables influence relationship quality, behavioral outcomes and loyalty. She explores stakeholder engagement primarily in the nonprofit, corporate social responsibility, community and political contexts. She is particularly interested in the ways in which communicators can more effectively measure the effectiveness of relationship cultivation and maintenance strategies.


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Original Research