Date of Award

Spring 5-10-2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Secondary Education



Committee Chair

Dr. Kimberly Gray

First Committee Member

Dr. Ivan M. Jorrin-Abellan

Second Committee Member

Dr. Camille Sutton Brown-Fox

Third Committee Member

Dr. Aaron Levy


This study explored the creation and maintenance of vocational identity as it relates to teachers. The vocational identities of five participants spanning the educational spectrum were explored and then storified following a qualitative narrative research design. Until this study, the research on vocational identity was sparse and tended to focus on identity alone and not on the concept of vocational identity. Teacher identity and its formation had not been explored in the literature and there were no studies that addressed how a teacher formed their vocational identity and how that formed identity manifested itself in their classroom. A series of semi-structured interviews and participant-driven photo elicitation were used to collect data. This raw data was then analyzed using Atlas. ti (V9) and assembled for review.

The findings of this qualitative narrative study suggested that vocational identity was created within four identified areas: Personal/Behavioral factors, Political/Educational factors, Contextual factors, and Life Domain factors. Each of these areas of interest were explored in this study through the lived experiences and photographs of elements that represented the vocational identities of the participants.

Keywords: Self-efficacy theory, self-determination theory, vocational identity, teacher identity, teacher motivation, identity theory, social identity theory, social hierarchy, narrative study, narrative research.