Understanding Teachers’ Writing: Authority in Talk and Texts

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In this article, we explore how teachers who make their work public through talk and texts may find their composing complicated by issues of authority. These public composing acts include drafting articles, preparing workshop presentations, authoring op-ed pieces and letters to the editor, developing book manuscripts – creating any of the spoken and written texts by which educators communicate as a field. We draw from three studies in different contexts to examine the authority concerns that teacher-writers experience during the composing process. Our aim is to draw attention to (a) the struggles in process that teachers face as they develop individual pieces and wrestle with rhetorical decisions, as well as (b) the struggles with people, power, and authority that occur as teachers consider how their words, ideas, and experiences circulate in public venues. We see these as intrinsically linked: The writing process is a site where the wider struggles are played out and become visible.