To feel a look, To see the flesh: Phenomenological reflections of a pierced and tattooed pre-service teacher

Tanya Kristine Howard, Rebecca Lloyd

Abstract


This phenomenological reflection invites us to consider what it feels like to be looked at, as a visibly pierced and tattooed pre-service teacher, by a supervising principal. Drawing from Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology of perception, theories of the look in education forwarded by Madeleine Grumet, Michel Foucault’s notion of the disciplinary gaze and Luce Irigaray’s work on intersubjectivity, this article delves into the layers of meaning within a piercing moment. This inquiry thus fleshes out what it feels like to be seen as a body-modified teacher in comparison to that of the “expected teacher” image during a time of struggle when one’s newly-forming teacher identity clashes with one’s personal self-identity. It also provides context for better understanding, both palpably and politically, the sense of vision in education from various perspectives: looking within, looking down, the uniform look, the stereotypical look and the mutual look

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