Critical Perspective on Religion and Education Series
Navigating Moments of Hesitation
Portraits of Evangelical English Language Arts Teachers
Published: January 2021
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Published: January 2021
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Published: January 2021
E-Book (ePub)
Published: January 2021
Add to Cart
6" x 9"
Language: English

Teachers’ religious identities shape their classroom practices in varied ways. From the books they select to the relationships they build with students to the way they see their role as a teacher, teachers’ religious identities shape their sense of what is possible and impossible within classroom settings. This book examines these complex navigations through portraits of three early-career evangelical Christian teachers as they explore the tension they feel between their teaching identities and their religious identities in the setting of the U.S. public education system.

What these portraits make clear is that the prevailing assumption that religious teachers have wholly separate teaching and religious identities is an impossibility, no matter how devoutly it might be wished for, legislated, and imagined. Who are these teachers? How does their evangelical religious identity influence the way they navigate classroom spaces? How are they making sense of their own experiences as a religious person in a public school classroom?

Perfect for courses in: Diversity and Inclusion in the Classroom | Introduction to Diversity for Educators | Foundations of Teaching for Learning | Role of the Teacher in American Education | Religion and Education | Educational Foundations

Table of Contents:


Part I: Framing the Portraits

1. Christian Teachers, Public Schools, and the Impossibility of Neutrality

2. In the Spirit of Inquiry: Ethics and Hospitality

3. In the Spirit of Inquiry: Portraiture

Part II: Individual Portraits

4. Portraits of Noelle: Balancing Acts

5. Portraits of Mei: Evangelism Everywhere

6. Portraits of Mallory: Individual Ministries

Part III: Group Portraits

7. Portraits of Focus Groups

8. Photobombing the Portraits: Analyzing the Portraits and the (In)Hospitality of Research

About the Author


NOTE: Table of contents subject to change up until publication date.

Reviews & Endorsements:

Navigating Moments of Hesitation takes a close look at a largely unexplored and often taboo aspect of K-12 education: how teachers’ religious beliefs influence their classroom instruction. In this book, Hadley provides detailed portraits of three evangelical Christian teachers and offers a critical analysis of the role religion plays in how these teachers enact their formal instruction and engage with students who have aspects of their identities that contradict Biblical teachings. Although the portraits are of language arts teachers, this book offers important insights for practitioners and teacher educators in all subject areas.”

Wayne Journell, Professor and Associate Chair, Teacher Education and Higher Education, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

“In this remarkable book, Dr. Hadley focuses on a group of educators who receive little attention from scholars, but whom many of us will recognize from our work in schools: Christian teachers who try to serve both their most foundational core beliefs and also the needs of their students in a rapidly-changing world. Hadley’s sensitive account will be of great value in education classes to help people explore their own developing identities as teachers. She has a great talent for writing, for rigorous analysis and for making complex ideas accessible but, most of all, this book is grounded in her voice and her story as an educator and a woman who has navigated a similar journey in her own life. A deeply insightful, honest and readable book.”

Julian Edgoose, Former Associate/Research Professor, University of Puget Sound

“This timely book explores critically important paradoxes about evangelicalism, teacher education, and inclusion in US public school English classrooms. A Derridean lensing of hospitality and welcome leads English educator Heidi Hadley to ask profoundly difficult questions such as: “How could I model for my evangelical students what it means to accept all students into their classroom if I wasn’t willing to accept their religious identity in my classroom? But if I did unconditionally accept their religious identity and welcome their religious ways of knowing and being—which includes, of course, religiously informed transphobia and homophobia—into my teacher education classroom, would they turn around and create classrooms that excluded LGBTQ+ students?” This study offers no easy answers; instead, it offers compelling, sympathetic interpretations of how a researcher and three early-career teachers honestly and inventively grappled with the various ways (Christian) religious identities can make English teacher identities possible.”

Mary M. Juzwik, Professor, Departments of Teacher Education and English, Michigan State University

“Hadley takes readers by the hand and guides them through the ways in which religion can directly and indirectly inform educators’ moves in the English Language Arts classroom. Although Hadley’s study focuses on Christian teachers, the implications of her research are far-reaching and support the cultivation of a pluralistic society.”

Denise Dávila, Assistant Professor, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Texas Austin

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