The author is a scholar of teaching practice and also an elementary mathematics teacher. Her work, like that of her colleagues at the Institute for Research on Teaching, focuses on teaching practice from the point of view of the practitioner. Here, in two case studies, she views the teacher as dilemma manager, a broker of contradictory interests, who "builds a working identity that is constructively ambiguous." To emphasize her conviction that teaching work is deeply personal, the author makes herself the subject of one of these studies. She concludes with an examination of how her view contrasts with prevalent academic images of teachers' work.

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