Teacher Educators Using Encounter Stories

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Many prospective teachers are unaware of the encounters that Black, heterosexual women or White lesbians face. Here, we present encounter stories-individual narratives of poignant encounters and interactions that we have experienced with people unlike us-to identify with and ultimately draw on their experiences. Subsequently, the narratives become data that not only inform our work as teacher educators and scholars but also are used to shape prospective teachers' understanding of inimitable difference. Despite the heralded affirming visibility of Michelle Obama and Ellen Degeneres, oppressive practices and perspectives against Black women and lesbians continue. Our encounter stories are put forward as qualitative data that goes against the grain and empowers. Further, our narratives challenge the conventional linear written format by intersecting our authentic voices with extant theory. Given the growing diversity in K-12 education, it is crucial that prospective teachers gain meaningful insight of unique, real life experiences, examine those experiences against their own familiarities to recognize sameness amid difference. Subsequently, this recognition will help to situate prospective teachers to meet the curricular and social needs of all schoolchildren.

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