"What role will you play?" Exploring metaphors for work in Teach For America narratives




Jackson, Taylor

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This thematic analysis examines stories written by Teach For America corps members about their experiences teaching in low-income school districts across the United States. The data were collected from the personal blogs of corps members hosted on the Teach For America web site. By uncovering themes in the narrative constructions of non-profit members’ experiences,these findings expand empirical understandings and practical insights of how members of organizations metaphorically conceptualize their roles, orient themselves to others in their work environment and define success. Further, this research reveals situations commonly experienced across organizations that contribute to job frustration and burnout. Those in or interested in nonprofit jobs or careers will find this report a useful overview of the metaphors people use to conceptualize their roles, identify the roles of others, define success and make meaning out of their experiences in light of the demands of nonprofit work, tensions between expectations and reality, and possibilities of achieving personal and organizational goals.


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