Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

World Languages

Major Professor

Amy S. Thompson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Amanda Huensch, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Nicole Tracy-Ventura, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Camilla Vásquez, Ph.D.


Language Teaching Assistants, Possible Language Teacher Selves, TAs' Challenges and Limitations


Using Dörnyei’s (2005) L2 Motivational Self System (L2MSS) and Kubanyiova’s (2007, 2009) model of ‘possible language teacher selves’ as main theoretical frameworks, this multiple case study explored four language teaching assistants’ developmental patterns with regards to their ideal language teacher selves over a two-year period. It also examined the challenges and limitations that these TAs faced, as well as the institutional support that they received over time. The data sources from this study included semi-structured interviews, class observations, and student artifacts (teaching philosophies, ideal teacher selves and observation reflections). A thematic analysis of these sources revealed how TAs conceptualized their ideal teacher selves. For example, all four TAs were able to not only provide a clear description of their future visions of themselves, but were also able to use these visions to formulate mastery and performance-based goals, such us becoming expert teachers or constantly updating their teaching practices. Additionally, either as behavioral models or sources of inspiration, role models were also found to be associated with their (re)construction of their future selves. The findings also revealed how these four TAs coped with three main challenges: dealing with anxiety, balancing the curriculum requirements with the personal goals and preferences, and adjusting their style to the less-motivated students. Lastly, the findings of this study emphasized the need to provide TAs with an appropriate level of preparation in teaching at a university setting, including relevant coursework, ongoing professional development and reliable mentoring, among other elements that will help them with their current and potentially future teaching assignments.