Publication Date



In an era of increased accountability, it is important to understand how exemplary teachers navigate the demands placed on them by their schools, districts, and states in order to support student learning aligned with their beliefs of effective instruction. To understand these negotiations, tensions facing exemplary literacy teachers were examined through a qualitative interview study. Participants included nineteen experienced PK-6th grade teachers from across the U.S. Results of the study indicate that teachers experience discrepancies between their beliefs and state and local mandates, and they discuss a variety of strategies for negotiating these discrepancies. Findings suggest that schools can support effective literacy instruction by cultivating cultures of autonomy for teachers and strengthening teachers’ sense of agency.