Despite the common occurrence of teaming in preschool classrooms, very little research has explored the experiences of teachers working in such a context. Due to a high turnover of preschool teachers and a recent change in the educational requirements of lead teachers in Head Start, it is anticipated that the number of young and inexperienced lead teachers is likely to increase. The purpose of this case study research is to illuminate the teaming relationships between young, recently qualified lead teachers and their assistants working together within one classroom. Over the course of a school year, interviews and observations were conducted of two Head Start teaching teams. Five major themes were revealed through data analysis: understanding of roles; organization of work; use and resistance of power; development and management of conflict; and support from within and outside the team. Analysis across the findings of both cases showed that identity and power played a central role in team functioning. The teachers' identities, perceived threats to their identities, and their understanding of the power differential played a significant role in the way the teams organized their work, the way the teachers viewed their roles within the team, and the conflict and support they experienced. Conclusions of the study are discussed through the lens of identity process theory and elements of Bourdieu's theory of power and practice. Implications for teacher professional development and the need for increased institutional support for teaming in preschool is presented.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Educational Inquiry, Measurement, and Evaluation



Date Submitted


Document Type





Preschool teachers, team teaching, power, conflict, support, teacher roles, identity