Journal on Empowering Teaching Excellence


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The purpose of this study was to examine factors that may influence pre-service teachers’ relationships with mathematics. Elementary pre-service teachers who were enrolled in a mathematics methods course (n = 52) wrote a letter to math and drew a picture of themselves learning math. The self-portraits were analyzed by a team of undergraduate student researchers and teacher educators to identify themes related to the types of emotions, experiences, and situations displayed. The results of the self-portrait analysis indicated a higher percentage of negative emotions as compared to positive and neutral emotions. Additionally, the portraits indicated the influence of early elementary experiences on developing the participants’ math identity and relationships with mathematics. Implications for teacher preparation coursework and elementary mathematics pedagogy are discussed.