This inaugural Saudi Arabian-based (SA) study explored how social media images and cartoons can influence the professional identity of pre-service teachers (PSTs) measured by their reflections on self-selected images of teachers and teaching in Saudi media.
PSTs (n = 30) were enrolled in a teacher education program in a faculty of education in a public university in the Eastern province of SA (convenience sampling).
Findings from thematically analyzing 30 reflective assignments, nine semi-structured interviews, and a focus group (n = 9) revealed four themes:
(a) a pervasive negative stereotype;
(b) violence associated with male teachers and students;
(c) criticism of the education and administrative system; and
(d) suggestions of eroding teacher authority.
Findings affirm the imperative that teacher education programs intentionally sensitize PSTs to the benefits of critically deconstructing media images.
This will help stave off negative connotations of teachers and make teaching become part of future teachers’ professional identities and the SA collective memory.