Personal experiences and histories shape teacher identities to a great extent.
In the domain of personal experience, however, little is known about how experiences of failure shape the process of becoming a teacher.
Gaining this insight, however, is important as failure may define teachers and their work, which can further undermine their resilience.
This study examines how 45 pre-service subject teachers make sense of failure with regards to their identity as teachers.
The findings reveal various understandings of failure, from both learner and teacher perspective and pre-service teachers’ understanding that the relation between learner and teacher failure is inextricable.
Failure is seen as a non-dismissible aspect in their future work as teachers.
These findings suggest that experiences and resulting understandings of failure need to be acknowledged as a vital component of teacher education pedagogies in order to assist pre-service teachers in the development of their teacher identity.