Sociology Instructor Martha Carey, PhD Publishes New Book

GMercyU Instructor of Sociology Martha Carey, PhD recently published a book titled Invisible Features: Hidden Aspects of Teacher Identity in an Urban Charter School.

Dr. Martha CareyAbout Invisible Features

In the United States, the reconfiguration of public education around free market aims is at the center of the contemporary school reform movement. Public charter schools are a hallmark within the movement, and are faced with the pressure to define their products by marketability. Specifically, charter schools are under pressure to define their pedagogical practices. How the products are defined may not align with how teachers perceive the aims, goals, or perhaps the ethics of teaching. It may also not align with how educators have been trained, and therefore how teachers make meaning in their professional roles is impacted.

“My book is based on my site-embedded qualitative research and is a descriptive phenomenological study that explores how one group of teachers at an urban charter school in Philadelphia react to phenomena and how they make meaning of issues prominent in the contemporary school reform movement, including teacher autonomy, accountability, failure, choice, and equity,” Dr. Carey said.

In addition, the book examines how such perceptions are shared amongst teachers, how the political and social objectives of contemporary school reform are shaped, and how the language becomes internalized.

Inspiration for the Book

Dr. Carey has always studied teachers. Her undergraduate thesis was on the educational philosophy of total communication within a school for the deaf. Her current research focuses on the educator-fueled education funding lawsuit in Pennsylvania.

“My inspiration comes from them – from witnessing the creativity, intellectual engagement, and emotional connection that great teachers have, and how they share this with students,” Dr. Carey said.

Writing and Publishing Process

Although the process was time consuming, Dr. Carey expressed that it was “truly pain free.” She first went under contract in June 2021 with a publication deadline set for May 2022. From there, she worked backwards to meet her goal.

Up until the last day for submission, Dr. Carey researched, edited, added, and revised her book, and completed some additional edits with her publisher. Her publishing team took care of the cover art and marketing.

Invisible Features and Dr. Carey’s Professional Development

The book is geared towards teachers, teacher educators, education graduate students, social researchers, and education policy makers. Dr. Carey also included the general public as an audience, specifically those interested in education reform, equity in education, and charter schools.

“In terms of my own professional development, this book is a milestone personally in my career as an educator and educational researcher, and I hope and plan on writing more,” Dr. Carey said.