Research-based instructional strategies have been shown to dramatically improve student learning, but widespread adoption of these pedagogies remains limited. Post-secondary teaching assistants (TAs), with their current positions in course delivery and future roles as academic leaders, are an essential target group for teacher training. However, the literature suggests that successful TA professional development must address not only pedagogical practices but also the cultivation of physics educator identity. The primary goal of this study is to build a framework for TA professional development that strengthens the TA's identity as a physics educator. We base this framework on Etienne Wenger's model for communities of practice and Côté and Levine's personality and social structure identity perspective. We explore this framework in the context of a 12-week, low-cost, TA-led and TA-centered professional development intervention. Our qualitative and quantitative data suggest that this efficient community-based intervention strengthened TAs' identification as physics educators.

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In this paper, we use the term “recitation” rather than “tutorial” to describe a TA-led weekly session focused on problem solving to avoid confusion with the McDermott and Shaffer Tutorials in Introductory Physics.

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