Research literature on beginning teachers suggests a conflict between the need to establish rapport with children and the professional role of teachers in maintaining authority. A theory that this personality-role conflict lowers self-conception was tested in a sample of 77 women. The subjects took a Semantic Differential questionnaire before and after practice teaching, and were found to rate themselves lower on 20 of the possible 20 items classified as favorable (p < .001) and higher on eight of eight unfavorable items (p < .001) after the experience. Significant changes in individual items (.05 < p < .0001) revealed the pattern of conflict more specifically. A generalized theory of personality-role conflict and decline in self-conception in occupational novices is discussed.