English Australia Journal : English Australia Journal 27.1
EA Journal Volume 27 No 1 19 The narratives specifically explore the following: teachers’ initial experiences of readjustment; awareness of difference in expectations of their roles as teachers; the impact of being perceived as representatives of ‘Western’ culture; and their re-appraisal of the educational and cultural-linguistic values of ‘home’. Teachers’ stories: Identity formation and critical moments The literature on teachers’ life histories documents a number of explorations into issues common to mainstream and TESOL teachers: career paths, motivation and job satisfaction, identity, stress, and critical moments. Pathways and contexts in TESOL, however, are extremely variable. Johnston (1997) has debated whether TESOL teachers can be said to have careers at all. TESOL lacks the status of established professions; there is commonly a lack of job security or benefits, and a lack of power base within institutions. Low morale and high rates of attrition typically result (McKnight, 1992). Motivation has been extensively explored in mainstream teaching (Alexander, 2008), but in the TESOL context, Kassabgy, Boraie and Schmidt (2001, p. 227) decry ‘the general lack of information in the applied linguistics literature concerning what makes English language teachers tick – their motivations, goals, and their views on what teaching does and should offer to people who make a career of it’. Motivation in teaching is formative in terms of professional identity. This has been examined as narrative inquiry by Watson (2006) and Søreide (2006), among others. Nevertheless, Day, Stobart, Sammons and Kington (2006) point out that critical engagement with individual teachers’ cognitive and emotional selves has been relatively rare. The investigation of teaching careers has revealed incidents which impact heavily on teacher development. Such events have been identified as potentially positive factors for development, in that they frequently fortify motivation and resilience (Morgan, Ludlow, Kitching, O’Leary and Clarke, 2010). Mullock (2009) finds that for expatriate TESOL teachers, dissatisfaction and stress are usually due to factors extrinsic to the actual teaching, and more likely to relate to issues of cultural difference and displacement. The ‘moments of disruption’ revealed through the narratives documented in this article relate to the issues of career choice, identity, and motivation discussed above. They refer to moments when teachers realise that their interactions with another culture have caused professional and/or personal change within themselves. From the narratives, I have sought answers to three specific questions: Are initial experiences of disruption crucial in shaping TESOL teachers’ 1. development?
English Australia Journal 27.2