GETTING MARRIED, QUITTING THE JOB, AND BECOMING AN ENGLISH TEACHER: INDONESIAN EFL TEACHER PROFESSIONAL IDENTITY IN CONTESTATION Mateus Yumarnamto SLED-April 18, 2014 Literacy, Culture, and Language Education School of Education Research Question In the backdrop of Johnston’s (1997) echoing question “Do EFL Teachers Have Careers?” this current study is intended to explore a life history of an Indonesian EFL teacher. Indonesia is a developing country where English is becoming more important as the country strives to position itself economically and politically in Asia and in the world. The main question of this study is: • How were professional identities of an Indonesian EFL teacher shaped and reshaped in her life story? ELT in Indonesia • English is taught since 4th Grade of elementary school • The curriculum is based on the national standards— competency-based curriculum • English teacher should have formal education track to become a teacher: college degree in Education—Master Degree in Education. • Four Years Language Teacher Education. • Although not explicitly required, to become a tenure professor at a school of education, a candidate should have a college degree in education and advanced degree in the aligned field. Framework 1: Critical Event in narratives • Webster and Mertova (2007) suggest that "a critical event as told in a story reveals a change of understanding or worldview by the storyteller" (p. 73). Further, they outline the characteristics of a critical event as having the ability to impact story teller’s performance, having a traumatic component, attracting public interest, and bringing about a change • For students, critical events can promote their learnings and for teachers, critical events can bring about teacher change and they can also “maintain a particular definition of reality and identity” (p. 358). In this positive end, Woods (1993) sees opportunities for teachers to bring about change and growth in the profession. Framework 2: Identity in discourse • Current research on identity has informed us that identity is dynamic, changes through time, and it is maintained and shaped in discourses (Duff & Uchida, 1997; Franzak, 2002; Johnson 2003; Tsui, 2007; Soreide, 2006, 2007; Atay and Ece 2009; McAdams 2011; Barkhuizen 2011). • In discourses, identity can be seen from the subject position; “different subject positions give access to, for example, images, expectations, practices, opinions and values, and are therefore central in the construction of different understandings of the world and our place in it.” (Soreide 2006, p. 529). The Story Teller • Ratna, an English teacher with a bachelor degree in • • • • agriculture and a master degree in English education. She studied three years in a U.S. elementary school; her English was excellent. She worked as a consultant and translator in a Dutch agency; she worked in a bank as a credit analyst for 11 years prior to her marriage. Turning to a different profession is a big problem because she did not have a formal background in education—so she took a master degree in TESOL. Her undergraduate degree in agriculture—was always questioned when she entered education profession although she already had a master degree in TESOL. Language Teacher/Educator Identity Studies • Canagarajah (2012): In his autoethnography, he described his professional identity formation as marked by his struggle to be accepted as a member of professional community in TESOL in the US. • Tsui (2007) described the complexity of identity formation of her subject (Minfang) in which his identity formation is marked by his struggle to adopt CLT. • Alsup (2006): teacher professional identity is marked by clash and integration between the personal and the professional The Narrative Data • Interview • Field notes • Email Correspondence • Notes on personal conversations • Group Discussion Analysis • Identity Claims: analyzed by identifying the subject positions (Soreide 2006) • Critical Event Analysis ( Webster and Mertova 2007) RATNA’S TWO MAJOR CRITICAL EVENTS Getting Married Failing to secure a teaching position Professional Identity Formation around two Critical Events (1) Getting Married (Identity claims: I am good at English, I am intelligent, I am a good teacher, I know my students; I am caring; I am diligent)—as opposed to professional identity maintained in the society: English teacher needs formal tracks of education) (2) Failure in securing a teaching position (Identity in contestation: I am good—but in doubt because of the agriculture degree; colleagues did not see me as a full teacher; the needs to prove herself as a competent English teacher. Conclusion and Significance • EFL teacher identity formation: always in relation to the outside authority—it needs to claimed and reclaimed. In the case of Ratna, her professional identity formation was marked by her struggle to claim her teaching authority as it was always in clash with the society standards that require formal education to get the professional acceptance. • Formal teacher education in Indonesia is important—it is the gate keeper of getting into the profession. • Awareness: Struggle and tensions characterized a moving force for identity formation and professional growth.