Exploring the relationship between teachers' experiences and evolving teacher identities in post-apartheid South Africa : a narrative inquiry.
Varathaiah, Beverley Ann.
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This narrative inquiry study explores the past and present relationships between the personal and professional experiences of teachers and their evolving teacher identities. In this study, I take on the role of participant-researcher to work together with two other teachers in my school to share and study our personal and professional stories of lived experience in order to better understand how our teacher identities might be evolving in response to the South African educational context. The diverse contexts from which we have journeyed frame the different experiences that we share. In considering the question of how teachers’ past lived experiences might have shaped our teacher identities, I identify political, social, educational and economic forces as well as teacher and family legacies that have emerged from our personal and professional narratives. In looking at the question of how teachers’ current professional experiences might be affecting our evolving teacher identities, I highlight the daily lives of the teachers in this study, their influences and experiences, their inter-personal relationships, their passion for their subject and finally their future expectations that may or may not bring about change. Overall, this study draws attention to the value of teachers examining the personal and professional experiences that they have had in order to understand why they take on and project the identities that they do and how these identities might evolve and change in response to new situations and challenges.