Advertisement

Seeking the meaning of the job: Korean novice secondary teachers’ professional identity

Article

Abstract

Little effort has been made to understand the professional identity of novice teachers in various working contexts despite its significance for teacher professional learning and growth. This article aims to explore the professional identity of novice secondary teachers within Korean education system, where a bureaucratic school culture and teaching to the test prevail. A series of three phenomenological interviews were conducted with four novice secondary teachers to understand their formation of professional identity. Since beginning to teach, all four teachers came to possess similar professional identities as caring teachers, emphasizing their role in supporting students’ growth and happiness. Specifically, three of these teachers who had initially perceived their role as excellent subject teachers transformed their professional identities into those of caring teachers. Meanwhile, the fourth teacher, who had originally aspired to be a caring teacher, retained her professional identity by focusing more on supporting students’ well-being. This study argues that teachers’ ongoing professional identities as caring teachers can be understood as enacting their agency to reconfigure the meaning of teacher professionalism and schooling in the working context that diminishes their role as mere executors of the system’s mandates.

Keywords

Professional identity Teacher learning Novice teachers Teacher agency Teacher professionalism 

References

  1. Achinstein, B., & Ogawa, R. (2006). (In) fidelity: What the resistance of new teachers reveals about professional principles and prescriptive educational policies. Harvard Educational Review, 76(1), 30–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Achinstein, B., Ogawa, R. T., & Speiglman, A. (2004). Are we creating separate and unequal tracks of teachers? The effects of state policy, local conditions, and teacher characteristics on new teacher socialization. American Educational Research Journal, 41(3), 557–603.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Agee, J. (2004). Negotiating a teaching identity: An African American Teacher’s struggle to teach in test-driven contexts. Teachers College Record, 106(4), 747–774.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Beauchamp, C., & Thomas, L. (2009). Understanding teacher identity: An overview of issues in the literature and implications for teacher education. Cambridge Journal of Education, 39(2), 175–189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Beijaard, D., Meijer, P. C., & Verloop, N. (2004). Reconsidering research on teachers’ professional identity. Teaching and Teacher Education, 20(2), 107–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Beijaard, D., Verloop, N., & Vermunt, J. D. (2000). Teachers’ perceptions of professional identity: An exploratory study from a personal knowledge perspective. Teaching and Teacher Education, 16(7), 749–764.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Ben-Peretz, M., Mendelson, N., & Kron, F. W. (2003). How teachers in different educational contexts view their roles. Teaching and Teacher Education, 19(2), 277–290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Buchanan, R. (2015). Teacher identity and agency in an era of accountability. Teachers and Teaching, 21(6), 700–719.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cohen, M. Z., & Omery, A. (1994). Schools of phenomenology: Implications for research. Critical Issues in Qualitative Research Methods, 2, 136–153.Google Scholar
  10. Creswell, J. W. (2012). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches. New York: Sage.Google Scholar
  11. Day, C., & Kington, A. (2008). Identity, well-being and effectiveness: The emotional contexts of teaching. Pedagogy, Culture & Society, 16(1), 7–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Feiman-Nemser, S. (2001). From preparation to practice: Designing a continuum to strengthen and sustain teaching. Teachers College Record, 103(6), 1013–1055.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Flores, M. A., & Day, C. (2006). Contexts which shape and reshape new teachers’ identities: A multi-perspective study. Teaching and Teacher Education, 22(2), 219–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gatti, L., & Catalano, T. (2015). The business of learning to teach: A critical metaphor analysis of one teacher’s journey. Teaching and Teacher Education, 45, 149–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hargreaves, A., Earl, L., Moore, S., & Manning, S. (2002). Learning to change: Teaching beyond subjects and standards. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  16. Kelchtermans, G. (2009). Who I am in how I teach is the message: Self-understanding, vulnerability and reflection. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 15(2), 257–272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Kim, Y. C., & Kim, P. S. (2012). ì아빠는 죽어도 학원은 죽지 않는다: 오바마도 몰랐던 한국교육의 비밀 [Hagwon never dies: The secret of Korean Education]. Paju: Academy Press.Google Scholar
  18. Korean Educational Development Institute. (2010). 교원양성 교육과정 개선방안 연구 [Research on improving teacher education curriculum]. Retrieved from http://dlps.nanet.go.kr/DlibViewer.do?cn=MONO1201110581&sysid=nhn.
  19. Kostogriz, A. (2012). Accountability and the affective labour of teachers: A Marxist-Vygotskian perspective. Australian Educational Researcher, 39(4), 397–412.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lampert, M. (2009). Learning teaching in, from, and for practice: What do we mean? Journal of Teacher Education, 61(1–2), 21–34.Google Scholar
  21. Lasky, S. (2005). A sociocultural approach to understanding teacher identity, agency and professional vulnerability in a context of secondary school reform. Teaching and Teacher Education, 21(8), 899–916.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Laverty, S. M. (2008). Hermeneutic phenomenology and phenomenology: A comparison of historical and methodological considerations. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 2(3), 21–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Loh, J., & Hu, G. (2014). Subdued by the system: Neoliberalism and the beginning teacher. Teaching and Teacher Education, 41, 13–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lortie, D. C., & Clement, D. (1975). Schoolteacher: A sociological study. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  25. McKinsey & Company (2007). How the world’s best-performing schools come out on top. Retrived from http://mckinseyonsociety.com/how-the-worlds-best-performing-schools-come-out-on-top/.
  26. Moustakas, C. (1994). Phenomenological research methods. Thousand Oaks: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Palmer, D., & Rangel, V. (2011). High stakes accountability and policy implementation: Teacher decision making in bilingual classrooms in Texas. Educational Policy, 25(4), 614–647.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Popper-Giveon, A., & Shayshon, B. (2017). Educator versus subject matter teacher: The conflict between two sub-identities in becoming a teacher. Teachers and Teaching, 23(5), 532–548.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Rex, L. A., & Nelson, M. C. (2004). How teachers’ professional identities position high-stakes test preparation in their classrooms. Teachers College Record, 106(6), 1288–1331.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Ruohotie-Lyhty, M. (2013). Struggling for a professional identity: Two newly qualified language teachers’ identity narratives during the first years at work. Teaching and Teacher Education, 30, 120–129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Sachs, J. (2001). Teacher professional identity: Competing discourses, competing outcomes. Journal of Education Policy, 16(2), 149–161.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Sachs, J. (2005). Teacher education and the development of professional identity: Learning to be a teacher. In P. Denicolo & M. Kompf (Eds.), Connecting policy and practice: Challenges for teaching and learning in schools and universities (pp. 5–21). Oxford: Routledge.Google Scholar
  33. Schram, T. H. (2006). Conceptualizing and proposing qualitative research. Upper Saddle River: Pearson.Google Scholar
  34. Seidman, I. (2012). Interviewing as qualitative research: A guide for researchers in education and the social sciences. New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  35. So, K., & Kang, J. (2014). Curriculum reform in Korea: Issues and challenges for twenty-first century learning. The Asia-Pacific Education Researcher, 23(4), 795–803.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Sorensen, C. W. (1994). Success and education in South Korea. Comparative Education Review, 38(1), 10–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Spring, J. (2010). The politics of American Education. New York: Routhledge.Google Scholar
  38. Sung, Y. K. (2011). Cultivating borrowed futures: The politics of neoliberal loanwords in South Korean cross-national policy borrowing. Comparative Education, 47(4), 523–538.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Um, K. (2013). 교사도 학교가 두렵다 [Scared teachers]. Seoul: Tabi.Google Scholar
  40. van Manen, M. (1990). Researching lived experience: Human science for an action sensitive pedagogy. New York: Routhledge.Google Scholar
  41. Yook, C., & Lee, Y. H. (2016). Korean EFL teachers’ perceptions of the impact of EFL teacher education upon their classroom teaching practices. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 44(5), 522–536.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Education Research Institute, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Institute of EducationNanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore

Personalised recommendations