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Temporary novice english language instructors’ (re)negotiation of imagined and practiced teacher identities: a case study in Turkey

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2020
Elmas, Tugay
The higher education landscape has seen some rapid shifts in recent years. As in many other countries, one of the emerging phenomena in higher education in Turkey is the class of temporary teachers who are employed without tenure and professional stability. Novice language teachers aiming to establish a career in higher education may find themselves engaged in temporary teaching in the early years of the profession. By bearing on the role of employment status this qualitative case study through the lens of imagined and practiced teacher identities aimed to explore how five temporary novice English language instructors mediated their teacher identities in the professional community. The study was conducted at a foundation university’s School of Foreign Languages in Turkey. Data were collected over the period of one academic semester using semi-structured individual interviews, focus group meetings, and field notes. The data were examined through a multilayered analytic method. v The findings revealed that the participants mainly invested in temporary teaching as a career advancement strategy. Before the start of the semester, the teachers constructed positive imagined teacher identities and hoped to be part of a supportive and welcoming teaching community. However, in reality, the participants’ temporary status directly translated into shaping the teacher identities they envisioned enacting and the teacher identities they were influenced to practice both at the institutional and classroom level. Rooted in the practice of precarious engagement, the participants throughout the semester found themselves in a state of pervasive uncertainty which prevented them from forming secure teacher identities.