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Challenges, professional development, and professional identity: A case study on novice language teachers

Karataş, Pınar
The initial years of teaching are challenging for novice teachers. This period is critical for them as they either succeed in managing workflows, continue professional development and construct a healthy identity or drop out of the profession. This qualitative case study was carried out to explore the challenges, perceptions regarding professional development and professional identity of novice language teachers in Izmir, a big city in western Turkey. Interviews and observations with the novices were the primary sources of data, and the researcher’s field notes and journal were used to triangulate the data. The results showed that rather than the year of experience, it was the school culture which either facilitated or aggravated the reality shock of the participants. A positive school culture facilitated the adaptation period of novices, and provided a sound and secure foundation for professional development and identity. It was the toxic school culture which affected novices’ perceptions of self-as-teacher negatively and replaced all their enthusiasm with a loss of idealism and reluctance to keep teaching or strive for their professional development.