Title: Resilience in Times of Change: Critical Autoethnographic Stories of Immigrant Teacher Identity
Stream: Challenging & Preserving: Culture, Inter/Multiculturalism & Language
Presentation Type: Oral Presentation
Mihaela Enache, Manukau Institute of Technology, New Zealand
Through immigration, teachers’ lives and identities enter a process of perpetual transformation. Immigration creates opportunities for change, resilience, hard work and grit. Using critical autoethnography and arts-based methods, I investigated the lived realities of five early childhood education teachers, including myself, as both a researcher and participant. The heartbeat stories and boundary artefacts of five Romanian-born teachers who immigrated to New Zealand contribute to understanding the complexities of teacher identity. Dialogical self theory was the main theoretical framework. A key finding revealed that the stronger teachers are in their identities and sense of belonging, the more benefits there are for the communities to which they belong. The past enables the participants to be grounded in the present and plan for the future. The importance of my study lies in its commitment to social justice, inclusion and identity within culturally diverse communities. Its contribution addresses the remaining gap in research on teacher identity, in the face of the growing diversity in New Zealand society and the wider world.
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