Teacher identities: A study in the construction of the Teacher-self in Greece

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Sachpazian Maria-Araxi and Papachristou Vicky
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LIF – Language in Focus Publications
Teaching, a career choice many make when they are still young, seems an easy professional solution, traditionally suited to women and affording a ‘’convenient’’ lifestyle. This description of teaching reflects an antiquated idea of what being a teacher actually entails. Likewise, the identity of teachers has changed and keeps shape-shifting, so it is in constant and growing need of redefinition. Therefore, teachers seem trapped in a perpetual vicious circle in which certainties become doubts and doubts hopefully lead to more self-reflection and new certainties. This paper aims to present the findings of an ongoing research into how EFL teachers in Greece construct their own identity (what being a 21st century language teacher means to them), how the construction of this identity is related with their studies (retrospective connection), and/or their development. Finally, insights will be shared in terms of the potential changes that may need to be implemented in teacher education. To this end, a digital research based on a questionnaire has been conducted via social media and a google form. The preliminary results revealed that EFL teachers in Greece are clearly aware of what is required to be an expert in the field, yet they hesitate to characterise themselves as such; age and years of experience are more important than teacher education in constructing their identity, and the most experienced teachers view construction of identity as highly significant in terms of their professional development, thus investing consistently in it. Keywords: EFL Teacher, Teacher Identity, Teacher Education