Elif’s construction of teacher identity
The process of exploring new practices helped Elif as a teacher to construct her teacher identity professionally. Her teacher identity construction was influenced by her personality, motherhood, and even her experiences as a student. First, being a mother influences EliFs teaching. She said, “my son says, ‘I’m an individual, you have to accept me as I’m, and you should respect me.’ My students have the same expectation as well.”
Elif met several individuals during her studenthood, and they contributed to her teaching journey. Her primary school teacher encouraged her to sit for secondary education examinations. She felt herself indebted to her teacher because she used to live with her grandmother; her parents were in Germany. Elif was able to become aware of the examination and sit for it with her teacher’s help. She attended prep class in high school. Her teacher was a fascinating lady; she lived abroad (in the U.K.) for a while and had just returned at that time. She impressed Elif because “she did not practice what should be done; she tried to teach the subjects of the book in a different manner. We had a language laboratory, and she led us to listen to the materials that she brought from the U.K.” Observing such a teacher might cause Elif to have an intrinsic motivation to enrich her lessons with extra resources and materials instead of being bounded by the coursebook only.
Also, several academicians contributed to EliFs teacher identity construction. She met the academician, who was an expert in using drama in language teaching. She invited Elif to her presentations at ELT conferences and her courses at the university. Her path crossed with another academician who was an expert in the area of World Englishes at a colloquium at Bogaziyi University. While she was explaining the problems that she experienced in MoNE, that academician invited her to a training program. The purpose was to educate ELT teachers on English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) paradigm. In this program, they read ELF-re-lated articles on an online platform; they shared how to practice those theories in the classroom; they prepared activities and practiced them in their courses as ELF-aware teachers. She named herself as “ELF-aware teacher.” She participated in the ELF7 conference held in Greece as a presenter. She shared her ELF-aware lesson plans and the video recordings of her courses. She said, “this was a very effective training because we were the first teachers sharing the praxis dimension of ELF; up until then, just the theory dimension was discussed.”
Elif presented a single identity coupled with lots of identities like a teacher, student, and even a researcher sometimes. She continuously searched for new ways to enrich her instruction; for example, she was curious about “flipped
Path toward the construction of a professional identity 165 classrooms.” Her identity moved from teacher to learner in the “Debate Society.” She stated,
one of my students runs her peers at English Debate, and every week I take a seat and listen to that student together with others. I mean, I confuse the teacher model in the students’ mind, and I do this on purpose.
Elif has never been a typical teacher who believes in teaching as her sole responsibility'. She has always taken an active role in various positions related to her profession such as mentoring, teacher training, and moderating a webinar. She had a certificate of mentorship awarded by MoNE. She had teacher candidates from the ELT Department of Bogazi^i University'. They regularly observed her classes, and one teacher candidate interviewed her and wrote a report. The candidate described her by noting “like a painter like a teacher“ to explain the bidirectional nature of teaching. Elif learned something while teaching just like an artist who got painted while painting the artifact.
Apart from mentoring, she had considerable experience in teacher training. Her training experience began with her participation in the program organized by MoNE, supported by the World Bank. She applied for the program, and after completing her training session, she started to work as a trainer in addition to her regular classroom teaching. However, she could practice only one teacher training seminar in Istanbul. When she was required to give training in different cities of Turkey, she decided to put an end to this experience. She then became a testing trainer for MoNE and organized testing and evaluation training for the teachers in her region.
Elif participated in a blended teacher training program organized by Robert College. They first attended the face-to-face session, and then they' studied with Robert College teachers via an online learning management system, “Moodle.” At the end of the course, she was qualified as a teacher trainer and went to Gaziantcp, a province located in the southern part of the country'. She said, “we shared our studies with the teachers there. I also shared what I experienced while I was trained at Robert College. We gave online feedback to each other. I mean, we learned while we are teaching.” Being satisfied with sharing her knowledge and experiences, Elif believed that her teacher training experiences broadened her horizon.
Elif also had a moderating experience on a webinar organized by BC. Before the praxis, BC led her to get online training from an expert on webinars. She carried out the webinar under the control of an employee from BC. She said, “in essence, I’m getting pushed into this situation. From now on, I learned lots of things and came to an efficient point, so I need to share them now.” She put an end to her words by saying “to participate in lots of things perhaps being unsuccessfill sometimes, but with its different contributions offer to achieve success for the next step in a sense.”
In brief, Elif’s teacher identity construction was influenced by' multiple identities. Among such is her identity' as a mother or a learner, and even her professional experiences as a mentor and a teacher trainer. Also, severalindividuals, she met influenced her teacher identity construction. Her teacher identity even reflected inspiring teachers she met when she was a student at primary and secondary schools.