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Lost and found: an exploration of the professional identity of primary teachers during the Covid-19 pandemic

Mellon, Conor (2022) Lost and found: an exploration of the professional identity of primary teachers during the Covid-19 pandemic. Journal for Multicultural Education, 16 (1). pp. 77-89. ISSN 2053-535X

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The purpose of this paper is to report on a small-scale study to explore the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Irish primary teachers’ evolving identities.

Using a narrative methodological approach, the study was underpinned by Kelchtermans’ (2009) interpretive framework. Five Irish primary teachers participated in in-depth semi-structured interviews. The teachers’ narratives focused on what it meant to “be” a teacher during the pandemic, their overall experience of teaching and learning, their motivation during (and beyond) this time, lessons learned and their future perspectives.

The paper found that teachers’ identities shifted and evolved over the course of the pandemic, as they initially struggled to make sense of the significant challenges. However, the emergent self-image, as illustrated here, is characterised by commitment, altruistic motivation and personal and professional growth. The study also demonstrated a reconstruction of teachers’ identities, in line with reconfigured relationships with parents, a renewed commitment to space and time in teaching and learning and an attendance to pupil voice.

There is little specific research on how teachers’ identities have been redefined over the course of the pandemic. This admittedly small-scale study offers insights on how teachers viewed themselves during the pandemic, what it means to be a teacher at this tumultuous time and gives voice to the hard-learned lessons they take with them into a post-Covid era.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Identity; Teachers; Pandemic; COVID-19
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1501 Primary Education
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain > Ireland
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > Teaching Personnel > Primary School Teachers
Divisions: Centre for Education and Lifelong Learning > Staff Research and Publications
Depositing User: Clara Chan
Date Deposited: 09 Sep 2022 11:08
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2022 11:08

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