Effects of Working Conditions on Teachers' Professional Identity as Revealed Through Their Narratives and Emotional Experiences: A Case Study of Primary School Efl Teachers by

No Thumbnail Available



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Addis Ababa University


Teachers all over the world play pivotal and multifaceted roles in their societies. They are the main actors in realizing educational objectives, aims and goals. They are often called upon in the process of developing and transforming their communities. Yet, teachers are often expected to shoulder all of these responsibilities without sufficient support. In Ethiopia, where teachers are considered as ‘essential agents for positive societal change’, it is questionable to what extent they are motivated and capable of accomplishing this national ideal under their present working and living conditions. Using this state of affairs and the teacher researcher’s own lived experiences as a point of departure, this study set out to elucidate the effects of working conditions on professional identity of EFL teachers within the Ethiopian government, second cycle primary school system. Drawing on emotional and narrative experiences of individual teachers and descriptions of their entrenched professional perspectives, the study sought to understand the dynamic and complex interaction between teachers’ working conditions, emotions arising from these conditions, and professional identity. The participants of the study are seven experienced EFL teachers drawn from five government second-cycle primary schools in Adama and the neighboring towns. The research employed a qualitative research approach, drawing on Lazarus’ socialpsychological framework of emotion and Kelchtermans’ perspective of professional identity in order to interpret the critical incidents and day-to-day encounters of the teachers. The research problem and the nature of the data sought prompted the use of two methods of data generation, namely, narrative interviewing and research journals. Data gathered through narrative interviews were transcribed, translated to English and coded to facilitate the process of analysis and interpretation. The research journals helped to document the researcher’s personal observations of the participants’ behaviors and of the research contexts and to supplement the interview data. Qualitative content analysis involving several stages was employed to analyze and interpret the data. Each participant's transcripts were analyzed individually so as to maintain unique feelings and iii experiences of individual cases. Cross-case analyses were also made to discover shared experiences and commonalities. The findings generally indicated a complex interaction between teachers’ working conditions and their professional identity. The teachers revealed complex emotional responses, both in positive and negative terms, to challenges and opportunities embedded in their professional and social landscapes. The findings illustrate that the teachers experience positive emotions when their various concerns and aspects of their professional identity are reinforced by intrinsic factors within their career. By contrast, they experience a range of negative emotions when their concerns and professional identity are threatened predominantly as a consequence of extrinsic influences of their working conditions. In spite of this, all of them have displayed a highly positive perception of teaching, a strong sense of professionalism, and, for the majority of them, a tendency to stay in their profession. On the basis of the findings obtained and the conclusions drawn thereof, the study provides recommendations for key stakeholders and highlights implications for further research.



A Case Study of Primary School Efl Teachers by