Becoming an English language teacher over lines of desire: stories of lived experiences

Nashid Nigar, Alex Kostogriz, Laura Gurney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Beyond the notion of decision-making of career choice just being rational, this article proposes the primacy of ‘affect’ in the decision to become teachers over time. The article explores the becoming of immigrant English language teachers as an identity formation process, focusing on the lived experiences of 16 English language teachers since early childhood, mostly prior to their migration to Australia. Findings of the hermeneutic phenomenological narrative analysis of the teachers’ reflective accounts revealed two lines of becoming and their intersections—the line of becoming an English language learner and the line of becoming an English language teacher through decision-making for career choice. The histories of their initial professional decision to ‘become’ English teachers demonstrate the interplay of socially produced desires and personal investment in professional learning and capabilities since early childhood. Through unravelling the assemblages within which their desires to become teachers were fomented and strengthened through embodied lived experiences over a long period of time, we argue that the concept of English teachers’ ‘desired becoming’ informed their initial and long-term decision about career choice. This notion provides a window into the teachers’ decision-making of career choice in terms of the formation of their professional identities as an interplay of the affective and the rational. Embracing and appreciating the combined role of the affective and the rational in teachers’ becoming is important to consider in future research in this area as well as for teacher recruitment and retention, hence potentially addressing critical teacher shortages.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages22
JournalThe Australian Educational Researcher
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023


  • Assemblage
  • Becoming
  • Decision-making for career choice
  • Desire
  • Identity
  • Narrative
  • Non-native/immigrant English language teachers

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