This paper discusses the monumental events in my life that have shaped my two professional identities, teacher and researcher. I used autoethnography as a research methodology to traverse my personal life narratives across two different countries: Vietnam and Australia to seek and to examine my dual cultural identities, and how they shaped me. I am a passionate teacher who believes that teaching can change the world through the causes that I care about such as anti-racism and equity in education for students from all backgrounds. In this case study, data were collected by semi-structured interview and reflection on journals. Data were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. The findings are reported under four themes that reflected the stages of my life: designed in Vietnam, made in Australia was the first phase, growing up in Australia, my schooling years and professional years. By making sense of the narratives and involved, it helped me to understand myself better, who I am as a teacher and the causes that I believe in. As an Australian with hybrid cultural identities, I am the norm in contemporary culture.


Cultural Identity, Identity Formation, Professional Identity, Effective Teachers, Activism Teaching

Author Bio(s)

Jennifer Sze is a teacher, teaching associate and PhD candidate at Monash University. Her research interests include literacy, digital technology, boys’ education, education reform and teachers’ identity. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: Jennifer Sze, Monash University Clayton Campus, Faculty of Education, E-mail: jennifer.sze@monash.edu; Mobile: +61 409255500.

Jane Southcott is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education, Monash University. Her research foci are twofold. She explores community music, culture ageing and engagement in the arts employing both a qualitative, phenomenological approach and quantitative strategies. Her other research field is historical, particularly concerning the development of the music curriculum in Australia, America and Europe. She is a narrative historian and much of her research is biographical. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: jane.southcott@monash.edu.

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