Exploring Hybrid Identities: South Asian American Women Pursue a Career in Teaching
By: Amita Roy Shah
Published: 05/22/2013
Uploaded: 12/12/2017
Uploaded by: Pocket Masters
Pockets: 2013 (May) Teachers College Columbia University Ed.D. Dissertations, Gottesman Libraries Archive, Historical Dissertations
Tags: curriculum, Education, hybrid identities, model minority, South Asian American, teachers of color

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Description/Abstract: This study explores how second-generation South Asian American women negotiated their hybrid identities to pursue a career in teaching. Many South Asian Americans have not pursued a career in teaching because of various external and internal factors that have influenced their sense of identity, academic achievement, and professional career path (Asher, 2002a). Thus, this research contributes to understanding the experiences of South Asian Americans and provides more insight into what has drawn South Asian American women into the teaching profession.
This qualitative case study used a postcolonial feminist framework to explore the concept of hybridity (Anzaldua, 1987; Asher, 2002b; Bhabha, 1994). Data collection consisted of three semi-structured interviews with each participant, one focus group interview with all participants and document analyses (e.g., personal and/or professional statements to enter a teacher education program). Data analysis consisted of within-case analysis for each participant using the following themes: 1) Testing and reinterpreting the boundaries of model minority stereotype 2) Reflecting on "othering" and "unothering" experiences 3) Negotiating hybrid identities and honoring cultural worlds. A cross-case analysis was also conducted to look for similarities and differences across all cases to develop a deeper understanding of how the participants negotiated their hybrid identities to pursue a career in teaching.
The research revealed that the women in this study were not aware of teaching as a career option for them until high school or beyond. Each participant went through a process of testing and reinterpreting the boundaries around the model minority stereotype to create a hybrid definition of the stereotype that allowed for them to meet their own career goals and desires. In addition, they each negotiated their hybrid identities by creating strategies that allowed for them to live in-between their cultural worlds when pursuing a career in teaching. Furthermore, each participant had "othering" and "un-othering" experiences in school which had a significant impact on their motivation to pursue a career in teaching. The implications of this study are for teacher recruitment and teacher preparation programs.