Miller, Paul (2008) Professional lives under review: evaluating the human capital impact of overseas trained teachers (OTTs) on secondary education in London. Educate: the London journal of doctoral research in education, 8 (2). pp. 22-35. ISSN 1477-5557

Notions of teacher quality, character and identity are debated worldwide. It is
commonly held that the voices of ‘new’ teachers are largely underrepresented in such
debates (Kompf, 2005). By engaging teachers in research into their own determinations of
teacher quality, their dialogue can provide insights into the personal and individual
processes of becoming a teacher within a broader socio-political framework (Frid and Reid,
2003). The earlier phase of teaching can be described as one of 'survival' and 'discovery'
(Huberman, 1992), signifying the 'reality shock' new teachers face. Researchers (Day,
1999; Graham and Phelps, 2003; Bleach and Rhodes, 2004) emphasise the need for
teachers to be properly supported at the earlier phase of their career; a requirement also
identified for migrant or Overseas Trained Teachers (Miller, 2006).
This paper discusses findings on teacher identity as regard the experiences of Overseas
Trained Teachers (OTTs) from the Caribbean in the course of their employment in
London. Through teaching in London, OTTs have experienced both negative and
positive impacts. On the one hand, these impacts have undermined previously held
value positions resulting in some degree of confusion and turbulence. On the other hand,
OTTs have navigated conflicting discourses and have combined past experiences with
present knowledges to produce a form of localised ‘teacher identity’.

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