Language Teacher Identities in the Southern United States: Transforming Rural Schools


Foreign language (FL) and English as a Second Language (ESL) teaching present considerable challenges in the rural U.S. South. Local language ideologies, budgetary considerations, and challenges in other curricular areas (e.g., math and science) lead to marginalizing both FL and ESL in schools. This article examines the personal and professional trajectories of in-service language teachers in K–12 settings in the state of Mississippi to better understand how participants conceptualize their practice and their roles in schools. By analyzing the interview discourse of nine teachers, we found that both ESL and FL teachers positioned themselves against dominant ideologies and educational policies and constructed themselves as agents of change in the classroom, school, and community at large. This study contributes to the argument for integrating FL and ESL in rural areas, where both groups need support, and provides suggestions for ESL-FL teacher collaboration in rural schools.

Publication Title

Journal of Language, Identity and Education