My privileges are constructed and re-constructed through my contextual relationships with my university, my mentors, and my students. These privileges are closely associated with the construction of social identity. I position myself with the context as it aligns with “Social identity theory [that] recognizes the membership of individuals in many groups (ingroups and outgroups), of which membership in one group may at times be more salient than membership in another”. (Varghese, Morgan, Johnston & Johnston, 2005, p.25). The experiences from my in-groups: my university and my mater’s program help me to knit together those connections and help see the larger picture of the process my identity construction.
My University & Scholarship: Gender and Age
With more equal chance for women in my country, Indonesia to get a higher education with the support by their professional works, Gender and Ages become privileges for me. My program is the English teachers training department which prepare English pre-service teachers, and without no doubt, the majority of students are women. With this fact, my university gives more encouragement for female lecturers to continue for further education. This effort is supported by many scholarship agencies in Indonesia to provide more quota for female grantees. In regards to age, being in my early age of 30s, I cannot deny the fact that I’m lucky to involve in professional teaching for 7 years and an academic year since master for about 3 years. This path, can hopefully, craft my career as a better professional teaching instructors and research in my country, Indonesia. These privileges remind to the Bourdieu’s theory of symbolic capital to access for discourses.
My Guru (Mentor): Racial Identity
I used to feel like I had been minority ever since my high school starting from my movement from my small remote city to big provinces like Bali and Java for continuing my study. I had a lack of confidence to present my identity due to cultural accent which sometimes became a point of ridicule by my friends. This experience attributed me with the low self-esteem of my racial identity when I involved in any mainstream educational context. This issue also influences me to see myself as non-native English speaker as Holliday (2005) said, the stereotypes of being inferior, passive, I felt that attached to me. The point of change when I started to invest myself when I did my thesis and met Prof. Phan Le Ha as my assigned supervisor. Our same gender relationship between supervisor and supervisee, a Vietnamese and a female prof. Phan
helped me a lot in the process of interrogating my the stereotypes and strategically appropriate my intellectual skills and social awareness about the issues in educational context. Phan & Viete (2007) echoes the supervisor-student interaction to creates a discursive practice where students can invest themselves by bringing their ownership such as identity & cultures in their writing. This process of negotiation has shaped the way I see myself and the exploration of my context in my thesis writing which situates in the Indonesian context.
My students: Focused Reading Group
Due to the strict policy of curriculum in my English program, I could not teach what I had learned in my master’s program such as the issues of identity, power, and language. Thus, I created my Focused-Reading Group (FRG) with ten brilliant students and ran it for three semesters. My FRG become “support group” as Vandicrk refers to any groups that provide connection, encouragement and practical help (p.129). Not only my students can have academic experience, but I felt I grow as well with my deeper understanding of all theoretical frameworks that I learned and when I put it in our pedagogical context during our discussion in FRG.
Our great achievement for the FRG includes the emerging awareness of current issues in EFL but also the chance to conduct research and gain grant for presentations done by the students. For me personally, this support group can help me to still on the track of learning and researching during my readings and discussion with my students. The sustainability of academic environment outside the classroom can benefit me to keep nurturing my skills and ambition as TESOL professional.