AUTHOR : Kyunghee Shin
INFORMATION : page. 85~106 / 2019 Vol.13 No.1
This study analyzes the experiences of homosexual prospective teachers, examining how homosexual prospective teachers form their identities as members of a sexual minority and as teachers. Homosexual youths have experienced a long and pervasive history of discrimination in Korea, where homophobia is firmly rooted. Although multiple types of victimization ranging from verbal teasing to sexual harassment and physical assault are frequently reported at the high school level, many scholars state that actual harassment and discrimination based on sexuality begin early in life. Young children learn that there are dominant societal expectations of the expression of gender and sexuality. Without teachers’ conscious efforts in the classroom, homophobic and heterosexist discursive practices become prevalent in their lives. This study analyzes the experiences of homosexual prospective teachers, examining how homosexual prospective teachers form their identity as members of a sexual minority and as teachers. For this research goal, I conducted narrative interviews with five homosexual prospective teachers. They majored in Early Childhood Education at college in Gyeonggi province. After collecting the interview data, I analyzed it based on ground theory. According to the research findings, participants experienced discrimination since the moment of awareness during which the homosexual individuals confirmed their feeling as homosexuality. They moved into the more matured identity development phases. At the same time, they also constructed their teacher identity. They showed the passion and enjoyment for teaching which are typically observed in the pre-teaching period. Due to the conservative atmosphere of Korean society, participants remained in the closeted teaching step and failed to reach the final step of the homosexual teacher identity development process. These research findings imply that it is necessary to define homosexual teachers as change agents, not as living a tabooed existence, who challenge heterosexual norms and homophobia, which starts as early as kindergarten.