Identity of Vocational Education and Training Teacher: Pathways and Competences
Keywords:teacher identity, teacher professional identity, vocational education, identity pathways, teacher competences
A teacher’s identity can be understood as comprehensive approach to the self-concept of the teacher and the teacher’s external environment. The teacher’s identity already begins to form during the teacher’s preparation for the future teaching profession. The requirements about necessary education and requested competences for the teaching profession are usually set by the state institution such as Ministry of Education. Even though the current conditions for becoming a vocational education and training (VET) teacher are relatively strict, in practice there are teachers in secondary vocational schools whose preparation for the profession varies greatly. It often happens that VET teachers have undergone a transition from the practical economic sphere to the teaching profession, transition from the branch expert to the VET teacher. Vocational education is an important part of the education system, preparing pupils directly for the labour market needs. For most pupils, it is the last formal form of education in their lives. In the Czech Republic, approximately 70% of the population is educated in vocational education every year. The paper identifies main pathways to the identity of VET teacher, consisting of the professional identity of an expert in relevant field and the professional identity of a teacher. When the identity of VET teacher is created, there is often a "boundary crossing" associated with the creation of a new identity, or problems with the loss of the original identity. The intertwining of the teacher’s identity areas subsequently affects development of wider spectrum of competences. These competences need to be developed in the preparation of VET teachers or they can be related to the requirements for the performance of the profession of VET teacher. They can be divided into general pedagogical competences, competences in the field of branch didactics and professional competences of the expert in relevant field. Teachers also participate in the implementation of the curriculum in a particular school and thus become part of the practical side of educational policy. The above-mentioned approaches thus create the basis for the subsequent investigation of "teacher agency" in the conditions of vocational education.