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My Autobiographical-Poetic Rendition: An Inquiry into Humanizing our Teacher Scholarship

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In this paper, I highlight four distinct but interconnected areas of my life history that I refer to as autobiographic poetic waves. These waves are layered with the complex underpinning of racial, linguistic, gendered, classed, and professional identity politics that continue to not only liberate but also subjugate me at times. These autobiographic poetic waves highlight my experiences as a hyphenated Korean-American woman living in the midst of discourses that continue to privilege dominant ideologies that contradict my lived experiences, yet permeate through every fiber of my being as a member of the academic community. Hence, I focus on two questions: In what ways, do I perceive and understand my lived experiences as a Korean-American, second language writer, English teacher, teacher-scholar, and Mama PhD? And, how can my understanding of these lived experiences further influence the work I do as a teacher-educator? Learning from and moved by the work of Hanauer (2012a, 2012b, 2013), my autobiographical-poetic rendition is an epistemological and ontological revolution that involves understanding my life history as four distinct but interconnected waves: (1) Immigration and Emergence of Hyphenated Identities; (2) Legitimization of the Hyphenated Identities in Higher Education; (3) Epistemological and Ontological Revolution; (4) Perception of Mama PhDs. These waves are interspersed with an extended version of the poem, Untitled, I wrote in 1984.  I focus on the loss, divide, privileges, disenfranchisement, and identity that have permeated my life history since my family’s immigration. I conclude with implications for the field of TESOL teacher education.

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