Sharing intimate moments: Relationships of rapport and respect

Year: 2005

Author: Peeler, Eleanor

Type of paper: Refereed paper

Is it desirable for a teacher to be unable to identify self as such? Is it appropriate to be set apart in the school community because of race? Is it good practice to deny access to community? Should we continue to do the things we have always been doing without regard for sharing workplace knowledge with newcomers?

Such questions besiege immigrant teachers who enter new communities in Victorian schools where they are exposed to unfamiliar codes of practice and educational philosophies. Their construction of self as professional is disqualified in their new situation and they face a quandary as to how they must reconstruct their identity and re-establish their professional standing. Speaking intimately of such occurrences requires trust and rapport as generally, one's intimate thoughts are concealed from all but a privileged few. To explore the social world of another the social researcher is bound by research ethics, must revere confidences imbued in her and under no circumstances initiate stress. The ideal relationship is bonded by mutual trust wherein privacy respected at all costs. This paper explores the relationship between a researcher and a group of immigrant teachers. It shows how trust evolved and initiated the teachers sharing intimate stories.