Date of Award

5-2019

Degree Type

Creative Project

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

English

First Advisor

Steven Camicia

Second Advisor

Jessica Rivera-Mueller

Third Advisor

Steve Shively

Abstract

This autoethnographic paper explores my role as a teacher-learner. Who am I as a teacher? How has my past and present shaped me into the teacher that I am and want to become? To address these questions, I examine the cultural context into which I fit as a college instructor of English in a college community. I also examine my memories of my own mentors and students, which emphasize how my most valued learning experiences stemmed from mentors who have seen me as an individual, and when I see my own students as individuals. To explore the conditions that produce effective teaching and learning environments, I will use an autoethnography, which is a form of qualitative research that the author uses for self-reflection to explore their personal experience and connect this autobiographical story to broader cultural, political, and social perspectives. To record my observations, reflections, and actions, I keep a teacher’s log which details the data sources I draw upon, including emails and meetings with mentors and students, interaction with students during class time, students’ teacher evaluations, and one letter to myself. Thus, the method becomes appropriate to explore my research questions. My autoethnographic journey bridges my personal observations to pedagogical theory. They discuss what can contribute to the identity of students and teachers (which affects relationship), including race, class, and gender. Woven together, the literature emphasizes relationships between teachers and students, reflecting qualities of the humanizing pedagogy which redefines and rebuilds my continuously developing teacher-learner self. Thus, in changing myself, I can effectively change my own classroom. In knowing myself, I can better know my students and better serve them. Furthermore, while helping me to improve my own teaching, the autoethnography will also help other students and teachers to connect to my stories, perhaps discovering or rediscovering a humanizing pedagogy as I did, to undergo their own process of growth.

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