From Student to Professional: One Social Justice Teacher's Narrative
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New teachers enter their profession with passion and philosophical beliefs about what good education looks like. The desire to teach is often born from positive experiences in their own education. During their pre-service training education, students attending universities and colleges which espouse to create social justice educators are learning that school and learning are not as positive for many of their future students. They learn that equitable learning opportunities must be created and inequities are found in abundance. They are also learning that our American school system is built upon white dominance theories which profess that successful learners must learn to abide by the expectations and demands created by white dominant policy makers and leaders. These unjust expectations and demands upon minority groups often go against children’s cultural norms and family capabilities. There is, therefore, a clash between what new teachers come to believe about justice in education and the practices in place in public education. This research follows one such new educator through his first two years of teaching. Through narrative story, it brings to light the typical struggles of a new teacher such as: learning the curriculum, meeting paperwork demands, managing time, and managing behaviors. It also reveals how these typical struggles are compounded by internal struggles regarding fair treatment of students and philosophical dissonance between beliefs and practices in place.