Date of Award

Summer 2019

Degree Type

Restricted to Claremont Colleges Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Education, MA


School of Educational Studies


Health Promotion and Education

Second Concentration


Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Keisha Goosby

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Caitlin King

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Katherine Cooke

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Andre Chen-Feng

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.


English, Teacher, Education, Los Santos, Social Justice, Students

Subject Categories

Higher Education and Teaching | Junior High, Intermediate, Middle School Education and Teaching | Prison Education and Reentry | Secondary Education | Secondary Education and Teaching


The ethnographic narrative is a mixture of my journey to education as well as my experience as a first-year teacher. Working in an underserved area in Southern California provided me the opportunity to reach students with similar backgrounds as my own. Being Mexican-American, I pride myself in giving back to my community, and this ethnography provided me that avenue to reach countless students with similar stories to mine.

The three focus students you will see were my primary focus; however, data is collected from over 120 7th-grade students-- the majority of which are Latino. All of my classroom assignments and exit tickets are posted on Google Classroom which allows me to collect data on my students progress on a daily basis. For their unit assessments and other major assessments, students use which allows me to track which Common Core State Standards they are mastering and what standards they need more assistance on.

The one significant challenge I encountered was the culture and beliefs of the charter school I was at. First, the charter school has adopted a pre-designed curriculum that does not allow for much creativity for the teacher. They have also lowered the standards for traditional grades which will be discussed later in the prompt. The school itself does not encourage teachers to freely teach; instead, it programs teachers to teach their way without accounting for the needs of individual students.


Education has not always been at the forefront of my career ambitions. Growing up, I felt an obligation to earn my high school and college degrees for my parent’s sake; however, I developed a negative perception towards education, and I began to view it as a system that filtered students through rigorous courses with no reward at the end. I knew the mentality I had was not a healthy, sustainable one I could maintain, and I needed to make life changes if I was ever going to amount to anything. After two lackluster years at community college, I decided to redirect my focus and enlist in the United States Army. Life in the military was not easy, but it was a necessary task I had to undertake as it allowed me to develop empathy and a sense of responsibility to help others. Selfless service has become the foundational value in my life, and I have made a recommitment to serve others in any compacity I can.

My time in service helped me to discover two things about myself, I have the necessary skills needed to teach others important subject matters, and I have a deep zeal for literature. It has become a necessity for me to develop my craft. As an aspiring high school English teacher, I must remain up to date with vital teaching practices that will, in turn, help me instruct and guide students more efficiently. Although my time in service has come to an end, I will continue to serve others in their educational endeavors, so that they may succeed in multiple capacities.