Date of Award

Summer 2019

Degree Type

Restricted to Claremont Colleges Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Teacher Education Internship Program (MA/Credential)


School of Educational Studies

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information



This is an ethnography written by Malinda Castruita, an Education Specialist in Southern California. The ethnography was written between May 2018 and April 2019. Castruita is a Claremont Graduate University Teacher Education Candidate who sheds light on her personal experience in the past and present in both general and special education settings. She is employed in the city of Duarte, California as a Special Day Class teacher with a population of transitional kindergarten, kindergarten and first grade students. The research included addresses the individual educational experiences of her life, a synapse of her family background, as well as her views on social justice, and her educational philosophy and why she chose to become an educator. Castruita chose three specific students in her class to focus her research on for this narrative. These specific students are referred to as “case studies” and “focus students”. The case studies portray a student that is an English learner, another that has an Individualized Education Program (IEP), and one student that has experienced a significant life experience. She researched their culture, funds of knowledge, and academic status of each student. The findings were conducted through focus student home visits, extensive scholarly research, classroom observation, hands-on teaching, and ongoing parent-teacher communication. Castruita will also discuss the cultural and socio-economic findings within the community of her school and Castruita also went out into the Duarte community and conducted member interviews and attended various events to gain a perspective and understanding of the local economy, history, demographics and overall community atmosphere. Malinda also gives a self-analysis of her teaching style and experience within the classroom. She reflects on her effectiveness as a teacher in both whole class and individual student perspectives. Overall, this thorough and thoughtful narrative will allow the reader to step into the community of Duarte and Castruita’s classroom environment and learn how viewing students through the lens of compassion and understanding allows teachers to teach students more efficiently and successfully.