Nancy Cortez

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

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There are various experiences that shape a teacher, especially during the first year as a teacher. During a twelve month ethnographic study, I set out on the endeavor to answer the question, what makes an effective teacher? The study commences with a personal narrative, introducing who I am and why I chose to become an educator. A vast majority of this ethnography focuses on my experiences as a resident teacher at Freedom Elementary located in the city of South Gate, just Southeast of the city of Los Angeles. Three students from my class served as case studies in which I used an ethnographic methodology to find their assets and needs and create an individualized action plan that addresses their needs. Getting to know my student is just one part of being an effective teacher; another part of being an effective teacher is also knowing my class, the school and the community. This was done by taking an in depth look at my classroom and my class as a whole, becoming a community member and attending school and community events. Following my in depth look into my classroom, school, and community, I was able to reflect on some of my experiences as a first year teacher and how they have helped shape me as a teacher.