Date of Award

Summer 2020

Degree Type

Restricted to Claremont Colleges Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Teacher Education Internship Program (MA/Credential)


School of Educational Studies

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Eddie Partida

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Danielle Centeno

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Claudia Bermudez

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Andre ChenFeng

Terms of Use & License Information

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Rights Information

© Copyright 2020 Michelle Veronica Montes


This ethnography of my first-year teaching experience takes you on a journey through two different school sites with contrasting school environments as a critical social justice educator. As a Native American Fellow, I analyze the prospects of teaching Native American children with love and the knowledge of my own cultural background. My three focus students help me connect to the experiences of the wide variety of students that make up our classroom communities. Focus student 1 is a shy and quiet English Learner who is also an asset to the classroom. Focus student 2 has a vivid imagination but has a difficult background. Focus student 3 is a bright individual who adds to the liveliness of the class community. Toward the end of my experience, I look at the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic with my students, their community, the Native American community, the LGBTQ+ community, and myself regarding distance learning. Though the pandemic did not allow me to realize my full potential as an educator, I concluded that I have grown into a more confident and capable educator with the skillset, vocabulary, and drive of a warm demander who identifies as critical social justice educator. How can I translate my teaching experience to teaching children in a community with a rich cultural heritage?