Date of Award

Summer 2023

Degree Type

Restricted to Claremont Colleges Master's Ethnography

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

© 2023 Marco A. Torres


This ethnography intends to recount the journey embarked by a first-year teacher. It will chronicle the experiences of a Critical Social Justice educator in navigating the institution of education and the deep structures of schooling. By telling the authentic stories of students and their experiences, this ethnography intends to give voice from perspectives of those that we teach, to those who represent the most significant component of a classroom ecology, the student. It will analyze data and share stories of three tenth-grade students: Ty, a bridging Standard English language learner who learned to welcome is steady quest to build intellective capacity, Dee, a student on an Individualized Education Plan who learned that compassion can be his greatest teacher, and May, a student with significant life experiences who endured in forging a mindset free of limits. The building of connections with students is a key tenant to this ethnography and the authentic stories of additional students are also incorporated. In doing so, it intends to highlight and honor the stories of the diverse group of Asian, African American, Latinx, and White students who call this Southern California suburban community home.

This work begins through the lens of cultural humility and storytelling. Through an examination of a first-year teacher’s positionality, identity, assumptions, biases, growth, struggles, relationships, and reconciliation with school values, practices, and beliefs, this work chronicles how a Critical Social Justice educator journeyed from a novice educator to an individual who built his foundation as an agent of change. The attempts to build a student-centered classroom ecology are shared through the authentic stories of the students, which this ethnography seeks to honor.