A public education: the lived experiences of one educator

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This dissertation is a visual and narrative-based autoethnography that narrates the lived educational experiences of the author from preschool through doctoral studies. The text portrays a story that explores issues

This dissertation is a visual and narrative-based autoethnography that narrates the lived educational experiences of the author from preschool through doctoral studies. The text portrays a story that explores issues of power, identity, and pedagogy in education. Told in narrative form, this project utilizes visual data, thematic coding, layering, and writing as a method of inquiry to investigate and more fully understand injustices found in the American education system. Findings show how the author’s identities of student, teacher, and researcher influence and impact one another, and lead to the development of a future vision of self.

By examining the author’s roles as a student, teacher, and researcher this study centers on conflicts and inconsistencies that arise at the intersections of self, community, institutions, and society. Included in the narrative’s analysis are issues related to positionality, visions of success, empowerment, resistance, neoliberalism, colonialism, psychological distance, and ideological purpose in teaching. The narrative concludes with the development of a personal vision of purposeful, empowering, liberating, and transformative pedagogy.

This study contributes its voice to conversations about inequity and inequality in education by asking the reader to examine conflicts, ask new questions, and critically engage with the dialogic text.