Term of Award

Summer 2017

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading

Committee Chair

Ming Fang He

Committee Member 1

Daniel Chapman

Committee Member 2

John Weaver

Committee Member 3

William Schubert

Committee Member 3 Email



This inquiry travels through stages of my education and life in order to explore the following three questions: How do a teacher’s values and personal experiences translate into teaching lives and teaching acts? How do teachers and students live counterstories inside and outside of the classroom? How do class, gender and place impact teaching and learning? Building on the works of critical theorists, (Apple, 2004; Ayers, 2004; Delpit, 2006; Freire, 2005; hooks, 1994; Kincheloe, 2004; Kincheloe & Pinar, 1991; Kozol, 1992; Watkins, 2001,2004), autobiographical studies (He, 2003, 2010; Miller, 2005; Pinar, 1994; Schubert & Ayers; 1990) and memoirs (Angelou, 1993; Ayers, 2001; Barrington, 2002; Karr, 2015; Lamott, 1994; Lawson, 2015; Sedaris, 2000; Walls, 2005) and others, I use memoir as methodology to recount passages that occurred during three distinct phases of my life: my life as a rich girl, my life as poor trash, and my life as a teacher. I illuminate how my personal experience of moving between socioeconomic classes, geographical places, and roles of womanhood shaped who I was and how I become who I am as a teacher and how class, place and gender impact the process of becoming educated.

This memoir engages in a pedagogy of liberation (Shor & Friere, 1986) that celebrates the voice of individuals and interrogates how personal experience affects the process of becoming educated and the development of any individual as a student, a teacher, and a critically engaged member of society (Ayers, 2004b; Freire; 2005; Kincheloe, 1999). My life manifests how class, place, gender and race helps us understand who we are and how we become who we are but cannot define who we are in a constantly changing and contested world. My life manifests how education could be catalyst for greater understanding of ourselves, our world, and our choices in the world. My life manifests that teaching is personal and political. My life curriculum is a manifesto constantly in the making, and I hope that it will speak to my daughter, and son, and other people’s children as they compose their lives in a contested and unjust world.

INDEX WORDS: Memoir, Autobiographical Research, Place, Class, Critical Theory

Research Data and Supplementary Material