Term of Award

Spring 2024

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

Robert Lake

Committee Member 1

John Weaver

Committee Member 2

Ming Fang He

Committee Member 3

Rachel Abbott

Committee Member 3 Email



This is a nontraditional, very creative approach to dissertation writing. Using reflective poetic inquiry, I reflect on my experiences transitioning from pre-service to in-service teacher in the early childhood classroom. I taught for 7 years and encountered many situations that would have been beneficial to know prior to becoming a certified teacher. I explore overarching themes of coworker relationships, undergraduate program preparation, the various responsibilities, classroom environment, teacher evaluation, teacher perspective, and teacher mental health and well-being and how they each impact a teacher’s experience in the classroom. This is accomplished through the epistolary genre and letters to myself as a new teacher, building on a wide arrange of works by poets and theorists such as Pauline Sameshima, Carl Leggo, Jonathan Kozol, Robert Lake, Tricia Kress, William Schubert, Sonia Nieto, and more. Seven letters were written to myself offering scenarios, stories, and advice on what to expect as a new teacher. Each letter is followed by supporting literature and concluded by a poem that brings a rich and diverse set of elements to the table. Through the lens of teaching with passion combined with aesthetic beauty, imagery, and empathy, I bring a new perspective to the understanding of what it takes to be a teacher.

OCLC Number


Research Data and Supplementary Material