Date of Award


Access Restriction


Degree Name

Doctorate in Education



School or College

School of Education

First Advisor

Antonia Darder

Second Advisor

Bryant Keith Alexander

Third Advisor

Rebecca Herr Stephenson


While there is growing research about the positive impact of teaching artists (TAs), these professional arts educators are an underused resource. As a TA, I have more than a decade of experience implementing spoken word and hip-hop as a pedagogical approach in urban public school classrooms. By conducting this autoethnographic study, I sought to explore insights from these 10 years of lived experience for understanding and documenting the critical principles of my practice as a TA. This autoethnography of my life as a TA tells stories from urban public school classrooms during my formative years as an educator. The research explored the impact my artistic practices have had on developing my pedagogical approach, including the emotional and financial challenges inherent to working on the margins. By interpreting and analyzing ethnographic material from five residencies, this research resulted in complex narrative accounts, which provide insights for the field of arts education, with a specific focus on TAs. Moreover, this study offers a visionary context for a liberatory educational praxis of spoken word and hip-hop in classrooms and communities.