Date of Award

2019

Access Restriction

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctorate in Education

Department

Education

School or College

School of Education

First Advisor

Antonia Darder, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Rebecca Stephenson, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Shelly Tochluk, Ph.D.

Abstract

In the United States, the largest group of educators, historically and presently, are white middle-class women, yet there is a rising population of racially diverse students creating a persistent dissonance and disconnect between the culture of the white teacher and their students. In this study, I sought to discover how the racial identity development of novice white female educators evolved, given their common participation in the Teach for America program. Using the conceptual frameworks of critical race theory, critical feminist theory, and the body of scholarship in critical whiteness studies, I conducted a critical narrative inquiry of eight novice white female educators. From the participants’ stories, three themes emerged: (a) relationships matter; (b) the privilege to want something different; and (c) intersection of whiteness and power. Further analysis was conducted to address the ideas of race-consciousness building through defining moments and sustained connection, and white dominance through an ascription of power and an analysis of gender. This study represents an effort to address the phenomenon of white teacher dominance by listening to the voices of white educators who experienced race-based development. Ultimately, this study aimed to contribute to the scholarship that informs how white educators develop their own racial identities so as to not do additional harm and trauma to racialized communities.

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