Narratives of Compassion and Heartache: Teachers' Everyday Professional Struggles with an English-only Policy in an Elementary School in a Southwest Border Community
AuthorSiegel, Satoko Yaeo
KeywordsLanguage, Reading & Culture
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis dissertation describes an ethnographic case study of an elementary school in a border city in Southern Arizona. Its purpose is to explore teachers' professional lives at Cactus Elementary School (CES; pseudonym) through classroom observations, interviews and informal conversations. The majority of the fieldwork was conducted in the 2004-2005 school year. Teachers in Arizona have severe challenges compared with teachers in other states: lower expenditures on students, lower salaries, higher teacher-student ratios, and more English language learning students. Teachers at CES are faced with even more concerns, such as students' high mobility rate, the students' low socioeconomic status, and the students' language development. Furthermore, educational policies, such as NCLB, AZ LEARNS and the English-only policy set strict rules regarding language usage in classrooms and testing environments in schools. This study explores teachers' compassion and commitment to their profession. It also describes professional distress experienced by teachers as a result of national and state educational policies. In addition, it illustrates teachers' strategies for negotiating and developing everyday educational policies. This study questions whether school excellence and teacher quality can be measured solely by student test scores, and what "highly qualified teachers" means to students and the local community. At the same time, this dissertation emphasizes the power that local teachers and administrators have in negotiating and developing federal and state educational policies to meet their students' needs.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Language, Reading & Culture