Patterns and similarities in the career paths of Native American women elementary teachers
AuthorCarlson, Caroline E., 1951-
AdvisorPaul, Alice S.
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.
AbstractA significant number of American Indian women have taught and still teach children in both public and government Indian schools. Yet there is very little written about these Native American women teachers, how they view themselves, and their relationship to their professional teaching careers throughout history. In addition, historical accounts on Native education are often inaccurate, disrespectful, and biased. To address issues about Native American women teachers, a qualitative study was conducted to determine the elements in their lives that influenced them to select elementary school teaching as a career choice, and to identify and examine the common patterns and similarities within those elements. The research documented the key elements for success of Native American female teacher including (a) a supportive family, (b) mentoring and positive role models for young Native American girls in elementary and secondary school is vital to their continuing onto higher education, and (c) a strong sense of cultural identity. Five Native American women elementary public school teachers in a large southwestern city, representing four different tribes, participated in individual in-depth interviews to gather information regarding what elements in their lives lead them to educational success. Two had taught in the public school system for more then 20 years, the other three had been in the classroom for less then five years. The research revealed that Native American mothers today are the most influential family members in terms of their daughters educational success in elementary and secondary school, along with being the primary factor in providing moral support during their college years. Mentors and positive role models for young Native American girls in elementary and secondary school are vital to their continuing on the road to higher education. All participants felt that their strong sense of cultural identity helped them as adults to deal with cultural conflict in the workplace. Recommendations for further study, based on participant comments include: increase the number of teachers involved in the study, and interview these same teachers five years from now to see if their reflections changed.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Teaching and Teacher Education