Storied lives: the journey of white women teachers to urban schools





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Despite the overwhelming presence of White educators in public schools, few White teachers and White preservice teachers choose to teach in urban settings. On the other hand, of those that choose to teach in inner-city schools, half of them leave within their first five years. Cultural diversity, academic underachievement, high student mobility, discipline, and lack of resources are problematic for many urban schools and staff. Urban schools need exemplary teachers who choose to teach there. Where do these teachers come from? Perhaps more importantly, how did their life experiences impact their journeys to inner-city schools? This research shared the journeys of three White women educators to urban schools. A qualitative method of inquiry was used to gather and analyze the data. The life stories of the three teachers are presented in the form of portraiture. The results suggest that life experience plays a significant role in leading teachers on the path to urban schools. Family values, school and work experiences during childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood, and even at times feelings of being an outsider throughout their lives can impact how teachers view diversity. Several other areas of significance that emerged from this study are as follows: inadequacies of teacher preparation programs, the need for culturally relevant professional development for urban teachers, supporting urban teachers, and raising urban teachers' racial and cultural awareness.

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