DACAmented educators : the educational, professional, and life trajectories of undocumented pre- and in-service educators

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2016-05

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Abstract

This qualitative study examines the educational, professional, and life trajectories of twenty Latina/o Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) beneficiaries pursuing careers as educators. The dissertation explores the participants’ rationales for pursuing careers as educators, the roles they ascribe to educators, their perspectives on education, and expressions of precariousness amongst DACA beneficiaries. The participants in this study met the following criteria: Latina/o, DACA beneficiary, pre- or in-service educator. The ages of the recruited participants ranged between 19 and 32 years old, and included undergraduate students majoring in education, student teachers, graduate students in education, and in-service pre-K-16 educators. The participants were asked to narrate their educational trajectories, career choices, and initial experiences working in public schools as educators. These narratives provide insight into the motivations that compelled Latina/o DACA beneficiaries for pursuing careers in education, and the intricacies of adjustment to the profession as novice educators. I draw from Critical Race Theory, Latina/o Critical Theory, and theories of figured worlds and multiplicity to advance the concept of vivencias, that is, a lens to examine the conditions of existence generated by the participants in relation to everyday struggles under conditions of precariousness. I use various methods, including life history interviews, ethnographic interviews, and participant observations to create biographical counterstories that simultaneously reveal histories of oppression and resistance. The findings of the study are presented in chapter 4 and 5. Chapter 4 presents the biographical counterstories of five participants that display the overall themes of the study: educational trajectories, rationale for pursuing careers as educators, perceived roles of educators, perspectives on education, and expressions of precariousness. Chapter 5 further elaborates on these themes by drawing on the life history interviews of the rest of the participants. The findings of this study highlight the need for further studies with college educated Latina/o DACA beneficiaries and their experiences transitioning to professional careers. The insights of Latina/o DACA professionals can provide colleges and universities with valuable information as to how best serve undocumented immigrant college students in their academic and professional preparation.

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