Looking back in time, staring into history: an autobiographical sketch of an elementary school teacher from Appalachia

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Virginia Tech

Filled with both painful and joyful memories, curious turning point moments, strange epiphanies and numerous significant others, this autobiographical sketch is the story of an oppressed young man from Appalachia who shunned his roots searching for answers. Ethnographically, it is the study and story of a disadvantaged student who struggled with learning only to teach himself to read and write and, in doing so, found himself caught between two divergent worlds, one of inherited Appalachian values, the other of earned middle class status. It is the personal narrative of an elementary school teacher and administrator who time after time attempted to escape an oppressive pedagogy only to be sucked helplessly back in at each new experience. And, it is the anecdote of an individual who eventually returned to his roots, his history, his culture, sensing more distinctly that when perplexed one must always try to discover where his or her soul lies and then go from there. The answers lie within us; they are part of who we are as individuals; for, they have been shaped by our "life history" (Goodson, 1992, p. 6) inside of which is hidden our "life story" (Goodson, 1992, p. 6).

autobiographical, elementary, teacher, school, Appalachia