Narratives of Experience in Education: Living and Working Through Poverty in a Rural Community
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In this study, I use my own experiences in education as a former elementary student, research assistant, and as a current secondary school teacher, to examine how living in a marginalised rural community challenged by poverty affected my formal education. The purpose of this study was to use stories to: (a) explore my formative elementary education growing up in a community that was experiencing poverty, and; (b) to examine the impact and implications of these experiences for me as a teacher and researcher considering the topic of poverty and education. This study used narrative inquiry to explore stories of education, focusing on experiences living and working in a rural community. My role in the study was both as participant and researcher as I investigate, through story, how I was raised in a marginalised, rural community faced with challenges of poverty and how I relate to my current role as a teacher working in a similar, rural high school. My own experiences and reflections form the basis of the study, but I used the contributions of secondary participants to offer alternative perspective of my interpretation of events. Participants in this study were asked to write about and/or retell their lived stories of working in areas affected by challenging circumstances. From my stories and those of secondary participants, three themes were explored: student authorship, teaching practice, and community involvement. An examination of these themes through commonplaces of place, sociality and time (Connelly and Clandinin, 2006) provide a context for other educators and researchers to consider or reconsider teaching practices in school communities affected by poverty.