Educar con compromiso : Chicana teacher identity and activism through comadrazgo in a teachers’ association




Espinoza, Katherine Elise

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



This dissertation examines the process of identity and agency construction of bilingual teachers by exploring the experiences of three activist maestras involved in a teachers’ association in a right-to-work state. I draw on a postpositivist perspective (Moya, 2002; Hames-Garcia, 2011) and LatCrit (Delgado Bernal, 1989, 2002; Solórzano, 1997; Solórzano & Delgado Bernal, 2001) to highlight the knowledge we gain from exploring individuals’ unique experiences. I frame my inquiry through theoretical frameworks that accentuate lived experiences of Chicana teachers – culturally responsive teaching (Valenzuela, 2016; Ayers and Kumashiro, 2015), funds of knowledge (Moll, Amanti, Neff & Gónzalez, 2001), and lived critical literacy curriculum (Vasquez, 2003, 2010, 2012). My study demonstrates the ways in which activist Chicana activist maestras find non-traditional ways of integrating pedagogical practices to meet the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse Latinx students and how their pedagogical practices are informed by their advocacy efforts – inside and outside of the classroom – in their pursuit of a social justice curriculum. Specifically, I examine their life stories (childhood, teaching, and union activism) to contextualize how these Chicana bilingual teachers have developed a sense of conciencia con compromiso (Prieto &Villenas, 2012) for their students, fellow teachers, and the communities they serve. Findings show that Chicana activist maestras reveal the stark reality of the daily lives of teachers. In turn, maestras develop the sensibility of sobrevivencia which enables to educar con compromiso. I define educar con compromiso as an obligation, both moral and ethical, that Chicana activist maestras possess to advocate for fellow teachers, students, and communities. Moreover, the findings demonstrate that previous experiences and the current spaces they encounter provide Chicana activist maestras with the opportunity to manifest different identities simultaneously. In studying activist Chicana bilingual teachers who are politically active, this study contributes to the larger body of work exploring non-traditional ways in which bilingual teachers develop an activist maestra identity by exploring how identity construction transpires within a teachers’ association in a right-to-work state.


LCSH Subject Headings