Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Barbara Tobolowsky


This qualitative study explored how teachers from low-income backgrounds perceived their roles as teachers of economically disadvantaged students. The specific setting was Pinewood Park Elementary School in North Texas (a pseudonym), which was a Title I, low-income, elementary school campus with 96.2% economically, disadvantaged students that earned an "Exemplary" rating for the 2010-2011 academic year and a rating of "Recognized" for 2011-2012. Seven third - fifth grade teachers of varied ethnic groups and varying years of teaching experience, who all identified as having low-income backgrounds during grade school participated in one-on-one interviews. They were selected, because the students in their grades were responsible for the school's successful ratings. Bandura's (1989) theory of self-efficacy and Bourdieu's (1973) theory of cultural capital were used to understand the perceptions of the teachers. The teachers perceived their roles as providing a quality education for their students while also acknowledging their students' economic backgrounds and making deliberate efforts to aid them in overcoming obstacles. They also found that the shared backgrounds with their students influenced their relationships and efforts. Ultimately, this study contributes to the limited research on the effect teachers' economic backgrounds have on elementary school student success.


Education | Educational Leadership


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington