Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Secondary Education

Major Professor

Howard Johnston


Equality of educational opportunity has been a long elusive goal of public education in the United States. This narrative, phenomenological study conducted inquiry into how five teachers in Tampa, Florida construct meaning about social class and academic achievement based on their life experiences as members of a class-based society. Data produced descriptive, narrative stories that contextualize how meaning is constructed about social class based on participants' life experiences. This line of inquiry provides relevant insight into teachers' understandings of social class which may influence the provision of equal educational opportunities to all students. The following study includes a comprehensive analysis of the current qualitative and quantitative research supporting this line of inquiry and presents findings of how teacher's experiences with social class inform their understanding of academic achievement. Findings indicate emotional support is an important factor that influences academic confidence and success. Teachers' habitus is expressed through the practice of caring for students and providing students with support through the process of public schooling.