Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Major Professor

Bárbara C. Cruz, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Stephen J. Thornton, Ph.D.

Committee Member

James King, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Barbara J. Shircliffe, Ph.D.


curricular-instructional decision-making, LGBT, preactive teaching, teaching identity


Teachers bring parts of themselves, among them, gender, age, and race into the classroom. In addition to the routine stress of teaching, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people have the added stress of managing the expression of their sexual orientation in the classroom. This study explores the ways in which my own identity as a lesbian influenced my beliefs about teaching, my “pre-active” curricular-instructional decision-making, and my “interactive” curricular-instructional decision-making (Jackson, 1966). A self-study methodology is used to explore these relationships. Data sources include journaling, lesson plan artifacts, student work samples, photographs of my classroom, an observation and critical conversation from a critical friend. An autobiographical sketch and statement of beliefs about teaching and learning also informs the study. Janna Jackson’s (2007) stages of coming out, along with Elliot Eisner’s (1985) explicit, implicit, and null curriculum provide the analytical frame.

The results show that as I went through Janna Jackson’s (2007) phases of coming out, my beliefs about teaching and learning through the tools, resources, and classroom environment change to reflect that stage. For instance, once I was out in my classroom, there was more LGBT décor in my class. The findings also indicate my lesbian identity affects the explicit and null more than the implicit curricular-instructional decision-making during the “pre-active” stage of teaching. My lesbian identity affected the implicit and null curriculum more than the explicit curricular-instructional decision-making during the “interactive” stage of teaching. Overall, these findings suggest my lesbian identity and teacher identity are deeply entangled.