Investigating the lived social class experiences of teachers in an elite independent school
Breslin, David Dunbar
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During the last ten years, independent schools in the United States have seen a sharp drop in enrollment from families in the working and middle classes. Thus, independent schools are increasingly becoming the domain of the country’s wealthy. In the process, families of working and middle class students that attend independent schools can find themselves operating in a school culture that is foreign and intimidating to them. This post-intentional phenomenological study was designed to investigate the lived social class experiences of four teachers who serve at an elite independent school. Through interviews that spanned over the course of three months, and through a thorough examination of social class literature in relation to education, insights about the experiences of members of an independent school community in relation to social class were collected and analyzed. Participants spoke freely about their attitudes, frustrations, and triumphs in relation to social class issues and their beloved independent school. The study provides insight into the lived social class experiences of not only the four participants, but also into the social class experiences of their students, their colleagues, their administrators, and their families.