English, Department of


Date of this Version

Fall 12-5-2013


Gealy, Scott V. "Teaching Self: The Ambiguity of Lived Experience in Classroom Discourse." MA Thesis, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Dec, 2013.


A Thesis Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Arts, Major: English, Under the Supervision of Professor Robert Brooke. Lincoln, Nebraska: December, 2013

Copyright (c) 2013 Scott V. Gealy


Inspired by Paul Heilker’s notion of the essay as a form of exploration over argument, embodying an anti-scholastic and chrono-logical approach, and Candace Spigelman’s endorsement of experience as evidence in academic discourse, this thesis weaves memoir into more traditional scholarship in an effort to complicate the archetype of the effective teacher. Furthermore, the essay seeks to deconstruct conventional student, teacher, and cultural binaries with the help of the theoretical work of Deborah Britzman, Parker Palmer, Mikhail Bakhtin, Joy Ritchie and David Wilson and others, while using Scott Russell Sanders’ narrative essay “Under the Influence” as a mentor text for reconciling the complexities of addiction and recovery with my professional identity as a high school teacher. Through this chrono-logical exploration, I illuminate the classroom as a microcosm of the complexity of lived experience in order to remind the reader that standardized and reductionist notions of pedagogy threaten the most important variable in education: the human being.

Advisor: Robert Brooke