The Gift of Inner-City: A Journey Towards Understanding
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One year ago, I entered an inner-city school as a new administrator for the first time. I was immersed into a community different from any other I have experienced. Through that transition, I came to recognize that my lack of experience (both personally and professionally) with at-risk youth, childhood trauma and generational poverty inhibited my ability to fully understand the cultural, social and community dynamics of inner-city, lower SES students and their families. Upon careful, reflective consideration, I chose to immerse myself into this new experience and reflect on my own practices, beliefs and realizations through autoethnographical research. In doing so, I have been able to deconstruct my own personal assumptions around communities differing from my own, which had unknowingly created a barrier between myself as a school leader and the families I cared for. This thesis documents my recent immersive and experiential learning journey. The work within this paper delves into my professional growth, my personal shift and acknowledgement of core beliefs and values, and the relationships that changed my thinking forever. This study intends to document my own professional growth throughout my first year in an inner-city school while making suggestions for how the experience has transformed my praxis (practical action) and my phronesis (practical wisdom).