Theses and Dissertations - UTB/UTPA

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


Creative Writing

First Advisor

Dr. Jean Braithwaite

Second Advisor

Jose Skinner

Third Advisor

Philip Zwerling


This manuscript explores the teaching process by following the protagonist‟s four year journey at a middle school in Edinburg, Texas. The narrator passes through four distinct phases: first-year angst, pedagogic subversion, converting the natives, and, ultimately, personal and professional acceptance. Daily interaction disrupts the narrator‟s worldview, complicating his relationships with peers, colleagues, family, and the local community. In a series of moves designed to make himself more accessible to students, the narrator encounters sexual, racial, and gender bias—much of it his own. Finally, after a serious accident in Central Mexico during Spring Break, the protagonist relies on his students to oversee his physical and emotional health. He ultimately drops labels, such as “inconsistent liberal” or “neocolonist,” in favor of a personal pedagogy dominated by vulnerability, Eros, realistic goals, and flexibility.


Copyright 2010 Christopher Girman. All Rights Reserved.

Granting Institution

University of Texas-Pan American