Skip to main content

“I Didn’t Wanna Believe It was a Race Issue”: Student Teaching Experiences of Preservice Teachers of Color


Teacher education scholars are increasingly calling for critical theories to unearth how diverse histories are silenced in teacher education. Employing critical theories to study student teaching experiences is of particular importance because placements are considered a vital component of new teacher preparation. In this study, we utilize Critical Race Theory to examine the student teaching experiences of preservice teachers of color in a graduate-level teacher education program committed to diversifying the teacher force. Through interview testimonios, participants revealed racialized experiences and described how they responded to and resisted racism within their student teaching placements. Racial, nativist and religious microaggressions left them feeling invisible, hypervisible, disrespected, and stereotyped by the very teachers responsible for mentoring and guiding them into the teaching profession. We share testimonio narratives that illustrate the themes across participants and highlight how they worked to understand student teaching experiences that were in contradiction with their authentic selves. Collectively, their testimonios highlight the need for teacher education program procedures and guidance for student teachers witnessing and experiencing racism in their K-12 placements.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Claudia Rodriguez-Mojica.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Rodriguez-Mojica, C., Rodela, K.C. & Ott, C. “I Didn’t Wanna Believe It was a Race Issue”: Student Teaching Experiences of Preservice Teachers of Color. Urban Rev 52, 435–457 (2020).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: