Taking One's Place:
A Classroom Study of Education for Indegenous Teachers in Chiapas, Mexico
Honors Thesis for the B.A. in Social Science/Anthropology
with Honors in Anthropology and Education
Departments of Anthropology and Education, Stanford University
Thesis advisor: George A. Collier
Namino Glantz, 1991

I didn’t want to be in the field, in the sun, in the heat, working with a machete…. It is my own strength that has gotten me to where I am now…. I don’t want to be fired, and someday, I want to teach at a higher level, so I have to get a teaching certificate. Also, I want to expand my knowledge and help my indigenous community. There is no other work that helps us more…. There is nothing better than an education – than knowing something good for the future.

(Mayan schoolteacher interviewed August 3, 1990, surveyed August 6, 1990)

So remarked a Mayan schoolteacher enrolled in a continuing education course I studied during the summer of 1990. The program, El Curso de Bachillerato Pedagógico, took place in a small city in the rural highlands of Chiapas, Mexico’s southernmost state. The Department of Indigenous Education in the state of Chiapas runs the program for the Mexican Secretary of Public Education (SEP). According to the government, the purpose of this program was to provide further education in standard subject matter, such as math, social science, and chemistry, for indigenous teachers whose education level had fallen behind newly-elevated qualification standards. I argue that the teachers I studied in Chiapas did not learn the formal curriculum mandated by the government. Instead, they learned how to maneuver more skillfully within the highly stratified Mexican structure and, as a reward, earned the official certificate that allowed them to enter that realm.

Complete Honors Thesis
Available upon request. ContactNaminoGlantz