Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name



Liberal Studies


Jason Tougaw

Subject Categories

Junior High, Intermediate, Middle School Education and Teaching | Nonfiction | Secondary Education | Secondary Education and Teaching


memoir, urban education, pedagogy, teacher, bronx, new york city


Reflections on the Eating of Bologna Sandwiches is a memoir project intended to give light to my experiences teaching in a small public school located in the South Bronx. These experiences are directed to a general “second” person who takes the form of “you” and is intended to act as a general stand-in for the student population of this school, similar to the “you” used by James Baldwin in his seminal work “My Dungeon Shook”. This “you” is meant to breakdown the wall between the reader and the student population, allowing one to occupy another and in the process develop a heightened sense of empathy and a renewed interest in social justice or, at minimum, a perspectival shift as regards public education. My hope is that with this memoir I can dislocate the importance of the teacher from the knee-cap that is the teacher-memoir and reposition it with a focus on a generalized student; the new “hero” of the genre. In doing so, I explore themes of economic and racial justice, pedagogical theory, and socioemotional behavior within schools and throughout teacher-teacher, teacher-student, and student-student interaction. Like bologna, these interactions are not first-choice, particularly nutritious, or always 100 percent true and yet, like a bologna sandwich, they do offer a strange and unique flavor, rooted in nostalgia, capable of making those who eat it better suited to choose something different in the future.