In this autoethnographic exploration of my time as a classroom teacher, I, a white former teacher at a public middle school that served mostly students of color, remember one student, and distill what our relationship taught me about student resistance to oppressive schooling conditions and systems. Reading my student’s actions through the lens of resistance theory, I come to understand, in retrospect, some of what my student was telling me about the conflicting desire, pain, trouble spots, and confusion1 of racial capitalist schooling as a young Black man. I reinterpret my student’s noncompliance as a strategy for maintaining his sense of self and of culture in an environment that threatened both. I use autoethnography as a method to learn what my student was teaching me, and consider how classroom teachers might learn from and be changed by the resistive actions of their marginalized students.

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