Interview with Wanda Jones

Interview with Wanda Jones

Teacher at Petitcodiac Regional High School
Graduated May 2015, M.Ed.

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What is your best memory from your time as a Master of Education student?

My best memory was Convocation!  Seriously.  How thrilling is was to walk alongside colleagues who, just like you, worked so hard and made personal sacrifices for the sake of enriching their profession!  We celebrated one another’s success.  Members of the Crandall Senate tell me that I was the first to graduate with having had all post-secondary education from Crandall including the Master’s level.  I’ve been blessed to be a “three-peat” Crandall graduate!  Chancellor Don Simmonds mentored me in my teen years in Ontario, and having him present the master’s diploma to me was a joy filled “full-circle” moment of my life.  My words of gratitude are simply not enough.

While taking courses, I remember sitting in class learning and discussing theory with professors and colleagues that had a direct impact on my career and specifically to my research.  It was rewarding to be treated as a professional and for professors to encourage and validate your research study.  It was one thing for me to feel like it had value, but another for someone who has had extensive research experience to agree.  I’m particularly grateful to Dr. Wendy Bokhorst-Heng for her unwavering scholarly support.

How has the Master of Education affected your work as a teacher?

I see that earning the Master of Education degree is not an end to education, but rather part of my journey.  I have become more compassionate toward my colleagues and students, but I have also learned to be a stronger advocate for myself.  Taking the time to read scholarly work that aligned with my research study was empowering.

I am sure that you learned many things as you did graduate work, but what one thing that you learned has stuck with you the most?

God’s faithfulness.  I prayed that every step of the graduate work process would be meaningful, not just to me, but for everyone involved in my study.  God answered those prayers and more.  I conducted a phenomenological study of ten teachers of all levels and years of service, and asked the research question: “What are the lived experiences of teachers’ longevity in public education, i.e.  What keeps teachers teaching?”  The process involved one-on-one interviews where teachers were very honest in their deep concern for their professional longevity in the classroom.  I anticipated learning a great deal from the participants, I did not anticipate how so many shared so personally.  It is an understatement to say that I was blessed through the experience of the study.  I considered it a great honour to share the voices of such resilient educators.

How did you juggle work, family life, and studies?

“Juggle” is an interesting verb to describe graduate studies!  It took much more than my own strength to complete the graduate work.  It was beneficial and encouraging to attend classes with colleagues who truly understood the extent of the work required.  My husband, Trevor, was my biggest fan.  He respected the space and time I had to create to complete the work.  I took over a room in my house where I could close the door to avoid distraction.  I jokingly called it my “crime scene investigation room”, complete with diagrams, post-it notes, headings displayed on the walls.  My husband had to be on board with this decision to complete the studies as we have two young children who need us.  I had to be very deliberate to set aside a couple of nights a week, every Saturday morning for class, and every Saturday afternoon for study.  It truly took a team effort to complete the degree for us.  I know that my church family and friends were praying for our whole class as the first to complete the Master of Education degree at Crandall University.  For that, I’m completely thankful.