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Jenna Baker: Embracing Her Call to Teach

May 23, 2024 — 

Meet the class of 2024, Jenna Baker will be graduating during Spring Convocation from the Master of Education program. Learn more about her education journey and experience as a Faculty of Education student.

When did you know you wanted to study Education?

I am part of the fortunate few who has known since a young age (four years old to be exact) that I wanted to be a teacher. For years, I forced my younger siblings, family pets, and all my dolls and stuffies to play school day-after-day. If I could not teach, I don’t know what else I would do.

What is the most exciting part about being in your field of study?

The part that I find the most exciting about the Education field is that everyone loves to learn! It is an excepting, caring, and diverse community who are trying to do the best for children. I think it’s a field that is trying to reinvent itself, and the discussions and debates are often invigorating!

Did you have any faculty mentors? How have they been valuable to you?

I have been so fortunate to have so many amazing professors in my Graduate Studies program at the University of Manitoba. Dr. Dawn Sutherland is my official Faculty Advisor and she has been very supportive in pushing me to try lots of the opportunities that U of M campus provides for Graduate Students. Dr. Jennifer Watt had also invited me to speak to pre-service teachers during a learning lunch in the fall with a focus on establishing belonging in the classroom. I have also had the privilege of working with other great teachers who really had me question my positionality and approach to education. If you are ever able to take course with, or work with, Dr. Wayne Serebrin, Dr. Shannon Moore, or Dr. Bruno De Oliveira, DO IT!

Any insights about the faculty that would be benefit future students?

Something I learned at the U of M Education department, is that is a small university feel, with the large campus benefits. Your instructors and professors take the time to know you, and are invested in your success, thanks to the smaller class sizes, but you have access to lots of campus amenities outside the department as well. It was kind of the best of both worlds!

Do you have any favourite memories from the Faculty of Education?

Seeing as my studies were part-time, mainly in the evenings, weekends and summers (as two courses that were still virtual), I don’t have as many memories as others might. One memory that stands out is on our first day of an intensive writing course this past summer with Dr. Michelle Honeyford and Dr. Jennifer Watt. The course incorporated movement and here we were right in front of the Ed building, on the raised grassy platform, being asked to dance to EDM/House tracks and being prompted to move our bodies in jerking, waving, contortions. We got a lot of attention from passers-by. Some people joined us, other adverted their eyes. Either way it was so embarrassing, but also fun to let loose!

What’s next for you after graduation?

I am still teaching full time in LRSD. After graduation, I am hoping keep my foot in the University sphere by teaching pre-service and post-bach courses in the evenings. I love the academic discourse and discussions. I also feel that it is important to have practicing teachers in the room, helping our pre-service teachers prepare for the ever-evolving, increasingly diverse atmosphere of public education.

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