Candiece Spencer

Education MA

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  • Year of graduation: 2022
  • Current job title: Lecturer in Education
  • Current employer: University of Northampton
  • Industry sector: Higher education

Your University Journey

Why did you choose your course at UON?

I had completed credits towards my Master’s when undertaking my PGCE. However, once I’d qualified, I decided to take a break and focus on my classroom practice, but I soon began to miss the academic element of studying. As I gained more confidence and experience in teaching, I felt I had the capacity to start learning again, so returned to complete the course. All my previous studies have been at the University of Northampton. I did try a different university, but the unfamiliarity was too much to handle, so I was in no doubt that I wanted to return here to complete my Master’s degree. It just felt right, it felt comfortable, and I knew I needed to be at ease in order to get the best out of myself.

What aspects of the course did you enjoy the most and why?

The most enjoyable part was the dissertation. I was able to focus my research project on an element of classroom practice that was real and relevant to me and my classroom. It enabled me to broaden my knowledge, understanding and skills through the perspectives of others. The research has ignited a new drive to enhance children’s experiences within education and now I’ve started I don’t want that to stop.

Your Career Journey

How do you think your studies have helped your career or personal development?

My Master’s has supported my career because it’s added a new dimension to me as a professional. It’s helped me to develop my thinking processes around what I do in the classroom and why. It’s also empowered me to drive change, as research has strengthened my decision-making. When I’ve been faced with challenging situations, my MA has enabled me to stop and view it from a different perspective and I now have a range of approaches to overcome such challenges. It’s rewarding to accomplish such a great achievement!

Describe your career progression so far, and any plans you have for the future. Are there any particular hurdles you may face?

I started my career as a Key Stage 1 teacher, teaching a mixed aged class of Year One and Year Two children. I then moved into Reception, where I later become the Early Years Foundation Stage Leader. Then I went on to phase leadership, leading both EYs and Key Stage 1, and following that, I become a member of the senior leadership team. Finally, I became a Deputy Head Teacher of a maintained nursery school, before transitioning into the world of higher education, where I’m currently a Lecturer in Education.

When I look to my future, I hope to continue being part of research that supports the development of other professionals with children at the heart. I’m also excited to be supporting students on their own MA Education journey. Being able to deliver the MA Education course, both on-campus and online, not only means the MA Education programme is more accessible and flexible around an already busy life, but it also allows us to work with students across the globe. It’s such an exciting prospect to be working collaboratively (and internationally) with practitioners – sharing practice and developing on a personal and professional level. I feel privileged to use my MA Education experience to enhance the experience of others.

Which, if any, skills and knowledge/understanding gained on your degree are most useful in your current role?

The MA has strengthened my ability to be reflective. I’ve enhanced my skills to think critically about my practice and to take my thinking that little step further. Not only the why, but also the why not and the what if?

Your Advice

In one sentence, what advice would you give to undergraduates interested in this career path or anything you wish you had known earlier?

Be open to exploring and challenging yourself, your views and your values.

In ten words, or less how would you summarise your UON experience?

Empowering, fulfilling, informative, rewarding, enjoyable, challenging, flexible, supportive, nostalgic, proud.