My name is Mary-Ann Mac Leod. I am about to embark on a Ph.D. journey.
I started this website so I would have a place to write down about this journey, hoping that I give others an idea of how the road to PH.D. can be.
About 25 years ago when I finished my masters’ study, my professors asked me to continue for my Ph.D. Up until then, I have been studying for a long time and I wanted to find out what I could do with all that I have learned. So I didn’t grasp the opportunity then. My mother told me that she would have liked me to go further.
I came back to Curaçao and since then I have worked in different places and have had a diversity of job functions. I studied Management of Information Systems; a combination of Math, Economics and Information Technology. My father, aunt and all our family friends were teachers. All they talked about were schools, grades, teaching, class management and so on. I absolutely didn’t want anything to do with schools and teaching. I had had my share.
Back in Curacao, I could not find a job related to my studies. My former Math teacher who was a dean at our local University offered me the possibility to teach at the University. Well, I was very grateful that I finally could work, but it was not what I had in mind. I wanted to work for a big bank or something more excited. He understood this and said that I could work there till I got something else. I taught for a little more than 2 years, but it was enough. But working for a government service, which introduced computers in all departments, I was appointed to teach because now I had experience in teaching. I taught over 250 government employees on how to use computers. None of the books back then were good enough for me, so I made my own book to give classes from. Soon I discovered that I could change people from hating computers to wanted to buy one as soon as possible.
During my time at a project called ‘Ban Bario Bek’, I did not much teaching, but I had to write procedures and implement them. You could call it a sort of teaching. But the real teaching started when my daughter was born. I thought that combining teaching and motherhood would be good, but it wasn’t for me. Both were new to me and both took a lot of time. Most of the time I was super tired.
First I taught Math at Mgr. Zwijssen College for one year. Then I taught at Maria Immaculata Lyceum. At first, it was only Math, but soon I was teaching Informatica, Economics and Management & Organisation. Meanwhile, I started teaching at a private school too. At Abel Tasman College I was teaching Economics. There were days that I was teaching from 8:30 in the morning till 6 o’clock in the evening. This was really too much for somebody who didn’t want anything to do with schools and teaching. In 2006 an opportunity came to become a principal at the private school Abel Tasman College; I grasped the opportunity with two hands. Hopefully no more teaching. The truth was something else. Because of the scarcity of teachers for subjects like Math and Economics I was always teaching a little bit. Sometimes a lot more than I wanted.
After 9 years at Abel Tasman College, I was ready for something else. I still wanted to do something that had no relation to school. But at the same time, I realized that I had a lot of knowledge about teaching and schools. What else could I do? In the newspapers appeared a vacancy for a Quality Assurance Officer at our local University. Something different than what I was used to, but it had to do with teaching (although on a higher level). The dean of the faculty of arts saw my solicitation letter and offered me the possibility to teach Math for students that want to become teachers for the primary schools. At a given time I could choose what to do. I choose to teach.
Teaching for over 3 years now at the University of Curacao, I see a lot of things happening in primary schools. I am wondering, I have questions, I want to know why or how come. I also think that the kindergarten forms the fundament for early math. However, I wonder if everybody involved sees that too. So after finishing a course about finetuning teaching, I think I am ready for research. On the island of Curacao, there is almost no research done on math. So the challenge was set.
After talking to Professor Dr. Ludo Verhoeven I had a pretty good idea of what I could do. So we decided it could be a Ph.D. research. Well, that would be great, but it is about the research and not about the Ph.D.
So I will be writing about my work to get the research done. You will find these posts in the menu under Weeklies. Everything else I write about will be put under Posts in the menu. Every now and then I come across an interesting puzzle I will post them too. I also have a page where I thank everybody who helped me along the way.
Enjoy my website and come back often.
Mary-Ann Mac Leod
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