Elon School of Education alumna circles back to where it all began

School of Education alumna Amanda Gardner Jones ’98 reflects on her experience as a teacher candidate while sitting on the other side of the interview table at the Elon Teacher Fair held on March 15, 2018.

Marna Winter, department chair of education and wellness and lecturer in education, sat down with fellow alumnae Amanda Gardner Jones ’98 while on campus interviewing teacher candidates during the Elon Teacher Fair.

Prof. Marna Winter interviewing fellow classmate and alumnae Amanda Gardner Jones '98.
Jones graduated with a degree in elementary education and was awarded for her excellence in student teaching during her senior year in 1998. Jones currently teaches 3rd – 5th grade English Language Arts in the Mandarin immersion program at Marvin Elementary School, located in Union County.

Twenty years ago, Jones was in the exact position that our class of 2018 education majors face: in the middle of student teaching and thinking about life after graduation. Today, she sat on the other side of the table. Jones found that the same principles that were embedded with her 20 years ago are still true today. The teacher candidates she interviewed at the Elon Teacher Fair seem “very-well prepared, eager to learn, well-versed, and are equipped with the newest trends in the education world.”

“What stands out to me the most about my experience in the School of Education was the relationships I formed with faculty,” said Jones. Winter shared that this still holds true today.

“Elon’s teacher education program prepared me very well as an educator because of the many different field experiences I was a part of,” Jones said. “The socioeconomics of different schools opened my eyes to what a real school system is like.”

Winter asked Jones to think about the market of education right now and to weigh in on how Elon can fill that void. Jones stated that one has to be “truly passionate about education and if they aren’t then they will more than likely jump ship. It was so refreshing to see that passion embedded in teacher candidates we interviewed today.”

To conclude her interview, Jones stated, “it has been so amazing being back at Elon.  I enjoyed walking around today seeing familiar places and how the campus has changed since 1998. The growth is unbelievable. I would come back and choose Elon again, and I hope at least one of my children chooses Elon.”

Jones, a teacher with Union County Public Schools, was one of 30 schools/school systems in attendance at the pre-scheduled interview fair, with an open networking session for students in McKinnon Hall. Elon’s Teacher Fair was organized by Rhonda Kosusko in the Student Professional Development Center.