Jenessa Parker

"My biggest inspiration is my students...They're the reason I'm here and they're the reason that I will continue on."


My name is Jenessa Parker and I am from Victoria, British Columbia. I am going into the final year of my degree and plan to continue on to the Professional Development Program to further pursue my goal of being an elementary teacher. I hope to be able to take my teaching internationally and explore what teaching in other countries is like. Travelling has always been a passion of mine and I enjoy being able to learn about other cultures and their ways of living, teaching and learning. As a teacher there are a lot of opportunities out there, so I hope to take advantage of some of them before settling back home in Victoria.


I am minoring in Curriculum and Instruction, Early Learning and Learning & Developmental Disabilities. My program is located on the Burnaby and Surrey campus.


After much research, I discovered that SFU has the BGS program which would allow me to incorporate the few years of business school credits that I had into my degree in the Faculty of Education. This allows me to complete my degree a lot quicker as other programs would force me to begin from year one. 


Just one? There are so many great faculty members in the Faculty of Education and they all want to see you succeed in your work. One member that stood out to me was Eleonora Joensuu. She opened my mind to a different way of thinking about my teaching and learning which I think is really amazing. She is always encouraging, and genuinely interested in how we were doing in the class. Regularly she would check in to make sure that were all on the right track. She also made it evident that she was excited to be there every class which makes going to class a lot more exciting!


I think my biggest inspiration is my students. I worked as an Educational Assistant and have volunteered in many schools and the students are really why you are there. Being able to see the difference you are making while working with them is a great reward. They’re the reason I am here and they’re the reason that I will continue on. 


I say go for it! The Faculty of Education has been great and you are really challenged to explore who you are as a person and educator throughout many of the courses offered. I have been in post-secondary for going on 7 years now and it wasn’t until starting at SFU that I felt like I truly belonged in my faculty. It really is a fun community you become a part of and you meet some really awesome people!


One of my best learning experiences at SFU was Education 427 - Teaching Students with Special Needs in Inclusive Settings. I took this course with Julie Sture and it was a great learning experience. I was one of very few bachelor students in the class surrounded by teachers who were upgrading to get their Special Education Certification. Needless to say, there was a lot of experience in that room and I came out learning a lot of different strategies for working with students with exceptionalities. Julie made the 4-hour class exciting and it never felt like it was too long. She really had a great understanding of the materials she was teaching and was helpful when you needed assistance. This was one of my first courses at SFU and starting 400 level course was a bit worrying for me. I had never created a plan for a student before or taught a full lesson on my own and Julie made it seem like second nature to me. I learned a lot in this class about inclusion and many of the types of exceptionalities that I will come accords as a teacher. This class made me hopeful and excited to see what the rest of my time at SFU would teach me.