I’m now Dr. Barb! Wow…. this feels good. I still have to go through the UMI process of getting the dissertation turned into a digital academic document, but I’m Dr. B!… Long years of work (10 years time wise, but only 6 of those were really hard work). Two years I took off for personal reasons, and two were spent spinning wheels without an advisor, but the university and I both finally got our acts together to get it done.
Advice for others? Keep plowing away, keep reading other dissertations, keep believing in yourself, and keep up in your field! Even when I was spinning wheels and getting my feet back on the ground after having the wind knocked out of me, I kept watching my Google alerts on topics I was interested in. This kept me current so that when things did align (getting the right advisor,topic, and time) it all fell into place, and moved along at a constant pace.
What’s next? Still thinking about this one. My research methodology was one that is just starting to be accepted in my field, and my work validates its potential in that field, so hopefully I’ll be able to do more research. Doing a phenomenology in virtual schools (my original topic that an advisor had a bias against so never was successful – and I probably wasn’t ready then either), online learning, the new Common Core, teacher evaluations, and many more topics is feasible, doable, and would probably make changes happen more easily. This methodology digs deep into the essence of the phenomenon, thus finding the underlying challenges keeping change from happening. Hopefully digging deep into the experiences of those going through change will make it easier to find solutions to the challenges that come with change. But this opens up many avenues for future research. Hopefully I’ll find a way to do that research.