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Not yet…

Want a doctorate.


Not really sure. I have always held this as a goal.


I want to be able to be an effective educational leader.

Ok. So what are you interested in studying?

Umm . . . well . . . how leaders affect what happens in schools.

What do you like to read?

Yes, umm, yes, my Miller’s Analogies Scores weren’t very good (Why did I say that?).

Tell us about that.

I guess it’s because, my vocabulary is, well, I guess it’s because I haven’t read a lot of really difficult texts—I mean it’s not what I do in my leisure time, I mean I read for particular purposes . . . I didn’t grow up reading difficult texts. I grew up in a really small town, and I guess I wasn’t surrounded by . . . I guess I need to work on that.

So, what do you like to read in your leisure time?

Well, again, I read for particular purposes, to accomplish goals and tasks and once in a while read a John Grisham novel.

That pause.

That look.

(They don’t want me . . . I am not ready . . . I can’t do this . . .)

Not Yet . . .

Driving away, knowing I failed

Pit in my stomach, grows to a tightening in my throat

If only I had been more . . . careful

More certain, more polished

More scholarly, more refined

Not Yet . . .

Feeling ashamed, knowing I failed

Wondering why I lacked confidence

Why I mentioned my test scores

My vocabulary

Feel small, very small

Like my small town

Not Yet . . .

Growing angry and deeply sad, knowing I failed

Pretending I didn’t really want it

That it wasn’t necessary

Defending where I was from

Despising who I wanted to become

Not Yet . . .

Four years later I was admitted into a doctoral program and have now ascended through the ranks to full professor—and have since read more “challenging texts” than I can count. I now sit in judgment of others like me—wanting to be accepted into a doctoral program, wanting to pass preliminary exams, wanting to successfully defend dissertations. I wonder what pauses and looks I enact, embody, and give.

Mark D. Vagle, 2018 p. 27

Crafting Phenomenological Research

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