Alumnus of the Month - Edward Jarvis
Edward Jarvis is originally from Harbour Breton on the south coast. I graduated from Memorial in 1990 with a BA. B.Ed. (Religious Studies / English / History). He started teaching at Labrador City Collegiate (1990 – 1992), followed by St. Francis (Hr. Grace (1992-1999) and Carbonear Collegiate (1999 – present). His wife Carmen Jarvis is also a Memorial graduate (B.A.-B.Ed. – French / English) and teaches at St. Francis.
How and why did you decide to attend Memorial for your degree?
I attended Memorial in 1985. Being from a small town, that was the route that most people choose to take
What drew you to do a degree in religious studies?
I always had an interest in the impact that religion has had on history and society in general…that’s what drew me to my majors.
Do any particular memories stand out from your time here as an undergraduate/graduate student?
Indeed…. the eternal, temporary humanities building! It was a make-shift building that was supposed to be temporary, but lasted forever it seemed. The building was just outside of the library exit by the old MUN bookstore. Most of my classes were in this building.
What sort of extracurricular activities were you involved in?
I stayed on campus and was involved in the intramural sports program and organized it for a few years. I was also a part of the religious studies society.
If you could do any course over again, what would it be?
Anything taught by Dr. David Bell…. a fantastic lecturer.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Probably, “If everyone loves you, you are doing something wrong “
How did you first get interested in teaching as a career choice?
Teaching was always a career choice for me. I really enjoy getting young people to think critically about past and current issues and their effects on the world.
When people ask you what you teach you respond “humanities and social sciences” – in your opinion why is it so important for people to study these disciplines?
I had a student recently thank me for “opening her mind to look at the world in a different light.” This discipline helps students with one of the things that I feel is lacking and that is being able to critically think about their world. With technology and social media at the forefront, I find the ability to critically think and being able to articulate those thoughts is becoming a lost art. The humanities and social sciences certainly does help with that.
What’s the biggest misconception the general public has about teachers?
There are a few… However, the biggest misconception is that it is a 9 to 3 job.
What do you say to those who question the value of an arts degree?
Any humanities and social sciences degree has great value in life. I’ve organized trips to visit historical sites in Europe. During these trips, we have had the opportunity to visits sites of the Canadian battlefields and of the Holocaust. These places and the things that took place there has had a great impact on our current world. These trips are not just trips to visit, but trips that have an impact. My students have meet Holocaust survivors, had a session with a person who grew up in East Berlin and a person who grew up in West Berlin and heard their perspective on the Cold War. My students also participated in a workshop on “Responsibility of the Holocaust” in Krakow Poland. These events have made a lifelong impact on the students.
What would people be most surprised to learn about you?
That I’m a huge Toronto Blue Jays fan…LOL. No really, I think anyone who knows me knows that. Probably that I was a judge in the Miss Newfoundland & Labrador Pageant for a few years.
What advice would you give a student who is unsure of what to study?
My advice is usually two-fold. I usually say “If you are 18 and unsure…don’t fret too much…. if you are 28 that’s a different issue.” The other thing I always suggest is that whatever you are pursuing, enjoy the ride and even step outside your area of study to do a course or two in something you have an interest in.
What’s your favorite place to visit?
I really enjoy all of Europe and its historical sites. Within Europe my two favorite cities are Prague in the Czech Republic and Ieper in Belgium.
What are you most looking forward to within the next year?
I am entering my 27th year of teaching and am looking forward to hopefully opening some more minds. There is a sign on my classroom door that says “I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think.“ That is usually the philosophy I follow.