Ms. Leja

Which describes your path to becoming a teacher most closely?

Master’s Degree in Education

What did you major in in college and what college degrees do you have?

English/writing=BA and Secondary English/ESL=MAT (Masters in the Art of Teaching)

Did you have other full-time jobs before you became a teacher? If so, what were they?

I was a computer technologist for a school system in Michigan, wrote databases for parolee's in SW Michigan offices and a mother of 2 children.

When in your life did you decide you wanted to become a teacher?

I never decided, it has always been part of me. I helped students in my class since elementary school, I have taught piano since I was in 7th grade and I have taught my now adult children.

Did you complete student teaching before becoming a teacher? If so, describe that experience.

Yes I did. It was no different then teaching. My mentor teacher allowed me to teach without supervision- but remember-I was a non-traditional student. This means I was older and I had prior knowledge and life experiences before I went back to college. I began my BA when I was 54 and received my MAT when I was 59. College studies and student teaching was "common sense" to me.

What are the pros and cons of being certified in the method you used?

I was lucky to receive both degrees in 5 years, because I was goal driven. In all but North Carolina, I am able to receive more money with a masters degree and I have the ability to teach at a college level and continue on with a PhD or Fellowship.

Would you recommend your path to becoming a teacher to others? Why or why not?

I am very happy with my decision, therefore I would recommend my path to everyone; but my path may not be a good fit for others. (There are teachers out there that shouldn't be teachers) Obviously, being a teacher doesn't make a person financially rich, but for me, it makes my life rich. Being able to help others understand and learn what I know is very rewarding to me.

How many years of experience to you have in the classroom? Do you plan to remain a teacher or do you have other career aspirations?

If you count being a licensed teacher, I have 2 years in a classroom, but if you count the times I have worked as a substitute and as a technologist? (I taught teachers in a classroom setting software introduced to the district, I have held teacher in-services, etc...) I have a total of 14 years. I have always been a teacher, I taught my daughter and son; they both have an MA and both are teachers of some sort. My continued goal is to go into a fellowship program (instead of a PhD as planned) with Duke University with some form of ESL research. I am also planning to teach in a college level at some time.