Katrina LeMense

MEd TESOL, Literacy and Culture

What do you hope to do with your degree and/or credential, and why?

I hope to teach/work at a College or University in the USA or go abroad and teach/work at a University. I hope to instill hope, drive and passion in my students and coworkers while inspiring people to be change makers. I hope to always be empathetic
towards others and use my degree to continue my passion in this field.

Are you currently working? If so, do you work full-time, part time, and what do you do?

I am currently working as a nanny, a tutor and as an IA at one of the community colleges here in San Diego. Although I am only working part-time, it feels like full-time because of all the different responsibilities I have while being in graduate school. I attend evening grad school classes, attend two classes for the community college, work three days a week as a nanny, and prepare for a few hours for the tutoring session all awhile doing hours of homework, trying to maintain a social life, be healthy and have fun. I won’t lie to the prospective students that working while in graduate school is easy, it’s not. It is time consuming, stressful, messy and confusing at times, but it is do-able and the inconsistent and ever-changing schedules will eventually end. Graduate school is a challenge because we aren’t in undergrad anymore, our responsibilities have changed as we’ve gotten older and therefore, things are harder to balance. However, the staff at USD, the colleagues in our program and the staff at the community colleges are so understanding, supportive and giving. Graduate school is a challenging time in life, but it’s also a limited time. I want to tell the incoming students that you will get through it, it may not be glamorous, but it sure pays off. The hard work will pay off as long as you keep going, keep working hard and continually reach out for help and support. There is so much support around us all the time, but it’s up to us to take advantage of it.

Have you completed an international experience? What did you do?

I did complete a few international experiences. I completed the CASA border immersion trip, The Linda Vista immersion trip as well as an individual option. I lived abroad for 2.5 years before attending this graduate program and had many personal experiences teaching and working with international students. Each one of my “international experiences” whether through USD or through my own personal travels have assisted me throughout this graduate program. Being in a place that is foreign, unfamiliar, not your home country and not in your comfort zone helps you to see life with a different lens. Not only does being out of one’s comfort zone give you a better understanding of what our students may be feeling at times, but it also shows us a different view of our own lives. It helps us to reflect on what is important, what needs to be more important and what needs to be less important. Sometimes we think the smallest things in life are such big deals and we give all of our attention and energy towards these things. Being abroad, seeing life from a different perspective and working with people who have experienced such unique things and struggles is important. It reminds us how human we all are, how we all have struggles and at the end of the day all have the exact same basic human needs. In other words, these international experiences connect people who come off as drastically different. At the end of the day, we are all so similar. This is an important lesson or revelation to have as a teacher of adult language learners. 

How has your SOLES education impacted your career and/or career goals?

My SOLES education has impacted my career goals by helping me to gain a different perspective on my approach to teaching. I used to think being a teacher meant being a perfect educator. That I was responsible for teaching everything to my students, giving them the answers, and almost forcing perfection and hard work onto them. Now, I realize that teaching really means guiding/facilitating ones’ students and giving them the tools to become autonomous in their own learning. This program has given me such a better understanding about who and what teachers are and what our jobs should be. We are friends, inspirations, cheerleaders, guides, mentors and role models for our students. We strive to be empathetic at all times, to not bring judgment to a classroom, but instead, bring understanding and change. We give our students the tools they need to be the best learners they can be. That is a gift that keeps on giving and I will continue to strive and be this type of educator.