Teacher Q & A: Getting to know Mrs. Stephenson


Jaylen Poore, Chelsea Buzz Reporter

Mrs. Leslie Stephenson is in her first year here as a 9th grade English teacher for Chelsea High School after teaching for a while at other schools previously. The Buzz caught up for a quick Q & A with Mrs. Stephenson, and here’s what she had to say.


Q- What got you interested in teaching? 

A- ¨I had a great teacher in high school who made me feel like I had something to add in the conversation. Having a teacher who thought my work was good, my ideas were interesting, and who learned about who I was rather than just grading my test made me feel like I could be successful. I wanted to help other people feel that way about school as well.¨


Q- Is English the subject you’ve always taught? If not, what are the other subjects?

A- ¨I have mostly taught English, but I have also taught Drama, Speech & Debate, and Academic Skills.¨


Q- Was teaching something you knew you were going to do when you were younger? Or did you have another career path? If so, what was it?

A- ¨I think I always knew I wanted to be a “helper” so teaching was always a possibility for me. Originally, I went to college to become a teacher for the hearing impaired community. After about a year, I decided to switch to English, which was always my favorite subject in school.¨


Q- How long have you been teaching exactly?

A- ¨This is my 25th year teaching.¨


Q- What do you enjoy most about English? 

A- ¨I love that literature can be a window into a life that might be completely different than yours, which is a great way to learn about other people and develop some empathy. I also love that it might be a window into a life a lot like your own, which helps you know you are not alone.¨


Q- What college did you go to? Was it something you enjoyed?

A- ¨I went to the University of Montevallo and the University of South Alabama. Those were both small schools at the time and I enjoyed the feeling of a campus where you could get to know a lot of people. It felt like a small town.¨


Q- What is your favorite book?

A- “That is a hard question for English teachers to Answer! I have so many!  when I was in high school, I read The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair and The Lords of Discipline by Pat Conroy. I loved those so much. The Jungle made me understand that we, as individuals, can create change in a world that we might view as troubled or corrupt. The Lords of Discipline was set in a military college in the South and dealt with issues that still seemed relevant. Also, the author’s writing style was so beautiful that I enjoyed just reading it to hear how he set up sentences and paragraphs.”