Student Resource Center Facilitator
School of Education
January 1, 2008
Education Students Benefit from Talents of Consummate Educator Bhasha Leonard
When my position as Facilitator of the Student Resource Center was created, I did not realize how well it fit my previous experience. As Senior Learning Skills Counselor, I assist students in their preparation for the tests they are required to take prior to becoming teachers. As Academic Writing Specialist, I provide writing support for Education Minor, Credential, MAT, and Doctoral students. As Advisor to Teachers of Tomorrow, I support the officers in designing programs to meet the needs of undergraduate club members considering careers in education.
Years of writing five essays in three hours in public examinations in Australia taught me how to write and answer constructed response questions under test conditions. Six years as a math tutor prepared me to help students develop their math skills. A degree in History and Psychology; experience teaching Physical Education, Social Studies, and Science in girls technical high schools; and six years tutoring reading while writing primers for Readers at Work supplied my background knowledge to assist students studying for a variety of tests.
My love of reading arrived simultaneously with my love of sports. Days of playing cricket, Australian Rules football, and tennis with the boys or softball, netball, and lacrosse with the girls ended with sessions with my latest favorite author or poet. Part-time work at UCI in previous years allowed me to revisit two of my greatest pleasures when I took badminton and poetry writing classes at Irvine Valley College.
My editing career began in India where I perfected reading aloud galley copy and also transcribed books from audiotapes. Proofreading my husband’s textbook, assisting him edit a scientific journal, and occasionally rewriting copy from non-American scientists gave me the skills I need to assist our master’s and doctoral students with their academic writing. As co-founder of California’s 65th charter school in Temecula, I needed all of my literacy skills: speaking at school board meetings; listening while negotiating with school district officials; reading the Charter Schools Bill and Education Code; and, once the charter document was written, shepherding its approval by over 15% of the teachers in the district.
Three years of taking high school students camping in the South Australian bush prepared me for developing the leadership and teamwork skills of the officers and members of the Teachers of Tomorrow club. I learned customer service at the North Thames Gas Consumers’ Council and at Tom’s of Maine. Our future high school teachers take me back to my four years at Adelaide Teachers College, while my decade in an elementary school in Temecula taught me the special language spoken by our future elementary school teachers. Experience as a Guidance Officer in the Psychology Branch of the Education Department of South Australia equipped me with the skills I draw on each day in the Student Resource Center, while coaching and playing women’s lacrosse for South Australia and Australia taught me how to share this space and welcome into it the hundreds of students who cross my path each year.