Diary of A Young Pro: Stany Leblanc
1. Where are you located?
I am located in the Upper East Side of Manhattan; however, I have lived in both Harlem and the Bronx in my past 7 years in New York City. I also have been teaching that long in the South Bronx near Yankee Stadium.
2. How old are you?
I am 28 years old but I still like to say I am 25 to myself at times.
3. What is your job title?
I am the Literacy Coach and a Peer Collaborative Teacher at the Mott Hall Science and Technology Academy, a middle school in the South Bronx. I coordinate the literacy efforts school wide and provide professional development to teachers throughout the school ranging from curriculum to pedagogy. I also teach one 6th grade English/Language Arts class as a lab classroom for teachers to observe best practices.
4. How has the transition been from backpack to briefcase (college to adulthood)?
I have to admit that the transition was extremely difficult for me especially because I became an adult at the same time that I became a teacher. I strongly believe that teaching is one of the hardest professions to maintain and your first year of teaching is when many of your horrors come true. There is nothing more terrifying about adulthood than standing in front of a group of children and realizing that you have to demand respect rather than just receive it in order to survive. This became even more frightening when thinking about the other issues I had to deal with for the first time such as paying the rent for a NYC apartment and avoiding bed bugs on the subway. Fortunately going through all of this gave me the strength and determination I needed to succeed and prosper today.
5. When you were in school, did you imagine your life the way that it is?
In college, I glamorized what my future might look like. Since many of my peers were pursuing different career paths that had perks and incentives, I thought I would be doing the same. However once I discovered the impact I could have on children, I knew that education was the path for me. Though I can’t say that I don’t miss my dreams of international business travel, , catered meals, and flexible hours, I wouldn’t trade my experience for anything else.
6. What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced during these transitional years?
The biggest challenge I faced in these past few years was adopting my 17 year old son, Benjamin Patrick Leblanc. Benjamin was my 8th grade student at the age of 13 when I was 23 years old. Benjamin and I developed a relationship based on his desire to pursue a better life and his hopes to be successful. Unfortunately Benjamin was placed in foster care after being abused and I was the only person who showed up to take care of him and support him. After he graduated from our middle school, he became my foster son and consequently I adopted him a year later. It is extremely challenging to raise a teenager when I felt so young myself but it has also been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. He has blossomed into a young man these past 4 years with me and now he is applying to the schools of his dreams such as Stanford University and the University of Pennsylvania. Parenthood is difficult but I am so happy I chose it.
7. What is the best advice you have received from a mentor about adulthood and/or careers?
I have had the pleasure of having my principal as an outstanding mentor and supervisor these past few years. He taught me to always stay humble and realize that as a leader you are a servant to the people. This was an important lesson for me to learn especially as a young professional that was used to only worrying about himself and his success.
8. What advice would you give a young professional?
The main piece of advice I would give them is to be passionate about what you do and pursue your future endeavors with fervent persistence. However, on the other end remember that adult life will have many unplanned twists and turns and you should be ready to shift and adapt your mindset and expectations.
9. What is next for you and the next 12 months? Do you have any goals you would like to accomplish? How are you going to accomplish them?
Personally, my goal is to successfully drop my son off at college and not spend everyday worrying about him and allowing him to be independent. That is definitely easier said than done. On a professional level, I want to continue to push my idea of leadership and seek new opportunities to improve my work with teachers and their outcomes with their students. I hope to continue my administrative track so that I can have the most impact on our population of students.
10. What makes you special?
I appreciate life for what it is and I make sure that everyday is meaningful to me. I believe that I have a purpose in this world and that each day will get me closer to that goal. I also understand the value of just living and that brings me a balance and happiness that will allow me to prosper and sustain my success for a long time.