Leslie Jansen, Upper School English

"The unexpected can be what’s really interesting. When you over-plan you’re not giving them the freedom to expand, and to learn things yourself about the text by letting the students go off in different directions."

What do you know now that you wish you had known when you started teaching?

To trust myself, and especially the students, more. It was really about learning how to create a more student-centered classroom. When we’re new, we plan more – and in fact, the unexpected can be what’s really interesting. When you over-plan you’re not giving them the freedom to expand, and to learn things yourself about the text by letting the students go off in different directions.

What do you need for a day at Bryn Mawr?

Books, energy, engagement, good listening and empathy, in the sense of understanding how hard it is to encounter some of these texts for the first time.

What inspires you?

The natural world. I’m also inspired by the idea of getting the most experiences out of life, and by people who are fearful but are still able to do what they want to do.

What would you be doing if you weren’t teaching?

If I weren't teaching and money were no object, I would travel the world taking as many visual and performing arts lessons as I could and eating as much of the world's vegetarian cuisine and chocolate as possible!
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Located in Baltimore, Maryland, The Bryn Mawr School is a private all-girls kindergarten, elementary, middle and high school with a coed preschool for ages 2 months through 5 years. Bryn Mawr provides students with exceptional educational opportunities on a beautiful 26-acre campus within the city limits. Inquisitive girls, excellent teaching, strong student-teacher relationships and a clear mission sustain our vibrant school community where girls always come first.