This month we catch up with Leslie Reynolds, who’s interest in travel and learning about other cultures inspired her to pursue a master’s program in Second Language Studies and offered her opportunities for teaching abroad and at the University of Guam.
What did you do in the year following high school graduation?
I attended Whittier College and majored in English and Comparative Cultures
Can you tell us about the career path you chose after college?
After college I wasn’t sure about the type of work I wanted to pursue. I was interested in travel and learning about other cultures and ways of life so while living in Honolulu I applied for the Japan Exchange & Teaching Program (JET). I ended up teaching English in Japan for two years. This experience inspired me to apply to the master’s program in Second Language Studies at University of Hawai`i Manoa. While at UHM my research interests centered around second language learning and teaching as well as topics within sociolinguistics such as language & identity, the experiences of transnational student populations in the U.S., and providing learning environments that serve multilingual students in diverse educational contexts. While pursuing my degree I was also given the opportunity to teach English at the university level in Japan and Thailand. After earning my M.A., I returned to Guam and initially began teaching English full-time at University of Guam. I later decided to work with international students at the English Language Institute (ELI) at University of Guam. I am now caring for my son full-time.
What do you love most about your current job?
Although caring for a baby full-time is exhausting work, I love that I get to be there for every smile, every laugh, and every new experience.
Outside of work, what other activities/organizations are you involved in and why?
I spend most of my time with my husband Shane (also class of ’97) and our one-year-old son. Our lives now revolve around him. When I do get the chance though, I enjoy traveling, stand up paddle boarding, and yoga.
I am involved with an unofficial JET alumni group. The Consulate General of Japan here on Guam graciously hosts events where former JETs have the chance to share their Japan experiences and celebrate with new departing JETs. We are also sometimes asked to give presentations at local high schools as well as UOG and GCC. I enjoy sharing my experiences living and working in Japan and encouraging local students to apply.
Do you still keep in touch with your St. John’s School friends?
Yes. I have been in touch with many SJS friends since graduating in 1997. I feel like many of my SJS friends have been there for each milestone after high school. There are many SJS friends who have returned to Guam and I’m glad I get to see them, even if we just run into each other once in a while.
What experiences from St. John’s are the most memorable?
We had a very lively class with a great sense of humor (although the teachers and administrators didn’t always think so). Shenanigans occurred daily much to the dismay of our teachers. We weren’t ones to waste the opportunity for a punch line or a prank. The laughter and punishment that often ensued are seared into my memory forever.
Anything else you would like to add?
Even though many of our SJS friends are now professionals busy with careers and families of their own, when we get together eventually our conversations always turn to the shenanigans and experiences that took place in classrooms, in hallways, in the principal’s office, and on the playground. We are suddenly those girls and boys in the red, white, and blue uniforms. In another 20 years, I imagine it will be the same. Although attending SJS benefited me in many ways, the friendships I developed there matter most to me.
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