Teacher of the Week: Leah Chambers of English Department

Leah Chambers, an English teacher at Clarion University, says her mission is to motivate students to reach their full potential. Born in an urban area in Michigan, 3 miles north of Detroit, Chambers started her journey toward inspiring students. Chambers double majored in French and English to get her bachelor’s degree at Adrian College, her master’s degree at Eastern Michigan University and her doctorate at Indiana University of Pennsylvania at Punxsutawney, with a background in student retention. Chambers has studied abroad in several areas including Paris, Spain and England. Chambers currently has applied to Clarion University to pursue her master’s degree in Education Program: Secondary Certification, and Literacy Instruction specialized in reading. Chambers enjoys working with first year students because she can relate. “First year students [can] struggle their first semester in a lot of ways because [they are] transitioning to the university,” she said. “Smaller courses allow me to be more invested in them, as opposed to larger courses, so they’re not necessarily jaded by college or the education system, and are excited about being college students and adjusting. We have a lot of first-generation students like I was, and I went through the process of navigating college by myself, so I can empathize in a way.” Chambers enjoys being the motivation to keep going regardless of how hard it can be, especially if students have potential. Chambers said, “[Students] can become overwhelmed, and to help [the] majority of students, it’s giving them access to what they need and pointing them in the right direction because they are eager, but it becomes too much too quickly.” Chambers won the Outstanding Faculty Award in November 2013, presented at the Social Equity Banquet from the Student Senate. Chambers said, “The award was an honor and super exciting, and I didn’t expect to be nominated, much less win an award. My students are the reason why I get out of bed in the morning. I’ve done other things like waitressing, working in retail, I was even a professional writer, but nothing is more rewarding than teaching.” Chambers has not only motivated students, but the students have inspired her in numerous ways. Chambers said, “I learn from my students all the time. Even if I can empathize with some of their struggles they face. I have first year students writing these papers about why they are in college, and I realize these are people who are 18 years old [who] have the weight and burdens that people have at 50 years old. They push me as much as I push them to be great.” Her inspiration not only comes from the students, but through Buddhism too. she said, “I wouldn’t say I’m a Buddhist, but I believe in trying to find inner peace, and it is something that everyone needs to work on.” Chambers also has worked on the project “Homework Drop-in Tutoring Center,” which is an educational enrichment opportunity for the community. The location  of the center is next to Crooks Clothing on Main Street, and all services are available to students free of charge.

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