Wednesday, December 2, 2020

By: Claire Quigle

Happy “Where Do You Work?” Wednesday! Today we would like you to meet alumnus Justin Le (BA ‘19  History and BA ‘19  Social Studies Education).

Le is from West Des Moines, Iowa, and is now teaching World Studies for sophomores at Johnston High School in Johnston, Iowa. He has been teaching there since March of this year, and despite the chaos of COVID-19, he has enjoyed offering a new perspective for his students and getting to connect with them and their families.

“I love being able to teach world history through the lens of marginalized identities and amplifying the voices of folks where their stories are neglected or misrepresented,” says Le. “It is so much fun to connect with the kids that I work with and see their growth. I love the support that I receive from families for their students and for me as a person, especially during my first year of teaching where our school has gone through three different instruction models (hybrid learning, everyone back face-to-face learning, and now online learning).”

Le is thankful for the support he received from the University of Iowa College of Education, both in his academic endeavors as well as his student organizations.

“I always felt at home in the College of Education classes and I met some great friends through it,” says Le. “Likewise, the class sizes and intentionality behind instructional activities and class time helped me grow as a person and teacher.”

Le always felt comfortable to participate in his classes, which helped him grow as a person and in class. He is grateful to have met Nancy Langguth and Greg Hamot as a student at the UI College of Education. Le says they are amazing teachers and people, and that he learned so much about life from them.

In addition to UI College of Education, Le had the opportunity to take part in several on-campus organizations, including the Vietnamese Student Association.

“The University of Iowa’s student organizations propelled my passion for teaching through the lens of my heritage,” says Le. “The Vietnamese Student Association (VSA) at Iowa shaped how I viewed the world, others, and how I wanted to teach and be taught as a teacher/student.”

Between UI College of Education and Le’s student organization opportunities, he felt very prepared as he began his career as a world studies teacher.

“I had so many pleasant experiences connecting my Vietnamese and Chinese heritage to everything in my life so much so that I have used my VSA work to inform class instruction and content,” says Le.

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