Shannon Leblanc

A decade of teaching passion: Shannon’s journey from teacher to Board President

Shannon’s involvement with CCI-LEX began in 2011. Having graduated from the University of Alberta, where she had taught as a TA (Teaching Assistant), Shannon was looking for a new teaching opportunity and happened to come across the CCI-LEX website online. She applied as a volunteer teacher and became a weekly regular for the LEX program. Almost ten years later, Shannon is still teaching, and her journey with CCI-LEX has taken her through various classrooms and to the Board, where she is currently serving as President.

Shannon undeniably enjoys the environment at CCI-LEX: the school is well organized, class sizes are small, and the support from staff is awesome. Classes are meant to be fun and emphasize a focus on their students, who come from all over the world. Shannon loves that she can help students not only to learn English, but also to discover and discuss Canadian culture in a setting that’s both safe and enjoyable.

In recent years Shannon has been taking French lessons in an attempt to learn a second language herself. This has helped her appreciate her students, who often work or parent full-time, yet still find the time and energy to come to class almost every day. It also takes a lot of effort to learn English in an immersive environment (CCI-LEX’s “English only zone”), and Shannon knows to no longer assume that her students understand what’s going on simply because they’re smiling and nodding! In the end, however, effort pays off, such as the time when one of Shannon’s students saw her at a downtown market and was brave enough to say hello and introduce her son and was clearly excited to be able to use her English in a real world setting.

Shannon joined the Board as Secretary in 2016 at the encouragement of Anne-Marie, the Executive Director of CCI-LEX. As program coordinator for the University of Alberta’s energy management and sustainable operations team, as well as co-founder of the Edmonton Tool Library non-profit society, Shannon brings with her many years of knowledge and experience in project management  and organizational know-how. As President of the Board, Shannon’s responsibilities are quite different from teaching, as there is a lot of focus on governance and strategic planning to make sure that CCI-LEX can continue to be a good functioning organization. That said, as a teacher with years of involvement, Shannon comes in with a lot of passion as well as a deeper understanding of the organization and what it does. All told, between teaching and Board responsibilities, Shannon puts in a good 10-15 volunteer hours each month.

Shannon’s final words? Everyone should volunteer at CCI-LEX! You don’t have to be an expert teacher, and there are many supports for how to teach, and in the process you’ll meet a lot of amazing people.

What Shannon does outside of CCI-LEX: spending time with family, learning French, cooking and eating, cycling, pilates

Where Shannon has travelled: Canada, US, Mexico, Ireland and elsewhere in Europe

Shannon’s favorite foods: vegetarian, anything “noodly”, Indian