Leslie Bradner: Teaching is her calling

Published 2:05 pm Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Leslie Bradner is exactly where she wants to be, doing exactly what she wants.
For more than a year and a half now, she has taught GED preparation at the Charlotte Adult Learning Center, as well as the Southside Virginia Community Center.
In her time teaching at the center, Bradner, 43, has had students ranging in age from 17 years old to 77 years old.
“I love it,” she said. “I absolutely love it. I was dreaming last night about a lesson plan.”
“I’ve actually been looking for an opportunity to dabble in adult education since I was 16 years old,” she said. In fact, she said, she got her first job as an adult tutor at that age.
“I don’t want to teach kids,” she said. “The kids have to be there. But the adults who are here want to be here. They are results oriented. They know what they want.”
When she first started teaching, she was worried about having to go to the board “because it’s like public speaking. Now, I’m running to the board.”
The Charlotte (Adult) Learning Center was formerly the Charlotte County Literacy Program, and was founded in October 1986 with the mission to help illiterate adults in Charlotte and surrounding areas learn to read, its website notes.
Since then, the organization has grown to include Southside Virginia Community College sponsored classes in preGED and GED, English for speakers of other languages, basic computer literacy, writing, money management, health literacy and public speaking. It also has a used bookstore.
Joyce Nelson, director of the learning center, had nothing but praise for Bradner.
“Leslie is an excellent teacher,” said Joyce Nelson, director of the learning center. “SVCC is lucky to have her.”
Besides the GED class at the learning center, “These days she often has the group meet on Wednesdays at SVCC to make good use of the equipment there.”
Meanwhile, Bradner said adult education may give participants some advantages that they lacked in school. Instruction in schools is paced, and it is up to the student to keep up. But in adult education, participants work at their own pace, though they do come together to learn together and from each other, Bradner said.
Gaining a GED automatically improves their chances at employment, as well as being able to pursue college-level courses, Bradner said.
But, she said, there more than that.
“It’s about continuous education,” she said. “It’s exciting and it keeps your brain engaged. I like learning and I want to get that inspired in people. … There is no top age for self-improvement. At no point in life do you top out in doing things you love and learning things.”