A degree in teaching can serve you anywhere in the world, and Aleene LeBaron is living proof that wherever you are, you can always be a teacher.
LeBaron initially wanted to go into teaching so she could take care of her family. “Since my long-range goal was to be a wife and mother, a degree in education seemed like a wise direction to pursue, “ LeBaron said. “I love teaching and explaining new concepts to any child or adult. My bachelor’s degree helped me know how to help my children become the best students they could be.”
However, after her husband graduated from the Air Force ROTC in 1958 and was assigned to Washington D.C., LeBaron had an opportunity to teach business skills part time to the airmen stationed at Bolling Air Force Base. She taught airmen of different ranks for four years while her husband wrote the official record of the Forward Air Control Mission during the Vietnam War.
After serving in Washington D.C., LeBaron and her family were transferred to the U.S. Air Force headquarters in Europe. Before accepting the position to teach in the American schools in West Germany, she had to be sworn in “to preserve, protect, and defend the constitution of the United States.” “This included swearing to give my life if necessary in defense of our country,” said LeBaron.”
Upon returning home from Europe, LeBaron went back to school to get a master’s degree in psychology with an emphasis in counseling from Ball State University. After graduating in 1978, LeBaron attributed her ability to get a new degree to her earlier education and her teaching experiences. “My bachelor’s degree and the opportunities that my degree afforded qualified me to get my graduate degree and become a professional counselor,” LeBaron said.
After a divorce ended her first marriage, Aleene married Homer LeBaron. She found completely new and unanticipated ways to use her teaching and counseling preparation when Homer was called to preside over the Latter-day Saint mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo from 1992 to 1994. She related that at the time of their call the Congo was considered the most dangerous mission in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. One leader even said that the LeBarons’ highest priority in that country was to survive. “Knowing that the country was dangerous, I feel that my education training made me more aware,” LeBaron recalled. She spent more time noticing and regarding each individual they met in all circumstances. As they met with leaders of the Church in that area, she focused on the individuals and always looked at them one-on-one and not as a group.
Currently residing in Heber City, Utah, LeBaron, still sees benefits from receiving a teaching degree back in 1957. “As time goes on, one finds that no learning or travel is ever wasted,” she affirmed.