Teacher of the Week: Ms. Gardner

Teacher of the Week: Ms. Gardner

Welcome back to Teacher of the Week! Each week, we’ll be highlighting a teacher or staff member here at KHS. This week’s Teacher of the Week is Ms. Gardner! Ms. Gardner is an English teacher at KHS and has been working here for 2 years.


Who would you like to invite to dinner – dead or alive?

Joan Didion because I think most great writers make great conversationalists. Natalie Portman because if I’m going to share a meal with someone, I’d love for it to be a longtime vegan activist. My mother who passed when I was still in my teens. I never got to have a conversation with her woman-to-woman and that’s an opportunity I wouldn’t pass up.


No names – describe your worst teaching experience.

I started my career in a 7th-grade ELA classroom in Nampa, Idaho, a farm town 20 miles west of Boise. I had almost 40 students in my classes, and even though it was 2015, the school didn’t even provide laptops for students. I had to book a computer lap if I wanted students to type something (that was usually booked up weeks out), we had no librarian, and there were heavy budget restrictions on how much I could print. Even though some of those things don’t make a huge difference, all together it felt like I was constantly treading water and we really weren’t able to provide the best education for these students. We had great teachers and leadership, but unfortunately, I don’t think that’s all that matters.


What’s the hardest thing about teaching?

The hardest thing about teaching is balancing it all. The list of things I’d like to get done in a day to be the teacher I want to be isn’t feasible, and working that much isn’t in line with a healthy lifestyle. So there’s a lot of prioritizing that goes on and ideally it wouldn’t have to be that way.


What’s your teacher bliss?

There are some days when I can’t wait for class because I’m so excited about a particular lesson/reading and eager to share it with students, or similarly when I can see that eagerness in students. Like if everyone finishes the book for homework and they come in eager to share their satisfaction or disappointment. I love it when there’s an energy and enthusiasm about the content, it’s infectious, and those really are the very best days of the year.


Your Advice to Students:

One of my favorite adages is that you are a product of your actions and choices more than your circumstances. Every day you make countless decisions that shape your life in what you watch, read, listen to, who you surround yourself with, how you treat others, and what you consume. You can unfollow accounts that make you feel like you’re not good enough and follow ones that align with your goals; stop eating things that make you feel crumby; surround yourself with people that build you up. Don’t allow yourself to become a victim of your own choices.