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The mathematician himself: Jerry Gardner

Mr.Gardner has been a math teacher for 12 years with a passion for it. All though his dream of being a NBA player died early from his height, he couldn’t imagine doing anything other than teaching. Picture by Jaclyn Thompson.
Mr.Gardner has been a math teacher for 12 years with a passion for it. All though his dream of being a NBA player died early from his height, he couldn’t imagine doing anything other than teaching. Picture by Jaclyn Thompson.

by Jaclyn Thompson, staff reporter

Mr.Gardner has been a math teacher for 12 years with a passion for it. All though his dream of being a NBA player died early from his height, he couldn’t imagine doing anything other than teaching. Picture by Jaclyn Thompson.
Mr.Gardner has been a math teacher for 12 years with a passion for it. Although his dream of being a NBA player died early from his height, he couldn’t imagine doing anything other than teaching. Picture by Jaclyn Thompson.

What inspired you to become a teacher?

Two things; first  I like math, which sounds like a simple answer, but its important when its something to do everyday. Secondly, I’m sort of a misanthrope and rather than just complain about how bad everyone is, I wanted the opportunity to influence people at a time in their lives where they’re most impressionable, and maybe give them a chance to do good rather than evil.

 

Why did you chose this subject?

I really like the logic in math.  Its nice to sort of start with a problem thats crazy looking and end which something that simple and thats what math does.

 

How many years have you been a teacher?

This is my twelfth year being a math teacher. First year at WJPS.

 

What teacher had impacted your life while you’re in school?

Both my parents were teachers. In addition to that, all the teachers I responded too were the ones that I had a personal connection with, who would not just talk about the subject they taught but other things that were interesting to me and I try to incorporate that in my teaching style.

 

What would you be doing if you weren’t a teacher?

My NBA career ended early, because there isn’t a lot of 5’9 shooting guards. I am interested in architecture, and I thought about studying statistics, but I ended up not doing those things.

 

Has being a teacher changed you? Better or for worse?

I hope for the better, I have had other jobs and they’re not as fulfilling like teaching. Its something you take home with you. You take the work home with you, obviously, but you take home the relationships home too. If the students had a good day, if a student gets into college its makes my day. So its very fulfilling. I’m not very social, I don’t find it easy to connect with people outside school, but I find it easy to connect with students so I hope for the better.

 

What are the ups and downs of being a teacher?

The ups are things I just said, its pretty fun everyday and even if I’m twice as old as them I get to keep that young mindset. The downs are the people that want something different like students, parents, principals, politicians and the hard part is trying to figure out how to make it work in a way that everyone is happy, and its also a lot work you end up having to do, you do things late at night or on the weekend.

 

Have your students impacted you as a teacher?

Yes I think so. Every class has a different personality and I would love every class to love math but more and often and not thats not the case and I try to connect the students that don’t like math to help them like it.

 

Do you have secret talents? If so what are they?

I can do a cartwheel but thats not going to get me very far in life.

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