By Christopher Loring
Ms. Janene Gardin is a substitute Math teacher at Lansing School District’s J.W. Sexton High School.
LORING: Why did you become a substitute teacher?
MS. GARDIN: Well, I actually did not want to become a teacher but when I was in my first year of college, my math professor told me that I should change my major and become a teacher. I did not listen to her and I continued my degree in Finance. Later I received a Masters in Strategic Management. Next I began a career in banking which lasted 7 years. Finally I got out of that and started substitute teaching. Now I love teaching! So clearly, I should've listened to my math professor my first year of college.
LORING: Throughout your years of being a teacher, do you think that you have impacted any of your students?
MS. GARDIN: Yes I do believe that I have impacted a lot of students. I believe that I try to build relationships with all the students regardless of their background and where they're from. I believe that we can all learn something from someone that is different from us. Everybody can teach us something. So I can tell that I’ve done that and impacted some students because they come back to visit or they want to stay in my class. You’ve impacted me! Maybe by doing this interview I am impacting you.
LORING: Have any of your students impacted you? And if so, in what way?
MS. GARDIN: Definitely and to be honest you and Keshawn Mitchell showed me that. I’m a believer in God so having faith in life when things are messed up can be really hard. When you guys both told me about your diagnosis of cancer, it really showed me that ‘wow’ a kid can be stronger than some adults. Cancer is crazy to go through and to go through it as a child is even crazier and that definitely impacted me.
LORING: What is your biggest fear as a teacher?
MS. GARDIN: My biggest fear I guess would be not seeing a need or overlooking it. When you're a student or you have a lot going on at home, sometimes school can be your only safe place. If I don't see that need and it makes a student give up, I’m saddened to see that happen. I understand that there's a lot more going on than just school in a student's life.
LORING: Do you think that your students really appreciate you?
MS. GARDIN: I’m really feeling these answers but let's continue.
LORING: If you could do it all over would you still become a teacher?
MS. GARDIN: Yes, I would’ve listened to my professor my first year of college because now everyone wants me to be the actual teacher but to do that I would have to go back to school.
LORING: This is the last question, what do you want to be when you grow up?
MS. GARDIN: That is a good question. I think that when I grow up, I want to leave a good legacy. I want to be a teacher in any type of setting. I feel that knowledge is something that everyone should continually get even if it’s not book knowledge. Everybody can keep learning their whole life. So no matter what stage of life I’m in, I just want to continue to teach.
LORING: I feel like you would be a great Sunday school teacher.
Christopher Loring is a 10th grader at Lansing School District’s J.W. Sexton High School where he is a member of the band. He is also in the Upward Bound program at Michigan State University. He is an intern at The New Citizens Press.
Printed in the February 19, 2017 - March 4, 2017 edition