My name is Caroline Gardner, I am a recent Georgetown graduate! I studied Government, Journalism, and Public Health. I am from Indianapolis, IN & I completed my archive project from my childhood bedroom there! During my time at Georgetown I hosted trivia for The Tombs, walked many dogs, worked in many office buildings (Capitol Hill being the most beautiful by far), hosted a radio show about jazz and became incredibly passionate about women's empowerment as VP of my sorority. Currently, I am living in Indianapolis, working at a brewery (with a mask, of course), babysitting two very nice kids and teaching yoga classes!
About the Collection
As a student with a learning disability, I feel lucky to look back on my time in school and feel supported and empowered by teachers and their actions. Teachers have an incredible opportunity, not to only teach young people what they need to know in order to navigate the world, but also to teach them how to advocate for themselves, how to be kind, and how to connect with others. I wanted to learn more about the education system during the pandemic - How were teachers coping with the physical distance of teaching through a screen? How were students learning? What else was going on in the lives of students that might take away from their studies? How are low income students being affected, and how are they being supported by their teachers? How are mental health challenges being exacerbated by a global pandemic? Teachers are some of the most passionate, caring, and communicative people. Both my parents are teachers, so I live with two of them. I asked every teacher what he or she is doing for his or her mental health. I asked them about lesson plans, the lives of their students, and the future of education. Some conversations left me in tears of gratitude for their hard work or in tears concern for the challenges of their students and for them. Some conversations were with friends, many of whom I'd known for years: I am so grateful for this opportunity to get to know them in a different way. There are some holes in my project: I did not speak to a teacher who is a person of color, I did not get to hear from the students themselves (interviewing someone under 18 is frowned upon, if not illegal), and I did not get a full picture of the life of a teacher during a pandemic. Overall, this project was the first assignment to bring me back to focus and passion for my own education during my last semester of college. I am so thankful for Prof. Chakravarti and Onder for their encouragement, support and awesome Zoom classes in March, April and May.
Hannah is a good friend of mine from high school who is doing her student teaching for her education degree from Miami University in Ohio. She is very articulate and passionate about her work: it is amazing to hear someone who is 22 years old express so much grace and patience in an extremely tough situation. She is one of those people who was actually born to be a teacher. One of my friends texted me recently to tell me that Hannah got a job post-grad and said: “She’s going to teach fourth grade next year and I literally can’t imagine someone more fit to be in an elementary school.”
Austin is in his first year of teaching in Kentucky. He is my best friend’s boyfriend, so I just texted him to set up the interview. Austin is incredibly passionate about his students and really loves teaching. He teaches seventh grade language arts and mentoring. Dealing with 13 year olds does not seem like the easiest task (in my opinion) but in this interview you can hear Austin’s patience for his students and his desire to bring them the best education he can, despite difficult circumstances. Recorded on March 14th.
Charlotte Tresslar Interview
I interviewed Charlotte Tresslar on March 29th. Charlotte is in her second year of teaching in Boston. She teaches high school special education physics and math. She is a Georgetown graduate. I just texted her to set up this interview because we are friends and I knew she was in her second year of Teach for America. Her interview is especially interesting because she teaches seniors and she teaches in an area that has been greatly affected by the pandemic. This interview was also very valuable because Charlotte is very honest about how this affects her students.
I spoke to James on April 13th. He is a friend from college, so I just texted him to see if he could talk. He had an interesting perspective because he teaches at a private high school. He is also a Latin, world history and international affairs teacher. It is interesting to hear about his international relations class because he discusses COVID with his students. He also has a laid back, honest attitude about his students, which makes this interview very relatable. He loves teaching and speaks about his students like they are adults- many of them are juniors and seniors.
I interviewed Libby on May 6, 2020. She is a friend of mine from Indianapolis and she is in her first year of teaching Kindergarten. She spoke at length about the odds her low income students face, as well as the inequalities they face. Her students are 5 years old- it is difficult for them to understand why they aren’t in school.
Teacher in Hawaii
Teacher in Hawaii Interview
I spoke to a teacher in Hawaii who wished to remain completely anonymous. My close friend at Georgetown was her student and gave me her email address. She teaches a class called “Learning Skills” which is fantastic in helping students with learning differences. Recorded on March 21st.
Teacher in Utah
Teacher in Utah Interview
I found this teacher on Instagram using the #teachersfollowteachers tag. She is a first year teacher in Utah- she asked for her name to be left out of the archive. We zoomed on 4/17- she teaches a unique set of classes which makes this interview extremely interesting.
How Teachers Adapt
This is an assignment I used as my final project for my journalism minor. I changed people’s names to their preferences: some teachers wanted to be completely anonymous, some teachers did not care, while some teachers only wanted their first or last name to be used.
A personal reflection documenting my own experiences with COVID-19.