Instead of periodic tables and chemical instruments, Mr. Gerard’s classroom is now home to a world of frog dissections and cell reproduction. This past year, Mr. Gerard left his beloved position as 8th grade science teacher in the middle division and joined us in the Upper Division. He is now teaching 9th grade biology and senior level environmental science. Curious about this experience, I sat down with Mr. Gerard and asked him a few questions about the transition itself and the reasoning behind it.
As for why he moved up, it seemed as though Mr. Gerard was simply looking for a taste of something new and a change of scenery. “I was looking for new challenges,” he said. “My schedule has changed because I don’t coach middle division anymore, so I have more freedom to explore and work on these new classes that I haven’t taught before.” In fact, Mr. Gerard not only stopped coaching middle division sports, but he also no longer coaches soccer, so the winter trimester will bring him much more free time to delve into this new branch of science that he has taken on.
Leaving the comforting arms of middle division is hard for anyone, especially if you taught there for 19 years like Mr. Gerard did. When I asked him about his years in the middle division, Mr. Gerard laughed, and said “It only took me 19 years to get out of 8th grade! This is my twentieth year here at Casady.” Undoubtedly, by the end of his middle division career, Gerard knew that building and all of its quirks and rituals like the back of his hand, and I’m sure there are things about it that have been hard to let go.
Curious about what he would miss most, I asked him to divulge some of his favorite 8th grade traditions that he had to say goodbye to. He mentioned the 8th grade leadership day, SEE periods, and the 8th grade campout, but he seemed most enthusiastic about the one and only Jefe. “Oh, Chaverri!” he said. “Definitely Chaverri! Love him.”
Jefe and Gerard’s classrooms were situated next to each other for the extent of both of their middle division teaching careers, which led to a fast friendship, seeing that they also taught many of the same students.
Speaking of students, many may be aware that Mr. Gerard’s son, Jonathan Gerard, is currently a senior at Casady. But that is not the only family member of Mr. Gerard in the UD. Dr. Gerard, his wife, teaches in the Upper Division English department. After being asked how having his wife at work with him affects his daily life at Casady, Mr. Gerard said, “Teaching in the same division with Dr. Gerard has been fun because we get to do more things together and share our stories, since we teach some of the same kids. We get to walk to lunch together–stuff like that.”
It was no surprise to me when Mr. Gerard revealed that students do often get confused between the two Gerards. “Oh, all the time,” he said. “Yes. They will call me Dr. Gerard all the time. That’s how I got to be Mr. Dr. Coach Gerard!” Mr. Gerard’s humor is just one quality of many that we appreciate about him, and we are so happy to welcome him into the Upper Division. Let’s hope he’s here to stay.