By Kate Anslinger
When it comes to teaching, Connecticut native Regina Jardon has no shortage of drive and passion for the career. Her enthusiasm is catchy, especially when she talks about how much she is inspired by her students. Having spent her entire young life in southwestern Connecticut, Jardon felt she needed a change when it was time to apply to colleges. So, she packed her bags and headed to Boston, where she majored in English at Boston University. She soon felt that Boston was her home, and she found herself enrolling at Lesley University, where she earned her M.Ed. Four years ago, Jardon landed her first teaching job at Winthrop High School, and she couldn’t be happier. In the interview below, she shares what it’s like to be inspired every single day.
Did you always want to be a teacher?
Yes. I know it’s cheesy, but I always like to tell the story of how I really got my start in teaching. My parents had a chalkboard leaning against the wall of the basement, and I used to drag my younger sisters, my first two students, downstairs to play school. Of course I was the teacher, and I would make them do little assignments like circle all of the vowels in a magazine article or copy down sentences I wrote on the board.
If you weren’t a teacher, what other profession could you see yourself doing?
I think I could see myself working in the education field, maybe designing curriculum or at an organization that helps schools grow and adapt to the needs of their students as times change. I’d like to be on the forefront of what schools will look like in the future. I guess once it’s in your blood, it’s hard to step away from education. But I could also see myself being a novelist.
Is there someone who inspired you to teach?
I had some really wonderful teachers, especially English teachers, who made me feel valued, and that definitely has worked its way into the way I approach teaching. I always loved the teachers who made a point of being the weirdest people in the room, so that I never felt that weird by comparison. Because, honestly, I was pretty weird in high school.
Do your students inspire you? Example?
Every. Single. Day. Not only do they do amazing things academically, tackling challenging texts and presenting thought-provoking ideas, but they also inspire me in the way they treat each other. My favorite things I see are when students are especially kind to one another. For instance, in the lunchroom when they invite their peers to sit with them and the dedication they put into the “Spread the Word to End the Word” campaign, or even how they make a point of saying “thank you” on their way out the door after class.
Tell us about the literary magazine that you are involved in.
The literary magazine, Spilled Ink, was born last year because we have some incredibly talented students who love to write and wanted a place to publish their work. These kids have taken on an incredible amount of responsibility to gather submissions, edit submissions, publish submissions, and run events in celebration of their peers’ writing. They are even planning more outreach to get the Winthrop community involved in their endeavor. I think it’s wonderful that in a time where there is a big push for “practical” careers and college majors, there are still kids who want to preserve and practice creative writing in their busy lives.