It is the teachers’ responsibility to promote growth and bring out every student’s full potential. They spend long hours each day planning new, creative ways to engage more students in class. However, a teacher’s most daunting task is generating interest in the subject, even if it is a tedious one. This is difficult for teachers to accomplish, yet Claudia Hardi, the physics teacher, is able to meet all of these challenging expectations.
Ms. Hardi started her teaching career at Beckman High School in 2017 as a student teacher for Kristen Hammer, a biology teacher. In 2018, she took on a permanent teaching job as a science teacher. For the 2018-2019 school year, Ms. Hardi taught Advanced Placement (AP) Biology, and now she is teaching College Prep (CP) Physics.
Even though she is a relatively new teacher, Ms. Hardi has made herself known as a passionate and inspiring teacher.
Junior Talia Rim, a student in one of her physics class, agrees. “She is one of the most enthusiastic teachers I have met in my life. She always starts the class by asking ‘Who’s excited for physics?’ And this pumps me up for class, and it leaves a lasting effect on the whole day. I feel much more awake and rejuvenated. That is why I feel excited for my fourth period every day.”
However, her teaching skills and connection to students were not a natural gift; rather, her strong dedication and hard work paid off.
From the start of her teaching career, Ms. Hardi has followed a time-intensive routine. On a regular school day, she spends more than 12 hours at school. She arrives at school at 7 a.m. and starts setting up the lessons she had planned the day prior. Then, she teaches her five periods of physics and holds “office hours” until 5 p.m. to ensure that each student has an opportunity to understand the content. After the instructional day, she stays on campus for even longer to plan for the next day’s lessons or to speak with her students on a more personal level.
Does she stop there?
She comes home and continues working until she finishes everything on her to-do list. Sometimes, she stays up until 10 p.m. to plan.
Ms. Hardi is undoubtedly a strongly-driven individual with a lot on her plate. But she knows that without balance, she can not function at her full potential.
“I always make time for my hobbies, family and friends,” said Ms. Hardi. “Without these things set aside, I know I will be stressed, and if I am stressed, I know it will reflect on the students. I definitely don’t want to do that.”
So she always remembers to have time for herself every day. She goes on walks with her friends, catching up on life, has dinner with her family members and cooks –– she loves to try out new vegan recipes. All these activities allow her to cool off after a long day, with the people she loves.
On the weekends, however, Ms. Hardi plans them out differently so that she is able to fully rest one day without worrying about any school work. Whether it be a Saturday or a Sunday, she always leaves it off for her personal time, which could be anything from watching Netflix to baking her favorite cookies.
“One of my favorite things to do during the weekend is going to church,” said Ms. Hardi. “On Sunday, I worship and pray for the week to come. This is very important to me as it allows me to mentally prepare myself for the upcoming week. I also love having family dinners. At least one day during the weekend, I go and have a family dinner with my parents, my brother and his fiancé.”
Although it seems as if she kept this lifestyle from the beginning, Ms. Hardi has only recently found the perfect balance between work and leisure time.
“When I was a high school student, just like many Beckman students, I didn’t really know how a healthy schedule looked like,” said Ms. Hardi. “I worked really hard in school as I wanted to become a doctor.”
But when she started working towards this goal in college, it soon came to her realization that she was not living the life she intended to. With 10-hour volunteering commitments at hospitals and 15-hour research internship work each week on top of her rigorous class schedule, it was obvious that she was overloading herself.
“I thought that by becoming a doctor, I would be respected by people; I was very self-conscious of others’ expectations,” she explained. “But after undergoing this immense amount of stress, I was unclear as to what my passion was and whether I truly wanted to pursue the medical field. So I decided to partake in a different path.”
Choosing to become a teacher has been one of the best decisions she has made in her life. She is able to spend more time with her family, make better relationships with her friends and, most importantly, she is happy. Teaching students and seeing them grow has been a one-of-a-kind experience for her.
By seeing her well-balanced schedule, Ms. Hardi wants students to realize that pursuing what you are passionate about is far more important than undergoing the stress of something that is not too important to you.
“With everything revolving around you so fast, we tend to forget what we are working for,” Ms. Hardi said. “Perhaps, we all need to take a step back to see what our true passions are and what goals we are working towards.”