Breaking News
  • May 20Check back in August!
News for Wildcats, by Wildcats.

The Paw Print

News for Wildcats, by Wildcats.

The Paw Print

News for Wildcats, by Wildcats.

The Paw Print

Lifelong Learning: Remy Garard to complete doctoral degree at Illinois State University

Leah Smolen
During AP Literature class, Mrs. Remy Garard poses for her feature article. Garard is a veteran teacher at Normal West who is also currently pursuing her Doctorate’s degree.

Between serving as Head of the English Department and teaching Honors/AP classes, Remy Garard has found the time out of her already hectic schedule to work towards a major life goal: the completion of a Doctorate Degree.

“I always knew I wanted to, I love a challenge. I didn’t want to not do the thing that was in front of me, and I thought I could do it,” Garard mentions.

Garard completed her Bachelor’s Degree at Eureka College for English/Language Arts Teacher Education in 1996. After completing her bachelor’s, she began teaching and working to complete a Master’s Degree in American History at Illinois State University.

In-classroom learning in Garard’s English classes revolves heavily around the material provided, including books, poems, and movies.

In AP Literature, students analyze poems relating to the books they read for class, then hold in-class discussions surrounding the material. In English III, students watch and read along with many American classics, such as The Great Gatsby or A Raisin in the Sun. Students learn different literary devices, techniques, and analytical skills through these assignments, made by Garard and other English teachers during planning periods.

However, the curriculum revolves less around the material, and more about the students.

“About 10 years into my career, a mentor challenged me and said, ‘If teaching was more about your students learning and less about what you are teaching, would you still want to do it?’ And that just hit me in between the eyes, and I thought that’s absolutely right,” Garard shares.

In 2023, Garard started her doctoral program at ISU.

To begin the process, Garard first had to complete a full application, including letters of recommendation and sample writing, to begin the 60-hour program. Many teachers at West have completed a master’s or a doctoral degree while teaching, which Garard expresses to have been influential to her while starting the process.

“My outside-of-school schedule is insane. I probably spend 12-15 hours a weekend working on grad school,” Garard states.

In addition to returning to school, Garard teaches sections of Honors English II and AP Literature alongside standard placement English III.

“It’s a good reminder of how my students feel in terms of whether our assignments are meaningful, are they worth it, is it busy work?” she notes.

The overall process of school and teaching is all a part of Garard’s goal to continue lifelong learning.

“I think it will help me prove to myself that I’ve done it, but more importantly, it’s a model to my students and children that I desperately believe in lifelong learning and how important it is.”

More to Discover