Shaping the Future: Sylvia Gardea


Photo / Jiya Patel

Mrs. Gardea says that students are what keep her in the educational field.

Located in E building, Mrs. Gardea’s classroom is full of natural sunlight and the promise of an impactful education. Most students would agree that walking into Mrs. Gardea’s class comes with an invigorating energy. The motivational posters that line the walls and the wooden desks that face each other creating  a collaborative and welcoming environment. Considering most of her students consist of freshman, she is associated with fresh starts and a new chapter of young adulthood.

Sylvia Gardea has been at the Coronado campus since 2015. In the almost seven years she has been here, she has taught a variety of AP classes. Currently, she teaches primarily AP Human Geography, but she also has an AP Psych course. She’s especially passionate about her AP Human Geography course considering how much she values social sciences.

“Social science is a life science, and I would hope that any student who takes this course walks out of here and understands yes, we learn from the history that took place past tense, but we’re living in a current and ongoing history,” Gardea said.” Most kids are oblivious to what’s going on in their geospatial world, and I’ve just gravitated to it. I really, truly enjoy it.”

Something most of her students don’t know about Gardea is that she worked in the law field before pursuing teaching. She worked as a mitigation specialist. She says that that career caused her to have to travel extensively.

“I way away from home a lot depending on cases, so that got tiring and takes a hit. I wanted something where I could be part of my community and not be sent to ‘ten buck two’ to people who don’t even know you….and that’s kind of why I got out.” Gardea said. “Loved the legal field, it was just way too many hours taking a toll on my family. Education does still take a lot of time, but I don’t have to travel.”

Something that makes Gardea such a special teacher is that she is truly passionate about helping her students. She says that the highlight of her job is the interaction she is able to have with them.

“Believe it or not, the interaction with you, guys. I love when I see your guys’ wheels turning and then, you know, when stuff starts to click. It takes a little bit, but when stuff starts clicking, that lightbulb, that’s my favorite part of it.” Said Gardea

This passion is entirely recognized by her students, both current and past.

“I think that something that makes her special is that she’s teaching a freshman class, so most teachers would’ve considered us babies and not given us that much work because they don’t want to be hard on us, but she believed that we could do it, “said sophomore and former student Monet Munoz. “She gave us what we needed to pass the exam which I think is really valuable.”

In addition to how well she prepares students for their first AP test, many students discuss the impact she will have on their success in the future.

“I mean, she prepared me so well for all of my AP classes. It gave me a feel for the rest of my classes from here on out.” said sophomore and former AP human geography student Eric Sanchez. “The way that she gave out work taught me well. I don’t know, it just gave a really great learning experience.”

In fact, many of her students feel as if she has shaped their work ethic in a truly unique way.

“Yes, she makes me work hard. It motivates me to be better and to improve my work ethic so I can finish my work.” said current student and freshman Mia Portillo.

Gardea doesn’t just love the content she teaches, but also feels so lucky to have the opportunity to teach it to students who are so invested in their education.

“I started here in 2015, and the student body here, I couldn’t ask for better quality students,” Gardea said.

She says that keeping her students motivated doesn’t take much, considering how much they devote themselves to their classes and GPA. She says that her teaching style is simply giving the students the information they need to apply themselves.

“I don’t believe I can teach anybody anything. I think I tell my kids that every year. I consider myself a facilitator. I give you the information as best as I possibly can, but ultimately, I always like to turn things over to my kids and facilitate them applying what we’re discussing.” Gardea said.

If you were to walk into one of Gardea’s classes, it is clear how much her students respect her. The hard work and effort  they invest into this class shows just how much they have gained from her guidance.

“I am very privileged to work with such an amazing group of kids every single year,” Gardea said. “That alone has kind of kept me in the ball game more than anything else, truly.”