Can you tell us about yourself?
"Good morning. My name is Leslie Hardiman. I am principal at Tierra Del Sol middle school and Lakeside, California. Um, I have been here for seven years. I was vice principal for four years and this is my third year as principal."
Why did you start a career in education?
"Started my career in education, um, because I had in ninth grade English teacher who believed in me more than anybody in this world. And he not only was my ninth grade English teacher, but he became my mentor. He became my first, um, master teacher. He became my BITSA provider and he became, um, like a father to me. And so because of the connection I had with him and how he changed my life, um, I decided I wanted to be that for somebody else. And so that was the reason why, um, I became an educator"
If you could have any other job what would it be and why?
"If I could have one job and what would it be? It would be a turnaround coach. Um, turnaround coaches go into schools and they study the current climate climate of the school. They study all of the current results and then they create a plan for how they're going to get struggling schools out of program improvement. And that would be my dream job. Um, I have a daughter who is going into the ninth grade next year and I'm trying to figure out when she graduates high school, what am I going to do with my life. And so, um, being a principal, uh, has been great, but I would love to be able to travel and change, um, the system in schools to make sure that they're more equitable for everyone, every student and that the system is working for all students."
How are kids different now than 30 years ago?
"Kids are very different now than they were 30 years ago, mainly because they have technology. Um, and I think because they have technology and they can access information so much easier, um, there is a level of complacency and there is, um, a decrease in that intrinsic motivation. And so our goal at our school is to make sure that, um, when we put the education in the students' hands, but that they realize how important that task is so they can be more motivated to do better in school."
How is teaching different now than 30 years ago?
"Teaching is different now because of the same thing. Technology and because students can get everything they need at the palm of their hands, on their phone. Teachers need to be more creative to keep students' attention and to truly make learning something meaningful. We don't want to just be factoid places where we just are replicating what they can learn on Wikipedia or Google. We need to make learning transformational and fun and engaging and creative and collaborative and all of those 21st century things that employers looking for when they hire our kids. That is what we need to teach them. And that's something that the internet cannot teach them. They can't teach them how to be better collaborators or how to work in groups or how to be creative. Um, we need to be, well, technology can teach you how to be creative, but you have to have that, that thought process in you and so, and how to be better communicators. I feel like technology stifles that. And so if we offer that for our students, there'll be better students once they leave our school."
What would you tell someone who wants to become a teacher?
"What would you tell someone right now that is thinking about becoming a teacher? Do it. Find out what grade level you're interested in and figure out how you want to change this world and do it. It is the best, most rewarding experience ever. I was a teacher for 12 years before I became an administrator and, um, it's the best job ever."
What is one thing you would change to help kids learn better?
"What is one thing you would change to help kids learn better? Um, giving them that intrinsic motivation and making the learning real world so that they can see, um, why would their learning is important. You know, when we were doing math when we were in high school, we rather than what are we using this for, why are we learning this? We'll never use this again. And I don't necessarily use, um, the quadratic equation on a daily basis. Um, but there are certainly things that I've learned, um, in high school, first rule of economics, I'll never forget it as a senior, was never go to the grocery store hungry. Those are real world examples to make sure that we're successful. And so if I could do one thing for kids, it would teach them real world, um, views, things that they can use once they leave school. Once they get in high school, once they get into college, once they get in their careers, um, I always want them to think back what they learned in middle school, um, from the teachers and what they learned from this heart of it as their administrative. That's it. Thank you. Bye. Bye."