New English Teacher Ms. Kilgariff Gives Hope to Students

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New English Teacher Ms. Kilgariff Gives Hope to Students

Claudia Munoz, Contributor

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When I curiously asked Ms. Kilgariff what her hobbies were, she explained that she didn’t have any other than exercising and reading.

After a couple of moments, she beamed, “Actually, I take that back. I’m very interested in true crime.”  I told her that I find true crime fascinating. She chuckled, which made me chuckle as well.

Ms. Kilgariff is from Castro Valley, which is close to Hayward. “I was very supported, very encouraged. Education was important.”

As a little girl, Ms. Kilgariff was read to every night until she was old enough to read by herself.

Now as a teacher, she gets to share her passion for literature with her students.

As I entered Ms. Kilgariff’s room, I heard the familiar names of Piggy and Simon. Her Get Reel class was attentive, their eyes scanning every word in the The Lord of the Flies.

Suddenly, Ms. Kilgariff stopped the audiobook. In order to initiate an active learning experience, she questioned the class about their opinions so far. Excitedly, her students raised their hands. Every time a student spoke, Ms. Kilgariff’s emerald eyes sparkled. Bella Bower, a SRHS sophomore stated, “She listens to what students have to say.”  

Recently, the Get Reel students and some freshman have experienced a number of substitute teachers, some being other SRHS english teachers, because SR had to let go of their previous teacher, Ms. Donnelly. As a result, the students felt frustrated with the unorganized system.

Sean Breen, a SRHS sophomore stated, “It felt really weird. We had different teachers with different teaching styles. It was hard to build a connection.”

By acknowledging the students’ frustration, Mr. Simenstad, who substituted in the 9th grade strategic class, tried to sympathise with the students. Along with Ms.Thurston, he also knew what to expect from a 9th grade English class.  “It’s hard for a teacher to come in half way through a semester. It’s says a lot about her [Ms.Kilgariff] abilities.”

Furthermore, Ms.Thurston, Ms. Hager, Mr. Simenstad, and Mr. Simmons chose to work overtime. They had to put more effort to ensure that the students received necessary information.

Ms. Thurston, who substituted for the Get Reel class, felt like it was similar to teaching any other class. She had a clear sense of what the students had to know. She was able to get them back on track quickly. Ms.Thurston acknowledged, “It felt good to do it, because it felt like you were fixing a problem.”

Ms. Kilgariff isn’t new to teaching. Previously for 5 years, she taught middle school in Foster City and Hayward.

Her first year at SR is also Ms. Kilgariff’s first time teaching high school. She stated, “With high school students, I get to have more intellectual conversations.”

She quickly adapted to the new routines and policies, but she admitted that Canvas took a while to learn. She is grateful for the fact that the English teachers were willing to help her adjust.

Mr. Simenstad and Ms. Thurston agree that Ms. Kilgariff is a smart, thoughtful, and knowledgeable teacher. They hope Ms. Kilgariff is here for a long time.

Some of the student interviewees felt relieved when Ms. Kilgariff came.

Breen asserted, “When Ms. Kilgariff came, I felt a sigh of relief. She relates to us.”