Day in the life of a last year teacher


Yearbook File Photo

In Julie Gardner’s last year teaching at MSHS, she teaches career and consumer math, geometry, precalculus and a Pikes Peak college class.

Angela Rowe, Senior Reporter

Many young students believe that teachers’ lives revolve around them and school, but something only teachers themselves can understand is how the work life balance is achieved. As a teacher of 31 years, Julie Gardner has nailed it.

Starting The Day

Gardner’s wake alarm goes off at 5:05 every morning. “I enjoy starting the day with a cup of tea or coffee followed by Bible study, Gardner said.” After Bible study, Gardner does Yoga Pilates, which allows her to stretch, refocus and relax. 

After Yoga Pilates, Gardner will get prepared for the day as she gets dressed, does her hair and eats breakfast. Gardner always has a piece of toast for breakfast varied with different toppings, like honey or jelly and on occasional days she will have some kombucha.

Heading To Work

“It varies if I take a shower then I arrive at 7:45 but most days somewhere around 7:25 unless I have physical therapy then I arrive at 8:00,” Gardner said. As a teacher of 31 years, Gardner doesn’t feel the stress of arriving way earlier than students, since she has a steady routine. Then when the weather is right and it starts to approach spring, Gardner loves riding her bike to school in the mornings to get fresh air and enjoy nature.

“I always get my boards ready,” Gardner said. No matter what time Gardner arrives she will arrange and prepare her chalkboards in her room. The calendar board is the most important one as it keeps her and her students on the same schedule. Right before school begins, she lastly checks her emails, replies and sends reminders to student tutors and the knowledge bowl team. 

During The Day

“I teach career and consumer math, geometry, precalculus and a Pikes Peak college class,” Gardner said. Gardner has taught 30 out of 31 years at Manitou Springs High School, while each year getting a good change of pace as she teaches freshman, sophomore, juniors and seniors throughout the day. 

As the year comes to an end, Gardner is planning her retirement as a teacher. Though she hopes to still contribute to the school as a math support teacher and to continue teaching the college course. “She always tries to do what’s best for everyone, especially her students,” Nathan Gardner said. Nathan Gardner is Gardner’s son who is a senior at MSHS this year, he has been able to watch her grow as a teacher and view students’ opinions on how much she has helped them over the years. 


“For lunch I have leftovers from dinner, it’s typically a salad, and I put whatever protein on it,” Gardner said. On Wednesdays and Fridays Gardner holds knowledge bowl practice in her room, as she is the coach of the team. The rest of the week she typically tends to work through lunch as she will grade or plan lessons, but recently she has been spending lunch chatting with students and teachers to be more social. 

After School

Gardner will typically stay anywhere to an hour or more after school depending on her workload and if a student has to retake an exam. “I have about at least an hour grading every night,” Gardner said. As a teacher the job never truly has an end or start, Gardner spends her time before school, after school and during the weekends planning and grading lessons. 

Once she leaves school her activities range from going for a walk or hike, going to the grocery store, and doctor appointments. “I like watching TV with my husband,” Gardner said. Gardner and her husband enjoy getting into different varieties of TV series which they get to binge and critique together. 


“We remodeled our kitchen and since then my husband’s like turned in this amazing chef,” Gardner said. Unless it’s a special occasion, going out is a rare occasion since they have gotten into cooking. Gardner’s husband and her have a routine where during the week he will cook and during the weekend she will, with dinner typically including a protein, a carb, and a salad. 

Ending The Day

After starting the day early and having an event filled day, Gardner enjoys ending each day with writing in her journal. Then she will head to do her nighttime routine and prepare for bed. “Anywhere from nine to 11 p.m.,” Gardner said. Depending on how tired Gardner is she will stay up, since she doesn’t find her bed relaxing and would rather be up doing something productive.