Olivia Interviews: Ms. Gebhardt

Olivia Interviews Ms. Gebhardt


  1. What made you want to become an art teacher?

“I wanted to be an art teacher when I was in high school. I think I realized when I was looking up different jobs. Art teachers would ask us what do you want to be when you grow up and I always loved art, but I didn’t really think about what I would do when I grew up until I was in high school- I just thought the idea of teaching kids something that I already loved to do would be something that is a lot of fun and I thought I could share my excitement for art with other kids.”


  1. What inspired you to be a teacher?

“I loved one of my teachers growing up-I went to east brook and I loved my sixth-grade teacher. I thought she was so fun and she always wore really fun clothes and she was funny and had really good guidelines too. Like she expected a lot from us. And I thought it was really cool that you could be fun but you can also have good standards to and then share your love for whatever you are teaching. I always wanted to be just like her, my sixth-grade teacher.”


  1. What is the best part about your job?

“The best part about my job is that I can really be creative every single day. If I want to change around a project because I think that the students are going to like it better from one year to the next, I can. So even though I have to teach certain things because of the state art standards that doesn’t mean that I have to do the same project as every other art teacher in the state of New Jersey. I can come up with something that’s going to work for us and I absolutely love that…I love when I see my students enjoying what they’re doing even if it’s hard in the beginning. That moment when they realize that they can be good at art or they can love art, that’s the best part in the world.”


  1. What are the biggest challenges that you face being an Art teacher?

“I think the biggest challenges in being an art teacher is that sometimes kids don’t take the subject seriously. Everybody goes ‘Oh it’s just art or it’s an easy A or we don’t have to try.’ So that can be really hard getting over that challenge of that people’s initial attitude towards art and there’s a lot of different materials here and sometimes kids don’t respect the materials, so I really have to make sure that those two things happen. But really there’s not a lot of challenges beyond that. I guess its people’s attitudes in the beginning.”


  1. What is the greatest success you’ve had with teaching?

“Oh man, that’s a hard one! I don’t think of a big success, I think of all the little successes. Like you know the moment that somebody who may have not thought that they could draw but realizes they can draw or someone who never thought that they could go on the pottery wheel and finally realizes that they actually like and they can be good at it. So, I think that maybe the fact that I’m still here every day and I think that the fact that they want me to be a teacher here because that’s a big success, but then I am just thinking about the little things that happen every day that are little successes every time a student learns something and pushes past the difficult part in the project.”


  1. What is your favorite lesson to teach in art?

“Oh my gosh! It’s like trying to pick my favorite dog out of my two dogs! I don’t know I love all of them! I love all of them!”


  1. What’s your favorite memory from teaching?

Oh, my goodness! That’s a hard one! Honestly, I think when my grandpa passed away and I came back to school and I was kind of scared to come back to school and all my students had drawn these beautiful cards and giving me little gifts and that I could barely even read the cards because I was still so sad but it made me feel so much better to be back at school because I realized were more than just teachers and students. We’re really humans that care about each other. To see the beautiful artwork on the cards but then also just to feel all the love was absolutely amazing!”


  1. How long have you been teaching?

“At Park Ridge High School I’ve been teaching 5 years. But I started teaching preschool art when I was in college.”


  1. What do you like to do in your free time?

In my free time, I like to bake, play with my dogs, and go on hikes with my dogs. I like to do gardening, so I have a little garden in the back and I grow all kinds of vegetables and things and then, of course, I like to paint and practice my photography as well. I have a little pottery studio in my basement so I like to go on my pottery wheel.”


  1. What are you looking forward to most in this 2019/2020 school year?

“I think just seeing what my students are capable of. Every year is different even though I do similar projects usually from year to year. Just seeing what happens each year and how my students are inspired in different ways.”