- English Professor at Cal Poly since 1994
- Interactive teaching methods
- Loved by students for humor and kindness
- Goal for students is self-discover
- Former Jazzercise teacher
Annie Garner has been an English Professor at Cal Poly since 1994. The Cal Poly graduate also serves as a Faculty Associate for the Connections Learning Community program for the Sierra Madre and Yosemite dorms.
Garner is loved by her students for her interactive teaching methods as well as her compassion for the students. Students also remark on her humorous personality and relaxed demeanor.
Although Garner was born in Vermont, she spent the majority of her childhood in Europe. Due to her father’s job for Encyclopedia Britannica, she was constantly moving as a child. “When I was growing up I just went with the flow,” said Garner.
She went on to study French at universities in Sweden and France. Garner had 4 children before enrolling in a junior college at the age of 30. She then transferred to Cal Poly and received an M.A. in English in 1994.
Garner knew that she wanted to be a professor when she began studying at Cal Poly. “I knew I wanted to teach college-aged students instead of high school because I already had 4 kids, I didn’t want to babysit anymore,” said Garner.
Garner likes to keep students engaged by implementing interactive and original teaching methods. She believes that by keeping class interesting, students can absorb the information and retain it better.
“I have to teach logical fallacies and sometimes they can be deadly boring,” said Garner.
When a particularly interesting speaker is appearing at Chumash Theatre, Garner likes to take the class on spontaneous field trips to listen and then evaluate their speeches.
Games and prizes are also common in her classes. For one assignment Garner asks the students to write a short-story with a twist. The students then read aloud their stories and the class votes on which is the best, with the winner receiving Garner’s homemade brownies.
Garner says that she likes to relate funny stories about her life or kids to the class.Most student’s agree that Garner’s sense of humor keeps the class interesting. “It’s good for a teacher to be funny because it keeps students awake and therefore we learn more,” said sophomore Business major Ryan Barbosa.
Students love the effort that Garner makes to keep the classes both educational and entertaining. “She puts in a lot of effort into teaching. She works hard so we can do well,” said freshman Economics major Alex Watson.
Garner doesn’t put a lot of emphasis on grades because she believes that writing is always a work in progress. “I don’t want a student to get a ‘C’ on a paper and then think that they’re a ‘C’ writer,” she said.
Garner says that one of her goals in the beginning of the quarter is to learn her students’ names as quickly as possible.”I deeply care for them as human beings,” she said.
Students feel comfortable asking her for help because of her benevolent disposition. “She wants to help us and makes sure that she’s available if we need it,” said Watson.
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Garner says that her main goal for students is to gain confidence.
“It’s going to sound cheesy, but my ultimate purpose for students is self-discovery. On that journey I hope that they realize how incredibly wonderful and beautiful they each are,” said Garner.
When she isn’t teaching, Garner likes to write poems and take pictures. The former Jazzercise teacher also expressed her love of dancing. “I just tried Zumba last Thursday and I loved it,” said Garner.