Welcome new social studies teacher Mr. Bard


Kylie Tanimura

Mr. Bard is one of 11 new teachers at Kalani this year. He joins the social studies department, teaching Participation in Democracy and Modern Hawaiian History.

Kylie Tanimura and Ami Yamane

Adding another Falcon to the nest, Kalani High School welcomes new Modern History of Hawaii and Participation in Democracy teacher Curtis Bard. A person with many hobbies, Mr. Bard enjoys playing the piano and singing, computer programming, 3D modeling, and computer art. 

During his work search, someone suggested he try substitute teaching. He found it a good gig with easy hours and scheduling. The longer he taught, he said, he discovered that he truly enjoyed teaching. In his mid-20s, he was teaching in a rougher neighborhood, so students were looking for guidance in life. 

“It felt meaningful because I was touching lives,” Bard says. “Especially with kids growing up in those tougher circumstances.”

Looking back at his alma mater, Hanover College, he appreciates their discussion-based teaching method. He says that most people who graduate from Hanover also feel like they have grown intellectually because of this method. Every class was small— usually 10 to 15 students—and the students would put claims out and test each other’s ideas with counterclaims. Bard explained that he tries to model that in his own teaching and encourages his students to talk to each other. 

“It’s kind of like self-discovery where the student is figuring things out and discovering themselves instead of someone telling them whether it’s the truth,” Bard says. “They have to wrestle with the idea by arguing.”

Engaging with his students raises the questions that make them go, “What? That’s a weird question.”

He says he often contemplates the universe and thinking about these kinds of deep questions with students makes his experience ten times more enjoyable. He says it also helps him connect with his students.

“Your mind kind of starts to hurt in his class but in a good way,” Aliyah Shklov (11) says. “He contemplates a lot of things that you think are normal, but when he says it, you’re like ‘oh nevermind. My perception of reality has totally changed’.”

Bard says fitting in at Kalani has been easy because of the “gracious and decent” teachers. He explains that he is impressed with how far they go to accommodate and welcome him, especially within his freshman house: Lau Lima. He recognizes Mrs. Young-Chan, Mr. Suenobu, and Mr. Young for the humility and kindness they have shown him. 

“One thing I want to convey is that it’s been a pleasure so far,” Bard says. “The teachers especially, I have been kind of amazed at how kind they have been. Students have interesting things to say, well behaved, so the community has just been fantastic. I have really enjoyed it here so far.”