Mayfair’s English and Yearbook Coordinator: G-Unit
Updated: Oct 7, 2021
This month will spotlight outstanding English and Yearbook teacher, Mr. Eastham. He has been working at Mayfair since 2004, for an exemplary 18 years!
He went to university for 8 years without knowing what he wanted to pursue as a career. Eastham attended University of Santa Barbera as an undergraduate 4 years, University of Southern California for grad school for 2 years, and then came back to receive his teaching credential which took 2 more years at California State Dominguez Hills after taking a small break from school, before finally receiving his English Degree at University of California, Irvine after 2 additional years later. That’s a total of 10 years of college! He serves as a great reminder that you don't need to have a clear plan of what you want to do or what you want to become in order to be successful.
He decided to become an English teacher because he has always enjoyed the subject. He never liked to read until he learned to love it in college and encourages students to try to find their own love for reading. He says, “I like talking about the different literature that we read and when the students get interested in something that they might not otherwise be interested in, that’s probably the best part of the job.”
In the process of earning his English degree at UCI, he met his wife who introduced him to Mayfair as she was previously an English teacher here. There was an opening for him to teach high school English to sophomores at Mayfair and he gladly accepted, even though he was teaching middle school at another school in Los Angeles Unified School District. He, surprisingly, almost quit teaching due to his horrible experience at the previous school he worked at where he taught middle school for 9 years, but this opportunity saved him. He and his wife were able to teach English together at Mayfair as Mr. and Mrs. Eastham until his wife got pregnant and decided to take a few years off of teaching to care for their kids. While his wife was taking time off of work, providing for two children did not come easily. In order to supply a good income for his family, he took on another period of teaching which happened to be the yearbook course that he has now been teaching for 8 years. He guided the middle school yearbook class at the previous school he taught at, and mentioned that it wasn’t his “jam.” But since he needed the extra money, he applied for the position and grew to enjoy it.
Outside of school, he enjoys playing golf and completing crossword puzzles, especially on Sunday mornings. His favorite book is the autobiography of Malcolm X. His friends call him a lot of funny nicknames because his first name is Garner. He calls his nicknames “G- fill-in-the-blank types of things,” for example, he’s been called G-Money, G-Man, and G-Unit, to name a few. He’s played the drums in multiple bands and still does with his friends. He is into music and enjoys going to live concerts, specifically those of his favorite band, KISS. He actually went to his very first concert in 1979 in 7th grade to see KISS perform live at the Forum.
When asked about teaching virtually last year, he expressed his difficulties with feeling alienated from the students as he states that he felt like he was, “talking to the screen a lot of time.” He is glad to be back on campus and see everybody's faces after having so many issues online.
Eastham advises students to not be afraid to speak up in class and participate. He says that “kids who engage in conversations get a lot more out of the class, they’re a lot more focused, the teachers a lot more likely to know who they are and that way if they have an issue or need extra time on an assignment. I’m more likely to work with somebody that I feel like I know.”
Lastly, he says that he plans to retire in 6-8 years after he has turned 60. He has worked extremely hard and he wants to be able to provide for his family. He and his wife plan to travel and visit national parks in their retirement years. He says that he looks forward to being able to sleep in, play golf, and complete all the crossword puzzles he wants.