Physics teacher Gauri Desai resigns


Physics teacher Gauri Desai had her last day of teaching on Friday, Jan. 19, after she told her class and administration she was resigning. Desai’s husband got a job in Ventura, prompting her family to move, Desai said.

This school year was Desai’s first at PHS, after taking a 12 year long hiatus from teaching to raise her kids. She taught one section of Physics, and had 10 students in her class, Desai said.

“I was ready to do full time, but this was a great way to jump back into teaching,” Desai said.

The week after winter break, Desai said she told the administration she would be moving and resigning. They were disinclined to let her leave but ultimately understood her tough situation.

“They were very understanding and said ‘Family first, family first,’” Desai said. That’s what I love about the people here. They understand.”

Desai said that she is reluctant to leave the Bay Area and Piedmont, but is also excited for her new adventure in life.

“I love the Bay Area; I grew up here.” Desai said. “This is home. But, I’ve always wanted to live by the beach, so I guess you can have it all, just not at the same time.”

Apart from leaving the Bay Area behind, Desai said she is extremely sad to leave her students.

“It’s really hard to resign as a teacher.” Desai said. “That’s the biggest heartbreaking thing about this. I was dreading telling my students on Wednesday.”

Junior Maeve Gilbert said she was as surprised as Desai was heartbroken when Desai told her class she would be moving.

“She said ‘Oh I have some news for you at the end of class’ and I was like ‘Oh maybe she got a dog’ and then she said “I’m moving,’” Gilbert said. “It was obvious she didn’t want to leave.”

Senior Eli Gutlaizer said he was just as shocked as Gilbert was when Desai announced her resignation.

“I was very surprised when she told us because she seemed very engaged in the class,” Gutlaizer said.

Desai said she does plan to come back to see her seniors graduate in the spring and does not actually move until summer so she will be around. But, even though she is not moving right now, the logistics keep her from teaching.

“I just can’t sell the house and do all this stuff and then still teach,” Desai said. “I couldn’t balance it all.”

Piedmont’s people are what Desai will miss most, she said, along with the gorgeous campus and the school itself.

“I miss the idea of being here for a long time and being part of the new building and working with the science department,” Desai said. “I’m going to miss everything.”

Gilbert will miss Desai’s passion for physics and teaching, she said.

“She was super enthusiastic about the class,” Gilbert said. “She wanted to be there which was kind of nice. She made an effort to do projects and stuff with us.”

Now, Honors Physics teacher Glen Melnik is teaching the class and probably will be for the rest of the year, Gilbert said.

“[Desai] really liked her job here and I don’t think she wanted to leave but she left us in good hands,” Gutlaizer said.