Custom Class: post-landing-hero

Diane Guido: A Legacy of Resilient Kids

In her more than 30 years of teaching at Rowland Hall, Diane Guido wanted all of her students to know that life is not always easy and that sometimes, even if they try their best, they will fail.

She also wanted them to know that both these things are okay.

Diane first came to the Upper School in 1993 as the emotional support counselor. Later, she also took on teaching Advanced Placement Psychology. In both roles, she made it her goal to help students become more resilient and independent. She did it by letting them know she wouldn’t coddle them and expected them to push themselves.

“People today tend to look at failures as catastrophic and I want them to understand that that’s not the case,” she said. “Pick yourself up and move on. ​​As long as you are striving, it’s not a failure, and it shouldn’t knock you down forever.”

Diane had high expectations for her students, partly because AP Psychology is not an easy class. There is a ton of material to cover in a relatively short time. The class covers a variety of subject matter, from neurology to anatomy to biology and chemistry. Diane also added to the rigor of the course because she didn’t want the students to simply get a good grade—she wanted them to remember this information for years to come.

“She made you want to learn more about the topic. She’s one of the big reasons I became so interested in medicine and the human body,” said former student Dr. Maryanne Wallace ’02. “She wanted you to gain an understanding and not just memorize what was needed to pass the AP exam.”

While preparing students to pass the AP Psychology exam wasn’t Diane’s main objective, every year the vast majority of her students did so—most with the highest score available on an AP test. The College Board once recognized Diane as being among the best AP Psychology teachers in the nation based on the number of students she taught who aced the exam.

While preparing students to pass the exam wasn’t Diane’s main objective, every year the vast majority of her students did so—most with the highest score available on an AP test. The College Board, which manages the AP testing program, once recognized Diane as being among the best AP Psychology teachers in the nation based on the number of students she taught who aced the exam. Still, Diane didn’t rest on her laurels.

“I remember her sitting out of the exams, this little bundle of nervous energy, wanting to know how we did, and what we may not have been fully able to understand so she could go back and teach it better,” said Maryanne.

When you talk about a difficult class with a demanding teacher, you may think that only some students wanted to take it. That wasn’t the case with AP Psychology. Every year, students clamored to get a spot in the class, and it was all because of Diane. “Even though the course is an elective, you’d think it was required for seniors,” said Upper School Principal Ingrid Gustavson. “Diane is an institution unto herself. Her three sections of AP Psychology perennially overflowed.”

Diane had a rapt audience in her classroom due to her ability to impart knowledge with a sense of humor and a genuine interest in the subject matter—even after decades of teaching it. She also let every student know what she expected of them and that they were capable of doing it.

Rowland Hall AP Psychology teacher Diane Guido in 2000.

Diane in her classroom circa 2000.


“It wasn’t an easy class, but she made the subject matter accessible and digestible for her students. I never felt like I couldn’t pick up what was happening,” said Grace Riter ’18. “Her way of presenting the material was really clear, and she would always delineate exactly what she wanted from us.”

Diane’s former students still remember the lessons taught in her classroom, no matter how much time has passed. “The Stanford prison experiment, the Skinner box … I still remember all of it,” said Chris Von Maack ’97, a member of the Rowland Hall Board of Trustees. “I know exactly what those things are because of Guido’s class.”

Former student Jeanna Ryan ’01 thinks of Diane whenever she watches The Bachelor. She knows which contestants will get a rose based on the intensity of the dates they partake in. “She taught us about experiments where people rated each other’s attractiveness based on situations. When endorphins are high you rate people as more attractive,” said Jeanna. “So, when watching the show, I would think that people who jump off buildings together are more likely to get a rose.”

The students in Diane’s AP class weren’t the only ones to benefit from her special brand of guidance and support. Diane was always the most requested prom chaperone. When she was asked to give the senior talk she handed out bracelets reading WWDWMTD (What Would Diane Want Me to Do?). In all her years at Rowland Hall, Diane’s message was clear: I am here for you, but I will tell you the truth even if you don’t want to hear it.

She knew that feeling competent and independent motivates students. Diane’s fundamental strength as an educator is that she knows teenagers can do hard things.—Ryan Hoglund, director of community engagement and impact

“She impacted for the better a lot of kids’ lives and built trusting and caring relationships, but kids also knew that she was no-nonsense,” said former Upper School Principal Lee Thomsen. “She could be the person who called you out, but also who you trusted with your life.”

Diane wanted kids not only to have academic skills, but life skills. She was shocked when she learned how many of her students had never done their own laundry or didn’t how to check the oil in their cars. This led to her create an Interim course where she taught basic sewing skills, cooking, car maintenance, budgeting, and housekeeping. They weren’t big lessons, but to learn them the students had to leave their comfort zones and try something new.

“Common sense is something we don’t pay enough attention to,” said Diane. “I wanted these kids to learn that they can be book smart but also know that they don’t have to change their shirt if they lose a button. They can just sew it back on.”

Rowland Hall AP Psychology teacher Diane Guido with alumni in 2008.

Diane at an alumni event in 2008.


“That Interim was quintessential Diane,” said Ryan Hoglund, director of community engagement and impact. “She was having fun with the students, but also showing them that avoiding something they can’t do or don’t want to do isn’t an option. Soon, they were having a great time doing mundane things because she knew that feeling competent and independent motivates students. Diane’s fundamental strength as an educator is that she knows teenagers can do hard things.”

The spirit of joy Diane embodies is why her former students think fondly of her and why many of them still keep in touch with her years after graduation. Now that Diane is retiring, Maryanne is hoping to finally convince her to come to Australia for a visit.

I don’t think she will ever appreciate what she has been able to provide in my life in terms of gaining a bigger understanding of the world.—Dr. Maryanne Wallace, class of 2002

“She’s been a big part of my life, even after Rowland Hall,” she said. “I don’t think she will ever appreciate what she has been able to provide in my life in terms of gaining a bigger understanding of the world.”

Grace was fortunate to experience Diane not only as a teacher but a colleague after she began teaching dance at Rowland Hall. “I think it’s hard for my past teachers to see me as a colleague and not a kid, but Diane has done an awesome job of making me feel welcome and like an equal,” she said. “She has made me feel like I deserve to be respected in the space.”

Diane’s ongoing relationships stem from her deep appreciation for her students. While she is looking forward to having more free time and less stress in her life in retirement, she will miss the endless antics of the kids.

“I love teaching high school students and I find them to be absolutely hilarious,” she said. “Some of the things they come up with just blow me away. When I get to school and start interacting with them I am so glad I am here.”

Thank you, Diane. Rowland Hall is glad you were here too.


Editor's note: Please review this year's Fond Farewells for a full list of departing faculty and staff.

People

Diane Guido: A Legacy of Resilient Kids

In her more than 30 years of teaching at Rowland Hall, Diane Guido wanted all of her students to know that life is not always easy and that sometimes, even if they try their best, they will fail.

She also wanted them to know that both these things are okay.

Diane first came to the Upper School in 1993 as the emotional support counselor. Later, she also took on teaching Advanced Placement Psychology. In both roles, she made it her goal to help students become more resilient and independent. She did it by letting them know she wouldn’t coddle them and expected them to push themselves.

“People today tend to look at failures as catastrophic and I want them to understand that that’s not the case,” she said. “Pick yourself up and move on. ​​As long as you are striving, it’s not a failure, and it shouldn’t knock you down forever.”

Diane had high expectations for her students, partly because AP Psychology is not an easy class. There is a ton of material to cover in a relatively short time. The class covers a variety of subject matter, from neurology to anatomy to biology and chemistry. Diane also added to the rigor of the course because she didn’t want the students to simply get a good grade—she wanted them to remember this information for years to come.

“She made you want to learn more about the topic. She’s one of the big reasons I became so interested in medicine and the human body,” said former student Dr. Maryanne Wallace ’02. “She wanted you to gain an understanding and not just memorize what was needed to pass the AP exam.”

While preparing students to pass the AP Psychology exam wasn’t Diane’s main objective, every year the vast majority of her students did so—most with the highest score available on an AP test. The College Board once recognized Diane as being among the best AP Psychology teachers in the nation based on the number of students she taught who aced the exam.

While preparing students to pass the exam wasn’t Diane’s main objective, every year the vast majority of her students did so—most with the highest score available on an AP test. The College Board, which manages the AP testing program, once recognized Diane as being among the best AP Psychology teachers in the nation based on the number of students she taught who aced the exam. Still, Diane didn’t rest on her laurels.

“I remember her sitting out of the exams, this little bundle of nervous energy, wanting to know how we did, and what we may not have been fully able to understand so she could go back and teach it better,” said Maryanne.

When you talk about a difficult class with a demanding teacher, you may think that only some students wanted to take it. That wasn’t the case with AP Psychology. Every year, students clamored to get a spot in the class, and it was all because of Diane. “Even though the course is an elective, you’d think it was required for seniors,” said Upper School Principal Ingrid Gustavson. “Diane is an institution unto herself. Her three sections of AP Psychology perennially overflowed.”

Diane had a rapt audience in her classroom due to her ability to impart knowledge with a sense of humor and a genuine interest in the subject matter—even after decades of teaching it. She also let every student know what she expected of them and that they were capable of doing it.

Rowland Hall AP Psychology teacher Diane Guido in 2000.

Diane in her classroom circa 2000.


“It wasn’t an easy class, but she made the subject matter accessible and digestible for her students. I never felt like I couldn’t pick up what was happening,” said Grace Riter ’18. “Her way of presenting the material was really clear, and she would always delineate exactly what she wanted from us.”

Diane’s former students still remember the lessons taught in her classroom, no matter how much time has passed. “The Stanford prison experiment, the Skinner box … I still remember all of it,” said Chris Von Maack ’97, a member of the Rowland Hall Board of Trustees. “I know exactly what those things are because of Guido’s class.”

Former student Jeanna Ryan ’01 thinks of Diane whenever she watches The Bachelor. She knows which contestants will get a rose based on the intensity of the dates they partake in. “She taught us about experiments where people rated each other’s attractiveness based on situations. When endorphins are high you rate people as more attractive,” said Jeanna. “So, when watching the show, I would think that people who jump off buildings together are more likely to get a rose.”

The students in Diane’s AP class weren’t the only ones to benefit from her special brand of guidance and support. Diane was always the most requested prom chaperone. When she was asked to give the senior talk she handed out bracelets reading WWDWMTD (What Would Diane Want Me to Do?). In all her years at Rowland Hall, Diane’s message was clear: I am here for you, but I will tell you the truth even if you don’t want to hear it.

She knew that feeling competent and independent motivates students. Diane’s fundamental strength as an educator is that she knows teenagers can do hard things.—Ryan Hoglund, director of community engagement and impact

“She impacted for the better a lot of kids’ lives and built trusting and caring relationships, but kids also knew that she was no-nonsense,” said former Upper School Principal Lee Thomsen. “She could be the person who called you out, but also who you trusted with your life.”

Diane wanted kids not only to have academic skills, but life skills. She was shocked when she learned how many of her students had never done their own laundry or didn’t how to check the oil in their cars. This led to her create an Interim course where she taught basic sewing skills, cooking, car maintenance, budgeting, and housekeeping. They weren’t big lessons, but to learn them the students had to leave their comfort zones and try something new.

“Common sense is something we don’t pay enough attention to,” said Diane. “I wanted these kids to learn that they can be book smart but also know that they don’t have to change their shirt if they lose a button. They can just sew it back on.”

Rowland Hall AP Psychology teacher Diane Guido with alumni in 2008.

Diane at an alumni event in 2008.


“That Interim was quintessential Diane,” said Ryan Hoglund, director of community engagement and impact. “She was having fun with the students, but also showing them that avoiding something they can’t do or don’t want to do isn’t an option. Soon, they were having a great time doing mundane things because she knew that feeling competent and independent motivates students. Diane’s fundamental strength as an educator is that she knows teenagers can do hard things.”

The spirit of joy Diane embodies is why her former students think fondly of her and why many of them still keep in touch with her years after graduation. Now that Diane is retiring, Maryanne is hoping to finally convince her to come to Australia for a visit.

I don’t think she will ever appreciate what she has been able to provide in my life in terms of gaining a bigger understanding of the world.—Dr. Maryanne Wallace, class of 2002

“She’s been a big part of my life, even after Rowland Hall,” she said. “I don’t think she will ever appreciate what she has been able to provide in my life in terms of gaining a bigger understanding of the world.”

Grace was fortunate to experience Diane not only as a teacher but a colleague after she began teaching dance at Rowland Hall. “I think it’s hard for my past teachers to see me as a colleague and not a kid, but Diane has done an awesome job of making me feel welcome and like an equal,” she said. “She has made me feel like I deserve to be respected in the space.”

Diane’s ongoing relationships stem from her deep appreciation for her students. While she is looking forward to having more free time and less stress in her life in retirement, she will miss the endless antics of the kids.

“I love teaching high school students and I find them to be absolutely hilarious,” she said. “Some of the things they come up with just blow me away. When I get to school and start interacting with them I am so glad I am here.”

Thank you, Diane. Rowland Hall is glad you were here too.


Editor's note: Please review this year's Fond Farewells for a full list of departing faculty and staff.

People

Explore Our Most Recent Stories

You Belong at Rowland Hall