Today people tell me that I am a bright, exuberant woman who is approachable, laser-focused, and ambitious. However, 18 years ago this same girl would have been sitting in second grade, being pushed towards school counselors to test for intelligence and attention deficits due to my demonstrated lack of interest in school. When I look back on my life, and at all the differences between myself as an adult versus a child, I think about the catalysts that enhanced my growth as a student and a human. I stop at Mr. Carmichael and the horrors of the supplemental education I was enrolled in.
The Teacher who Changed my Life
Mr. Carmichael was my 12th-grade literature teacher who I think about on numerous occasions. I fondly remember his bright smile and his relaxed classroom that was so qualitatively different than all the other classes I had that year. Despite teaching kids who cared much for finding shortcuts and little about Of Mice and Men, he found a way to personally touch each student in our class. He took time to get to know each person and made the classroom feel like a place to have fun with our academics.
He encouraged asking as many questions as we needed and brought about a feeling of collaboration that was unlike any other learning experience I’d ever had. Of all the teachers, professors, and tutors I’ve come across, Mr. Carmichael was the most influential because he changed my mindset about how to approach schoolwork. I speak for many when I say that having the privilege to study under a “Mr. Carmichael” puts you on a fundamentally different path of success because it awakens in you an innate human curiosity.
While Mr. Carmichael’s influence shaped my outlook towards the future, I can’t help but wonder where I would have been, had my encounter happened at an earlier age. If I was able to have a genuine connection with a teacher who could inspire and support in the way he did from a young age, I would have been unstoppable. My mind would have been kindled towards appreciating learning in a fundamentally different manner. I'll never know what I missed out on by taking educational shortcuts before Mr. Carmichael’s inspiration.
I Didn't Always Love to Learn
In my early elementary school years, there were few supplemental education programs that students could choose from. My parents, wishing only the best for me, enrolled me in a program that demanded repetition and stripped away the true joy of learning. Instead of fostering and encouraging curiosity, we were made to be machines that needed to be just slightly more efficient and accurate each time. We were trained in rooms so silent that you could hear a pin drop onto a carpeted floor, with maddening beige walls surrounding smile-less faces. I think about how the experience I had made me care less about school, and only about individual scores.
In the process of being “a well-oiled machine” I became less involved with my studies and consequently gave off the impression to my school teachers that there were some attention deficits impairing my learning when truthfully, being surrounded by people who didn’t make learning fun was squeezing the life out of my inner child.
If I had Genie Academy as a Kid
If I had a program like Genie Academy as a kid, it would have saved me years of hating school. Given that all the teachers I work with as positive, friendly, and inspiring people, I am confident that I would have been able to match with a teacher who could provide a genuine kindred connection. I would have been encouraged further to value learning as a source of fun; my curiosity, my confidence, and my character would have been positively impacted in the most unique manners. There are many “Mr. Carmichaels” here.
I would have made bonds with my classmates, would have learned to feel comfortable speaking aloud, and would have excelled academically and psychologically. While I couldn’t experience Genie Academy as a student, I’m so grateful to be able to do so as a teacher and provide a positive relationship to all our students.
If you're thinking of enrolling your child in Genie Academy, don't wait! Fostering a genuine love for learning at a young and prime age will mold your child into a successful adult who seizes life and accomplishes great things.
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-Ms. N, teacher at Genie Academy