I love the time of the year when grocery stores are stuffed with notebooks and crayons. When ads feature children in new backpacks, and when boxes of pencils greet you with, Welcome back. I always look forward to back-to-school shopping. Every year feels like, My Year. The year that I will stay organized and maintain good grades. It all starts with my new school supplies.
I love school but have always struggled. As a child, my teachers often disliked me for being lazy. I wasn`t exactly a good student. I struggled to keep up with my peers, regardless of how hard I worked. Occasionally, I would be recognized for my writing or poetry analysis. I even won a marketing management competition among thousands of other competitors. These honors motivated me. However, despite my strengths, I couldn`t get away from my below average reputation.
College was truly a fresh start. I still carried my reputation to some classes, but in others, I was a model student. I wanted to reflect that image in every class. So, I began spending most of my time in the tutoring centers, especially the math center.
Even after spending a lot of time with tutors, I wasn`t doing very well in math. However, I had hope because my midterm could save my grade. The math tutors were just as determined as I was, and we started studying months in advance. When I finally took the exam, I failed with a 30%. I had a complete meltdown. I didn`t understand how I could study harder than anyone in the class, read all the chapters, attend every lecture, get tutoring, go to office hours etc. and receive a 30%. After showing one of the tutors my exam, she recommended I be tested ADHD.
I really didn`t believe in ADHD, even after I was diagnosed. I thought it was an excuse for young children with behavioral issues. But, I wanted an explanation and needed help. So, I started medication.
My life changed significantly. Thinking back to my childhood, knowing what I know now, has brought me to tears more than once. I tried so hard to stop being lazy and show my teachers I was smart. ADHD is like driving through a rainstorm at night, without glasses. Starting medication is like putting glasses on, the sun coming out, and only needing to focus on the road. I wasn`t lazy at all. I was working extremely hard to even pretend I was paying attention.
Enduring the storm in my brain wasn`t easy. My elementary school teachers used to humiliate me as punishment. They wanted me to be embarrassed about struggling so that maybe I would try harder. I remember learning to read and making my mom so frustrated, she started hitting me with the book.
Now that I understand how a typical brain learns, know why people were so angry with me. At the time though, I was trying my best. I am proud of how resilient and determined I have been. Regardless of my bad experiences, I was still always excited for back-to-school shopping.
People that devote their lives to teaching have a wonderful opportunity. They are responsible for educating our future employers, employees, professionals and educators. Teaching children with difficulties learning is frustrating, but no child should be humiliated, put down and discouraged by an educator. Whether they receive a proper education or not these children are our future. Although I was able to keep my love for education, others have been robbed of theirs. This is not only harming the child, but our society as a whole.
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