Granite Bay Today

Commentary: Teachers have a strong influence on students

How attending a school with high expectations led me to my current passion

Andrew+Yung
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Commentary: Teachers have a strong influence on students

Andrew Yung

Andrew Yung

Gazette/GBT.org staff photo

Andrew Yung

Gazette/GBT.org staff photo

Gazette/GBT.org staff photo

Andrew Yung

Andrew Yung, co-editor-in-chief

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  It is not wrong to say that it was not me, but my fifth grade teacher – Mrs. Sellitti – who determined my career.

  I went to Cold Spring Elementary School in Maryland, a gifted and talented school, and unfortunately I was neither the former nor the latter.

  As a result, ever since I first stepped foot onto that campus in the fourth grade – when I got accepted into the school – I always felt as though my peers were smarter and more successful in every way.

  While I was competitively swimming for my local swim team, I had several classmates who were Junior Olympian swimmers. It also didn’t help that I couldn’t really feel accomplished about anything. For instance, me taking math that was four grade levels higher paled in comparison when I looked around at a handful of my classmates who were already taking Pre-Calculus.

  All of this added up to a very strenuous first year. As I tried to adapt to the new school and the increased intellect and competition from my classmates, I felt very discouraged. Everyday I was working as hard as I could while everyone else seemed like they were coasting through school, yet they still were getting the better grades.

  And so, I started doubting myself. I started doubting my abilities and pretending I was okay with being sub-par.

  But I wasn’t. I felt like I was in a never-ending cycle of failure, and so I grew to dislike school in general – which I had loved since the first day of kindergarten.

  The only thing that I had going for me was that I was able to make friendships with a lot of new people.

  However, the situation got worse early on in fifth grade.

  As I continued to not feel at home at my new school, it got worse when my best friend moved away during the middle of the year.

  Even though I had made many friends, she was really the only one I was close to, so when she left I felt like I couldn’t confide in anyone anymore.

  I became passive and stopped talking in class, even though I used to be that kid who raised my hand all the time.

  And though I did not know it at the time, I believe my English teacher, Mrs. Sellitti, started taking notice.

  After a couple weeks of being more reserved, Mrs. Sellitti began personally calling me over to her desk and complimenting how I was doing in the class, telling me I was a good writer, and that I should keep pursuing it as I got older.

  Initially, I figured she was only being nice, but when spring rolled around and our class put on the school play, the kindness continued.

  Up until that point, I had never acted or even performed much at all. But when auditions came up, Mrs. Sellitti encouraged me to try out.

  Eventually, I succumbed to teacher pressure and got a small speaking role. But then she pushed me further, encouraging me to help set up props, videotape, sing, and other helping tasks. I ended up with seven different jobs, which was the most out of anyone in the class.

  And though it was my first theatrical experience, being so involved and getting to see all the work pay off by the end of the year made me realize that I enjoyed theater, enjoyed performing, and, well, enjoyed presenting my more artistic side.

 Because that is truly the beauty of what teachers are able to do: they encourage, they inspire, they pull out the best in a student.”

  Ultimately, it led me to continue pursuing my artistic endeavors, as I still am heavily involved in the arts and plan to do so in my profession.

  However, though I already possessed all of these attributes inside me, they were not fully realized until Mrs. Sellitti inspired me to find them.

  Because, just as my beloved fifth grade teacher did, that is truly the beauty of what teachers are able to do: they encourage, they inspire, they pull out the best in a student.

 

About the Writer
Andrew Yung, Co-editor-in-chief

Andrew is a senior, and he is one of five co-editors-in-chief of the Gazette/GraniteBayToday.org for 2018-19. This is his third year on the staff.

 

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