How you were educated probably had a bigger wallop on your life than you realize. What was your schooling like? Were you taught critical thinking? How to be creative? How to form a business? How to communicate? How to play? How to learn with joy? Or were you taught about Jack and Jill running up a hill, a math class in neat boring rows with equally bored teachers, a way to regurgitate facts and then forget them as soon as the test was over, how to pass a fill in the bubble test?
The way you were educated also informed your sense of self-worth, what your possibilities for life were, and your capacity to achieve them. Many of our school systems are struggling to pass their students through the basic fundamentals. The failures of the U.S. educational system are now widely documented.
Some teachers have broken through the fray of mediocrity. Jamie Escalante of Los Angeles broke through barriers of what poor students in East L.A. could learn. He taught calculus to kids who were thought to only be capable of math basics. He was immortalized in the movie Stand and Deliver. Lean On Me was another movie that told the true story of Joe Clark, an African American principal who overcame great odds in New Jersey to turn around his failing school.
Robert Kiyosaki, of the Rich Dad Poor Dad book series, created the play money board game Cashflow. His goal is to get the game, which teaches how to invest and grow money, into the public school system.
If you were not seen for your talents, encouraged to pursue them, or given the help you needed and the mentors to guide you, you may have given up on what would bring you the fulfillment you desire. Have you considered going back to school? Getting a degree in something you actually care about this time? Getting your first degree? Being trained as a firefighter? Learning how to build a business? Many universities offer adult extension courses for the public. They also offer degrees that can be obtained by going to school one weekend a month to accommodate working people. A friend of mine went back to business school and now leads Omaze (omaze.com), a new kind of for profit business that combines raising money with charitable giving.
A Touch of Greatness is a wonderful documentary about Albert Cullum of New York who, after being bored himself as an elementary school teacher, decided to start using play as a form of teaching. His young students were given confidence by being challenged with Shakespeare and other great literature, using play as therapy, and feeling loved in the process. His students ended up becoming teachers, play writes, business leaders, doctors, historical preservationists—the list goes on. Did these early experiences in elementary school shape their careers? His students verdict—absolutely.
Take a look: