Geri Garrick: Education as the key to change lives
Updated: Jan 13
Geri Garrick, a math teacher at Oroville Adult Education Center, truly believes that education has the power to change lives. Nurturing her students’ confidence and building them up is a central focus of her work, and as an educator, she is an inspiration.
Geri Garrick, now in her 11th year teaching, decided to pursue a career in education following a stint in the military. After completing the ‘Troops to teachers’ program and attaining her teaching credentials, she started on the path of teaching and hasn’t looked back since.
Geri teaches math to an adult population, many of whom were unable to complete their high school education, which is why she believes nurturing a mindset of perseverance in her students is vital.
She understands the stigma around educational struggles and highlights the importance of building up her students’ confidence and creating a safe environment where students are not afraid to ask questions or be inquisitive. One way Geri does this is through explaining to her students the neuroscience behind the brain and learning and the synaptic changes that occur when one learns something new. Geri tells her students that they have the ability to grow and learn new things regardless of their age.
For Geri, making math as ‘real world’ as possible is a way of ensuring that it’s truly accessible. Outlining how math is present in day-to-day life and the ways in which it is foundational to so many other subjects ensures that students apply analytical and critical thinking to math problems.
When speaking to Geri about teaching, her joy and excitement are contagious, and for her, the highlight of teaching math is the rush she experiences when she witnesses a student click and understand something which has challenged them. “Education can make such a difference to a person, the way they perceive themselves, and their lives. It can show people that there are options for them. Education is the key to everything. It can be a way out.” Geri, herself, didn’t complete her high school education and graduated from adult education, something which she shares with students as a source of inspiration.