Joel Carter, a graduate of Jackson State University, teaches Physical Education at Akili Academy. A native New Orleanian, Carter graduated from McDonogh 35 Senior High School where he earned scholastic honors and a partial baseball scholarship for college. He volunteered for five summers with the New Orleans Recreation Department (NORD) as an assistant baseball coach. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Health and Physical Education, and he is in his first year as a teacher at Akili.
Carter said he was drawn to a career in education because of his desire to help the youth of New Orleans to realize their full potential. “I felt education was the best avenue whereby I would have an opportunity to mold young children into productive adults,” he said. “My favorite part of being an educator is being able to assume a role that allows me to make a substantial difference in a child’s life.”
When reflecting upon the most rewarding aspects of being a teacher, Carter said he enjoyed seeing scholars overcome struggles and flourish in the classroom. “The best part of teaching is witnessing a positive change in a student, especially when that student has struggled with some serious issues,” he said. “Conversely, my biggest challenge is the in-between process that students go through before they reach a satisfactory level of discipline and maturity.”
Although he has only been a full-time teacher for a few months at Akili, Carter said he has already learned important skills, such as flexibility and versatility. “As an enrichment teacher, we are granted the privilege of being able to work with every scholar in the school,” he said. “This causes you to become flexible and versatile because you have to vary your teaching approaches and methods so that they match each grade level in the school.”