ORLANDO, Fla. —  So how does an Orange County A+ Teacher motivate his students when he admits to being a horrible student himself when he was their age? Joshua Garrett says he just tells them the truth.

  • Joshua Garrett shared how his teachers didn't give up on him
  • He recalled how he received poor grades while in school
  • Discover more A+ teachers here

All eyes are on fifth grade instructor when he is teaching at Millennia Gardens Elementary School in Orlando where he is affectionately called "Mr. Josh."

During the school year, he was nominated as an A+ Teacher for his engaging teaching style and the way he connects with students.

"I appreciate them and all their unique ways. Some of them are extremely funny. Some of them have a million and one questions. They all have their own quirks," Garrett says.

Andrew Simpson is one of his students, who says, "He doesn't give you assessments, or tests after tests after tests after tests. Being in his class right now is like a dream come true."

Garrett says being authentic with his students at this age when they are transitioning to becoming teens is the key.

"I'm very open to my students. I was an ESE student. They all know I was a horrible 5th grade student," he adds.

However, two of Garrett's teachers refused to give up on him.

He says, "We'd done numerous different things, ways to get me to read and comprehend and somewhere in seventh grade it clicked." 

Garrett went from earning D's and F's to being an A and B honor roll student.

He enlisted in the Marines only to later go on to graduate from college with a business administration degree.

While in school, his teaching talents were recognized while working a part time job in an after-school program.

Garrett says, "I realized I have this knack of being really being able to relate to them."

His students like Marcus Williams say Garrett just gets it. 

"I think it's the way that he talks to us. He treats us like we're not 5 year olds," he said.

Student Isabella Sabater agrees, adding, "It's not dreadful like some classes are. He makes it actually fun but makes it to where we're still learning and remembering what he's teaching us."