A Rant about School, Studying, and Asian Parenting

school-detentionSo at the moment. I’m studying for a test known here in the state of California as the Reading Instruction Competence Assessment, aka the RICA. And by god it is driving me up the wall!

Doing things like these nowadays only reinforce just how much I didn’t do well in school. Growing up I didn’t have any avenue(s) of expressing myself – most notably avenues that were not academic in nature.

In addition, these avenues were frowned upon and were subsequently prohibited by the parentals. These included sports of any kind. You can say I was the oddball of the family.

It’s ironic at the moment since I’m writing about how much I hate school and studying when I should be studying for a test that will enable to teach middle school and high school. In fact the papers that I’m studying for are right next to me.

Fuck it, here it goes:

~

You can say I was one of the “oddballs” in school; a moniker made even more “shameful” – according to some of my relatives – that I was born in an Asian family. For those of you who are only vaguely familiar with what I’m referring to, let me entertain you:

The stereotype of children that grew up in families that came from countries in Asia (China, Korea, Japan, Philippines, Vietnam, etc.) is that we are studious, well-mannered, polite (particularly to our elders in whatever form), high performing in school, and well…basically the “A” students.

I was none of that. In fact, I’m somewhat happy to say I wasn’t one of those.

At best I got mediocre grades, I was quite un-involved in school. Except for the few years that I was on the yearbook and newspaper staff in high school and college respectively, I was relatively disinterested in succeeding in school.

There are other factors in hand that perpetuated my behavior during my schooling years (k-college), but for now I’ll kept those details to myself – too much at the moment.

But the point is that, I was never a great academic student. Unfortunately I was unable to take advantage of my strength(s) until only recently. I guess that’s one of the drawbacks of the “Asian” system (as detailed in this book by Yale professor Amy Chua). A lot of emphasis on academics yet leaving very little – if any – room for anything else. Although this parenting (and way of household life) breeds stellar academic performance, it is often produces children riddled with:

  • Low self confidence (essential in aggressive encounters)
  • Poor interpersonal skills beyond familiar faces
  • Poor creative skills (internally and externally)
  • Social immaturity in some cases (I’m a good example of that)
  • …Among other things related to a child’s emotionally and personal growth

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How this subject went from how “school sucks” to Asian parenting I don’t know, but for me, the two topics are intertwined. I will admit though that despite having lived through this type of parenting, I was in general, subpar in the academic realm.

What are my views on school? It’s not for everyone. I remember my days in the teaching internship that I saw there were students who would have benefited from a more holistic education rather the pencil-and-paper. I remember in particular one student, riddled with the knowledge that he was ADD and was told that he was “stupid” and “useless” by his past teachers (as a result of his inattention), confessed to me that he listens to me because he thought I was “cool”. Unbeknownst to him, many of his ADD habits were the same as mine when I was in the 4th grade – giving me the tools to implementing a proper system of redirecting his attention and energy to what I was teaching. Unfortunately, this system went unnoticed by many of his teachers.

Pencil-and-paper education is only one way of finding one’s success in this world. At best it is only a tool; a required means to an end. It’s sad that many people get caught up and/or get lost/destroyed by the desk system (my terminology). With this knowledge in mind, I hope that my current strategies of creating my own success in my life will yield success beyond my wildest imagination!

~

As for actually studying this RICA…I don’t know, but hell, I might as well complete this. Now am I saying I’m lazy and can’t study? Of course not – and that’s certainly not an excuse for it. What I’m saying is that I’m only studying for this test so that I can get it over with so that I can find my true career instead of teaching.

Gah, time to study.

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