Diaries of A Struggling Student
The Challenges I Faced In School
I know what it’s like to be a struggling student. I struggled academically in middle school, high school, and parts of college. The Asian stereotype didn’t necessarily apply to me, it made me not want to ask questions in fear of feeling dumb.
I share with you my struggles in hopes that parents will dig a little deeper and explore what real challenges their children face when they are not doing well in school.
My Struggles in School
I grew up in a single parent household, my mom working day and night to support us, while I was with a caregiver. There were moments in elementary school when I did well and others when I struggled. Something that I commonly hear from parents, “My son did well last year, but this year he is doing so bad. He’s not trying this year.” There are many reasons why for some students, results vary year to year. In my experience, some teachers have the ability to make it easy to understand anything. And when you don’t understand, they are on it. They are strict and assess the student for comprehension. In this type of environment I did very well. On the contrary, if I was with a teacher where things just didn’t click, or the teacher didn’t follow me closely, I would not understand a topic and it just trickled like a domino effect from there. Not understanding a topic would then turn into failing classes I should have never been put in because I wasn’t even close to mastering the previous class. Learning for me, involved confidence to be motivated to continue to learn. If I didn’t understand something in which my peers did, it was embarrassing, so I never asked questions. So you see, as I mentioned above, a child not doing well in school can have so many factors.
Learning for me, involved confidence to be motivated to continue to learn.
Are You Listening?
I recall an incident during middle school. I had asked my uncle to help me with an Algebra problem. Instead of helping me and teaching me I was lectured. “You should have paid attention more, I told you to listen to what I was telling you” he said. Like my uncle, here is what many parents get wrong. It’s not that we don’t want to do well. Sometimes, and with certain individuals it takes a different approach. Not all students fit into the textbook way of learning. I was behind in math and was reaching out for help, but I wasn’t being heard.
Not all students fit into the textbook way of learning. I was behind in math and was reaching out for help, but I wasn’t being heard.
After not being heard and not getting the right help I began to struggle more. I found it easier to just be the student that didn’t do well, the one who disrupted class. My focus went to other things that in my mind were easier to succeed in. I lost confidence in myself. Once that happened and I entered high school, doing well academically was no longer my priority. I became more focused on popularity, which also led to depression. The feeling of not knowing who you are and where you belong is difficult to cope with, especially during adolescent years. All these things contributed to my struggles academically. To this day, I do not know how I graduated high school. I literally slept through my high school years.
Give Children Your Support and Encouragement
I encourage parents not to be too quick to blame, judge, or make assumptions. Please dig deeper, talk to your children, and investigate. Whatever you discover, lead with encouragement and not disappointment. Positive reinforcement is 100 times more effective than any negative criticism you can tell your child. Continue to support your children, and let them know you are there. Build their confidence so that they will not be afraid to make mistakes. It’s in these mistakes where they will be able to grow and learn.