Are You Listening?
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. In fact, it made me not want to ask questions for fear of feeling dumb.
I share you my struggles in the hope that parents dig a little deeper and explore the real challenges their children face when they are not doing well in school.
It’s Not Your Fault
I grew up in a single parent household, my mom working day and night to support us. There were moments in elementary school when I did well, and moments when I did bad. Something that I commonly hear from parents is, “My son did well last year, but this year he is doing so bad.” In my experience, there are some teachers that make it easer for you to understand and others not so much. No matter how hard students are trying, sometimes they do not get what is being taught. That is the reality for some students like myself. I needed to learn in a way that made sense to me and built my confidence to be motivated to continue to learn. And beginning at a young age, if I didn’t get something and my peers did, it could be embarrassing.
Are you listening?
As I got through 6th grade and entered middle school, 7th grade began well, then things started getting difficult. I was getting by at times, but I was struggling and putting in a lot of effort just to maintain my grades. I remember one day asking my uncle to help me with an algebra question. But instead of helping me and teaching me, I got lectured. You should have paid attention more, I told you to listen to what I was telling you. 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. We have different minds and different ways of learning. For me, my math was not up to standard, I was behind, and in my own way I was reaching out for help, but I wasn’t being heard.
Losing my Purpose
After not being heard and 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 that disrupted class. My focus went to other things that were easier to succeed in. I lost my confidence in myself. Once that happened and I entered high school, doing well academically in school was no longer my priority. I became more focused on popularity, which is a dangerous purpose. It can lead to depression. I know this because I experienced it firsthand. The feeling of not knowing who you are and where you belong. For some students, it’s easy to be popular, but for others, based on their circumstances, it can be much more difficult. I was reaching out, calling for help, but not being heard.
I became more focused on popularity, which is a dangerous purpose. It can lead to depression. I know this because I experienced it firsthand.
To this day, I do not know how I graduated high school. I literally slept through my high school years, luckily to graduate. I implore parents to not to be too quick to blame, judge, or call your children lazy. Please dig deeper, talk to them, and investigate. Whatever you find out, please don’t express disappointment, but rather encouragement. The younger children are, the words of encouragement are 100 times more effective than any negative word you can tell your child. Continue to feed those words, reach out and let them know you are there. They will make mistakes, and if you encourage those mistakes as a great learning experience, you will build their confidence to continue to strive and learn.