On the Other Side of the Educational Fence
We are near the halfway mark of the school year, with just a few more days to go until the end of the second quarter/first semester. For my stepson things are going as usual, he’s just trying to maintain the average to keep his father off his back and to stay on the sports team (this season it’s wrestling). But for my daughter it’s different. This halfway mark also signals her near end of her childhood school days. A few months ago she was worried about getting out her college applications and now she’s waiting to see where she got in and who is going to give her enough money so she won’t have to sell her soul to the devil (in this case the college loan officers).
The one school she is still waiting to hear from is the one she is the most worried about. Her grades are high, but not as high as she would have preferred. Now she is wondering if she did enough to get in or if she is on a waitlist.I am wondering, too.
I am wondering if I should have been a bit stricter with her, encouraged her to watch less TV, read more of the “right” books, and became a drill sergeant in facts. Perhaps if I had pushed more her middling 3.2 to 3.5 could have become a solid 4.0. Maybe if I had put my foot on her neck a bit more I could have strong armed her into more Honors classes and she could have achieved the 4.2-4.5 GPA I dreamed of.
It’s the worry of a lot of American parents, have I done everything I possibly can to give my child an edge? Not just here in the states but in a global job market. For years we have looked to Japan as our educational nemesis.
Well, it seems as if Japan now has someone to look up to with a bit of irritation.According to a January 2 New York Times article, parents in Japan are obsessed with getting their children an Indian education. They are buying books with tips on how Indians raise their children and they are trying to enroll their offspring into International Indian schools. After years of feeling a bit superior to other Asian nations, Japan is now feeling a bit insecure with China and India now looming as regional superpowers. But, the odd thing to me is India seems to be doing with a lot of critics here accuse Japan of doing, taking the fun and feeling out of learning. The article alludes to Indians using the drill and kill methods of learning by putting “an emphasis on memorization and cramming, and a focus on the basics, particularly in math and science.” I’m for encouraging children to develop of love of math and science, but true interest come about by constantly inundating the child with the information?
But then maybe I’m not the right person to ask since I’ve been prepping my daughter for a career in science since she learned to walk by reading to her baby science books and buying her a toddler microscope. And it has kind of worked since her field of study in college will be mechanical engineering, which oddly enough is a field dominated by a lot of foreign born Asians.
I’m still wondering if somewhere in there is a happy medium: a cross between an Asian outlook on education and the American style of learning. I guess that is something for my kids to figure out as they go off to college and have to compete in the real world.