This is how it usually went in my home:
"Good job Kyle, you did well in most of your classes - BUT what happened in math?"
This happened pretty much every report card. I SUCK at math. At least I feel like I suck at math which means I hate doing math. The downward cycle of bad performance and a real distaste for numbers just got worse as time went on. But, it was always the class where I was spending the majority of my time.
I would come home and my dad would spend hours with me in front of a white board trying to help me understand formulas, equations and a bunch of other mathematical nonsense. My poor dad, his patience was practically saint-like. Imagine tutoring someone EVERY night and seeing them come home regularly with C's.
He tried so hard and I accomplished so little. (sorry dad!)
While I slaved away trying to figure out all of the numbers, the classes I was strong in weren't getting any real attention because I could make it through those classes without much effort. This is the story of practically every student.
Do as little as possible in your strong subjects because you know you can get A's and spend the majority of your time focused on your weakest subjects. The only problem with spending most of your time patching the holes in your weakest areas is that you neglect to turn your natural talents into some truly powerhouse strengths.
Sure, we need to definitely do some damage control in areas of our lives where the weaknesses are having a detrimental impact on our well being. (Failing a class prevents you form moving on, so you need to fix that) But as I sit here right now I can honestly say that my lack of calculus knowledge has had ZERO negative impact on my current accomplishments. Boy, it would've been great if I could've focused more on improving my writing skills and instead of blankly staring at a white board filled with numbers.
We each have different strengths. As a society why are we so intent on creating cookie cutter kids? Why does every child need to know Calculus? Why does every child need to understand chemistry? Yes, I'm sure there are those of you out there that believe that it is important to be well rounded. Agreed. But why must I be well rounded in EVERYTHING? If math isn't my thing, don't force me to take 4 years of classes that I know I hate and will struggle through. Instead, let me hone the skills I was blessed with a natural inclination towards so that I can truly dominate the marketplace when I finally graduate.
Ok, I think I can step off the soapbox now. Thanks for indulging me.
The next time your kid comes home with a report card, it just might be worth spending a few more minutes on the A's and B's to see how you can help your child really exploit their natural strengths.
Do you like the current education model where all kids (even college kids) are required to take certain classes every single year?
Photo credit: Barnaby Wasson