I’ve been doing a lot of reading this summer, and trying not to spend so much time at the computer. I used to spend lots of time reading, but now I waste lots of time surfing the net, which makes me a little bit sad.
Anyway, I’m currently reading Polite Lies by Kyoko Mori, a Japanese woman who lived for a long time in the Midwest, which is the reverse of me – a Midwesterner living in Japan. This book was published ten years ago, and many things in Japan have changed since then. For example, I know of many adult women who don’t want to marry, and I know of middle-aged women who have gone back to college. But a lot of things ring true even now, and I find myself wanting to call up my friends and read passages out loud. In lieu of that, I’ll post a bit. Here’s what Ms. Mori wrote about school:
“No matter what the subject, our teachers never gave us very clear advice about how to do better. When I couldn’t understand long division or fractions and decimals in math, I felt bad at first. On the timed tests we had every day, I could finish only half the problems before the teacher’s stopwatch beeped, telling us to put down our pencils. The results were put up on the wall, and my name was always near the bottom. I was told to ‘try harder,’ but none of my teachers spent extra time with me to go over what I was doing wrong. Since I wasn’t given a real chance to improve, I decided after a while that I didn’t really care how I did.”
Reading this has made me feel better about my son’s recent math scores. He’s not doomed (as my husband thinks) after all! Kyoko Mori is now teaching at Harvard.