Funny how I’m suddenly feeling anxious about school when it’s currently school holidays. Ironic, even.
Growing up, I’m sure many can relate, but I was raised in a family where it was tradition and culture to ‘respect your elders’. I would always bow my head in greeting whenever there were family gatherings, and I would always be polite with them regardless of my personal views.
Because of that, I never grew close or “friendly” with any of my relatives. I never talked about random topics like I would with my friends, or joked and laughed with them. My conversations with them 90% of the time consisted of:
Relative: How are your grades going?
Me: Good, thank you.
This was never really a problem for me until I got to around year 8, where there was almost an expectation that teachers or adults would like you if you were friendly and sociable with them. Like friends basically.
For a while, that took me a really long time to wrap my head around, especially in school. I always saw school like a workplace; the teachers are the boss, and if you misbehave, that’s disrespecting your higher-ups and you’re not in that position of power to act that way.
I guess that’s why teachers never really liked me. Sure, my grades were pretty good (at my old school), but I was never friendly towards them. I only answered questions when they asked me and somehow I managed to build a reputation that I didn’t give two craps about my grades in class.
This also correlates to the one thing teachers ALWAYS tell me at parent teacher interviews. Schools usually tell you to save at least 10 minutes in between each interview with a teacher since the interview can vary in time frame, depending on how much your teacher needs to say about you.
My longest interview ever probably went to around 8 minutes, where my old school’s French teacher talked about herself for 5 minutes straight. But anyways, back to the point.
I can’t remember the last time a teacher has said something else to me other than:
Teacher: Your daughter is quiet, she should put her hand up more in class. She should ask more questions.
Nothing else. Not about my grades, attitude, just that. Half of the teachers also forget who I am considering I’m that one kid that sits to the side with a friend or two and says nothing unless required to. And I get where they’re coming from in that sense; if I care about my education, I’ll ask, right?
It took me a seriously long time to muster up the courage to start asking questions in class this year. All throughout my time at school, I’ve either repressed anything I don’t understand, self-learned (which I’m terrible at) or completely relied on tutoring (which was basically at institutions where they gave you work and left you to work it out yourself).
It’s seems petty but asking questions seemed like such a big deal to me. I didn’t understand how people naturally did it after class and formed a strong student-teacher relationship. It was strange seeing other students being so friendly with their teachers.
So then we get to this year (aka year 11), and after receiving the same advice for over 8 years, I finally decided to implement it. This was especially because I was taking two year 12 classes and I wanted to know what I was learning inside out. Good mindset, right? I guess you could say that. Except I didn’t really think of the personal consequences for me, considering a) I get extremely socially anxious around teachers, and b) I pretty much have never asked questions during class in my life (wow I’m dramatic).
That being said, I don’t ask questions in all my classes. No, no. I’m still a hermit in over half my classes, and both my English and Maths teachers have to look around and see who I am whenever they tick my name off the roll.
I’m mainly doing it my Biology class. I know I’ve already talked about this class probably over 3 times already, but it always comes back throwing anxiety in the face.
Since it’s one of my only year 12 classes, I’ve been trying to ask as many questions as I can, to understand the content as opposed to simply memorising it. Not only I’m asking my teacher, I’m asking online forums and my tutors too.
(Wow it took me this many words to get to my point, I sincerely apologise)
I don’t think it ever occurred to me until now how dumb or unrelated my questions could be. This morning, I got a few answers from my questions on an online forum, and one user said I could easily work out some of the questions myself.
They definitely didn’t state it in a rude way or anything and they weren’t wrong but that seeing that suddenly made me extremely anxious. It reminded me of all the times I felt dumb and stupid asking questions that my teacher didn’t even understand what I was asking, and all the times I asked questions that were unrelated to the school curriculum.
I just, I don’t know. I feel like there’s certain questions that are right to ask, and then my questions are either really dumb and obvious or they’re not related and I just feel really stupid? One of the questions I asked was why root cells don’t undergo photosynthesis because I was getting confused of what photosynthesis really was and how it was applicable to real life, and for some reason my brain told me roots were the trunks of trees? I don’t even know.
I don’t know, maybe I’m just getting way too frazzled and panicked. I guess Biology gets technical to the point where I’m wondering about the very basics and how anything I’m learning is related to anything. I’d always thought learning lots of content and memorisation was a strong point, but I guess not if I forget what roots and energy even are.
That aside, I guess the rest of my holidays have been alright. I haven’t really done much besides doing holiday homework (aka catching up on 4 chapters of Chem) and obsessing over Voltron. I was always a fan of Voltron but I never really became trapped in the fandom until recently (but not the discourse or drama side of the fandom), hence the amount of fanfics I’ve been reading has increased.
Anyways, I hope everyone’s been doing well and has had a great week, and I will see you all soon!