In the story “I Just Wanna Be average” poetry, scholarly research, textbook, and book writer Mike Rose recounts his years in vocational track school. I agree with Rose’s views on teachers not valuing their students and them neglecting them as well. The sentence “I just want to be average” is what manifested this whole paper. Not an individual not a person at high standards but just average, Roses approach to this issue is very significant and formal. He fixates on this sentence because he then realizes that those in the vocational school were trying to be someone else instead of themselves. “Reject the confusion and frustration by openly defining yourself as the Common Joe” (Rose 3). The common joe was exactly what the students were trying to be. Rose uses his own experience of being placed into vocational school because of a test mix up. He talks about his frustration of not being valued as an individual.
He talks about his other classmates with great detail. His title came from his classmate Ken Harvey one day in religion class, he said the sentence that turned out to be one of the most memorable of the hundreds of thousands I heard in the Voc. Ed. Years. We were talking about the parable of the talents, about achievement, working hard, doing the best you can do, blah-blah-blah, when the teacher called on the restive Ken Harvey for an opinion. Ken thought about it, but just for a second and said (with studied, minimal affect), “I just wanna be average.” That woke me up. Average? Who want to be average? (Rose 3) Rose talks about how that sentence has stayed with him for years. “The vocational track, however, is most often a place for those who are just not making it, a dumping ground for the disaffected” (Rose 2). So throughout the whole story he tries to make it understandable of how that sentence connects with the education system and he does that by showing how the “disaffected” students are looked at.
As a matter of fact Rose was lucky enough to switch to college prep where he met Mr. MacFarland a teacher who was dedicated to teach his heart out. At first, we couldn’t believe this guy, thought he slept in his car. “But within no time, he had us so startled with work that we didn’t much worry about where he slept or if he slept at all. We wrote three or four essays a month. We read a book every two to three weeks, starting with the Iliad and ending up with Hemingway. He gave us a quiz on the reading every other day. He brought a prep school curriculum to Mercy High. (Rose 5) This quote shows how Rose was introduced to a class where he could not get by, by using one half of his brain. So instead of being average and thinking average he had to rise to another level. So he worked hard and he became hooked and interested in Mr. MacFarland teachings. Rose makes his point of how his teacher had impacted his life. What I enjoyed the most about Mike Rose story is his use of personal experiences to get his point across about the neglecting of students.
The main point and the situation both associate with each other very well because of the way the story is organized, which brings great quality to the story. I do feel as if Rose does not look at his fortune as something that he truly earned because he is very intelligent. I like how Rose expresses how the potential to reach high standards is up to the student but yet the teacher is the one there to enhance your understandings. When he uses the word average I feel like he uses it loosely as if he doesn’t use it with a complex meaning. I think when Rose is saying being average he is talking about blending in with those that are considered normal. He is pretty much saying that any and everyone can be average. I feel like being average is not important because everyone will live their lives according to how they feel comfortable.
Judgment has always been in the air and it will never go away. Instead of students trying to be average, teachers need to step up to the plate and serve as a key point in student’s educations. Teachers need to do what they are hired to do and they need to stop half doing their jobs. If a parent is not supportive in a child’s education than I believe that the teacher should be the child’s number 1 supporter. Instead of looking at some children as “disaffected” teachers should look at them as unique. I say that because every child deserves the chance and opportunity to earn an education. With or without great intelligence every student should be valued and treated fair. Rose’s story is very effective as it is, his encounters in life is a lesson well learned for him to pass on to others.
Rose, M. (1989). I Just Wanna Be Average. Mike Rose