Asians and Proctor? By Joanne Louie
Are Asians smart? How do Asians get such high test scores? What is it that makes us so clever? We Asians aren’t more clever or gifted than non-Asian students, it’s just that we were raised to give up part of our free time during school for additional time in our rooms or in the library studying. Our social life may not be as exciting or as tangled as others are at Proctor, but we’ve been brainwashed to aim for an ivy league college. Asian students come to Proctor with high academic expectations and Proctor holds great appeal to Asian students.
Nearly all Asian students at Proctor see
their parents as very conscious of their grades at school. One first year Chinese student observed, “But they just want me to live well and try my best. But I give high expectation to myself since I want to go to a great university”; this student is an example of having high college goals. Another example of a studious Asian student whose parents expect high grades replied, “If I have like ....85% of [on] some things ..... they will definitely ask why!? I don ' t care but my parents are watching me so .... yep I have to study.” Another difference that Asian students encounters here but not at schools at home, noted by Marti Adams, International Student Coordinator, “Students in Asian schools aren’t encouraged to voice their own opinion. What teachers say is like God’s honest truth.”
At Proctor, Duong Nguyen, a two year junior from Vietnam notes, “the most
important thing is .... we learn how to apply knowledge to real life.” Similarly, Nick Zhou, a Chinese freshman observed, “Proctor put[s] more attention on students self learning. Though learning from nature [might take a] longer time to study, it impresses [me]. And information is remembered compared to hurr[ied] learning in China.” Both students’ appreciation of Proctor’s education was also mentioned by Chris Bartlett, the Director of Admission, who noted, “Proctor... encourages student-teacher interaction and promotes critical thinking skills over rote memorization.” Adding to that, one of the reasons Chris thinks students from Asia come to America is because, “They want to gain some balance in their lives. The academic system in Asia is all about test results, competition and rankings
which require students to give up extracurricular pursuits while the American system is more about the entire experience of academics, arts, athletics and community.” I believe this is indeed true, the American system tends to create a well rounded school life for students versus the Asian schools system of only aiming for academics.
Furthermore, in most public schools in Asia,
class sizes may exceed fifty to sixty students. The fact that Proctor has a maximum of fifteen students per class gives every student a chance to voice their opinion. Even if students do not answer questions, most teachers can call on students to make them think critically. Teachers at Proctor care how well students achieve. Proctor encourages independent thinking more than schools in Asian countries. A new Chinese freshman commented, “I like to be free. I can decide what I will try.”
The environment of Proctor also plays a role in some Asian student’s interest in
Proctor, for instance Duong said, “Proctor has a lots of trees, therefore I choose Proctor right away.” Compared to Duong, some Asian students like me don’t enjoy the woods as much. According to Marti, some students from Asia have asked her where the night clubs were and Marti replied there weren’t any and for a while, the students believed Marti was hiding it from them. Moreover, some students struggled to survive the freezing winters such as Yun Kim from South Korea who graduated as a 4-year senior last year. He never adapted to the tough weather and went to Virginia for college.
Whether from harsh weather conditions to studying in the library, I believe most
students from Asia end up with a better experience compared to their former school. Also pointed out by Chris, Asian students at Proctor tend to have more respect for teachers, allowing the faculty to be very welcoming to Asian students in their classes. My two years at Proctor has given me broader choices and more freedom that prepares me for what I enjoy and will decide to pursue in life.