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Educational Autobiography

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Table of Contents:

Chapter 1: Barney
    How Barney and other such cartoons taught me all I knew of social interaction.

Chapter 2: Grammar
    Nouns? What are nous? What is this grammar I need to learn?

Chapter 3: Multiplication Tables and Elementary Math
    Practice makes perfect was firmly enforced when it came to math.

Chapter 4: Chores
    How I sometimes did more chores than homework.

Chapter 5: Books
    How reading changed my life.

Chapter 6: Languages
    How languages have played a part in my education.

Chapter 7: Freshman Year
    The issues I faced, and the things I learned

Chapter 8: Sophomore Year
    How I picked my major, and how I did something that made me wonder if I wasted more than 5 years of my life.

Chapter 9: The Present
    Oh dear. I’m a junior. Now what?

Chapter 3: Multiplication Tables and Elementary Math

   One of my most vivid memories of grade school is sitting in the living room reciting multiplication tables. One times one is one. One times two is two. All the way through fifteen times fifteen is two hundred and twenty-five. Twice a day, six times through the multiplication tables. Repetition and practice were the methods of learning in my family. Whether it be addition or multiplication or division or fractions, every new subject meant a set of practice problems. It did not matter if I finished all of my homework; somehow there were always new problems I needed to complete before I could play.

    Math always meant a lot more to my mom than any other subject in school. My mom never got to go to school, and so all of those hopes of success were transferred to my sister and me. We were a minority in this country and my mom knew that we had to work harder to succeed. Although I attended public school, in retrospect, the privileged were always present. For me, there was always the expectation that every classroom I walked into would have very few Chinese people. I always thought that my hand me down clothes were shabby in comparison to the pretty new clothes many kids got every year. I always envied the shiny folders with the cute animals. Consciously, I never really though about it as the other children being better, but subconsciously, looking at other little girls becoming great friends with their boxed lunches and pretty clothes made me feel like an inferior.

    Perhaps it was the environment that prevented me from hating my parents for those multiplication tables and endless math problems. I never had friends in elementary school. They were always too high class, and all they ever talked about were their new shoes, new pencils, etc. These experiences were relatively negative ones, and lead to a rather miserable school life, but it gave me a determination to succeed that was not too dissimilar with my mom’s. Those better off little girls turned my mom’s oppressive traditional way of education into a more progressive form of education. My mom became an ally, a leader of sorts. Those math problems became fun little challenges for my to conquer. She helped to provide these fun little challenges, and when I could not conquer them, she was a helping hand.

Reflection: It started as a chapter on how repeating the multiplication tables over and over affected me as an experience, and lead to the realization of how being a minority, in a way, shaped my entire education. It is not an element of a single chapter, but of the book as a whole.