The American Education System's Penchant for Discipline and Control

The American Education System's Penchant for Discipline and Control

I compared the American Education system to a prison without even mentioning the following words: prison, panopticon, and Foucault.


"I don't want to go to school." I miserably said.

"You always said that since you were in kindergarten." My mom retorted back. "School is boring, but we have to do it."

I merely said the statement during Spring Break where I found myself not doing the assignments that I am supposed to do not because I'm "lazy," but also I have difficulty in concentrating and, let alone, functioning. As I sat on my bed, pondering to myself over how I would even make it to my senior year, I suddenly flashed back to my experiences confined to the American Education system.

But, rather than remembering these experiences with fond nostalgia, I remembered those experiences like a traumatized little Japanese girl who just experienced the bombing of her home city, Tokyo.

In the 4th grade, because I constantly forget my homework all the time, I got put in a 2nd-grade classroom to do my homework during recess time.

In the 7th grade, because I constantly failed math, I got put on Academic Probation meaning I cannot participate in any extracurricular activities whatsoever and I have to spend my time after school with the math teacher; although, I failed to heed the instructions of probation by continuing to watch movies in history club and paint sceneries in the drama club.

In the 12th grade, while on the verge of my mental breakdown over not being able to pass my trigonometry class, the social worker told me to snap out of it and go to class; I, of course, cannot snap out of it because I had depression and school just made it worse through the ecstatic push for competition between classmates in the school assembly.

All of my experiences have something in common: discipline. The teacher who put me in the cloistered 2nd-grade classroom full of children younger than me, the superintendents who slap me with the Probation, and the social worker tired of my breakdowns sought to remind me of my place: the lowly student who has to follow the instructions, pass to make the school look good, and just go to class like a good student would. But, first and foremost, I am a person and, like any other person, I have my own wants. Since my wants include, well, having fun, I collided with the Education system, and they left me beaten down ever since.

Now, I am back to the present where I am a college student. I will be entering my last year in college next year, but I am remotely unsure of how will my senior year go. I am not even done with my junior year yet. And since I am having emotional flashbacks, you already know how my junior year goes.

The American Education system defines my life with discipline and punishment. While I am hardly punished yet, the college continues to define my life in the same way. Instead of the school punishing me, I only punished myself for failing to meet the professor's expectations and the deadlines. Every paper I write in the late night with typos and sentence fragments, every test question I struggle to answer, every moment where I struggle to comprehend what the professor said in the lecture, every moment when I asked a seemingly dumb question, I berated myself.

As I chastise myself like all the teachers, the administrators, and the social workers have done to me, my self-esteem whithers.

Just like that, I became weak like what the American education system wanted all along.

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