By Ayumi Nagayama, TIWP Student
When I was in third grade in Japanese class, I remember that I made one mistake. My mom is Japanese and I grew up learning Japanese so I spoke it pretty well. In class we were playing a game and I lost to this guy when I made a mistake. The whole class made such a big deal about it like I was supposed to know everything related to Japanese. After that my confidence had shattered. Afterwards, the guy who beat me made fun of me and called me stupid. From then on I never really spoke up in class in fear of making a mistake and getting made fun of for not knowing the answer. Even if I knew the answer, I doubted myself and was not confident, so I never said anything. Looking back at that moment a few years later, now I don’t care if I mess up. I don’t know everything and I never will. So what if I made one mistake? So what!
After what happened in third grade, I never really talked a lot in class. I was pretty good at math and music so I would answer questions whenever I felt confident that I was right. I became confident in these subjects. After people knew I was smart and good at those subjects, again they expected me to be perfect and to know all of the answers. If I didn’t know something they would say, “But you’re Ayumi! You should know that!” Or if they had a question or needed help with homework, they asked me to do it.
I remember we were playing music trivia one time, and people were asking me for the answer. I gave them the answer, but the music teacher made a mistake and said the answer was wrong. Everyone was relying on me to get the answer right and then they got mad at me. They all said, “Ayumi you should’ve known that, how did you get that wrong?” Turns out I actually had the answer correct. It really sucks when you make a mistake and people blame you for it, when they couldn’t even answer it. Don’t blame someone for not getting the correct answer when you couldn’t answer the question yourself. Don’t expect someone to know all of the answers. Don’t expect someone to be perfect. If you don’t know the answer, that should be fine. It doesn’t have to be a huge deal.
Everyone should be able to raise their hand in class, and answer a question without being afraid of being wrong or made fun of. Everyone should be able to be confident in themselves without being made fun of. Everyone should be able to just be themselves without any fear of being judged. Everyone is unique in their own amazing way and that shouldn’t be a problem.