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Andrew Vizcarra
Professor Malvin
English 114A
7 September 2015
Exercise 1.1: Summary and Response
Within a quick instant, lives can change completely with a change of perception. Mike
Rose's life was changed forever when a bizarre, yet compassionate teacher changes his outlook
on his future and education. In the story of Mike Rose, "I Just Wanna Be Average", it talks about
his personal experience in high school by showing how society abandons and fails to appreciate
students actual academic potential. Rose was put into a program called "vocational education;"
a program designed by the institute for the expected failure students, whom of which were
usually lower in social class. Being in this unprogressive environment of students, Rose learned
that schools were not helping these students but rather keeping them busy with unimportant
curriculum that was not even taught correctly due to unprepared and irresponsible instructors.
Another cause of failure within this population of students were personal decisions that
consisted of wasting their time by slacking, attending parties, and fighting one another. While in
class, a student by the name of Ken Harvey was asked by his teacher about himself and his work
ethics, the response in return were specifically "I Just Wanna Be Average". This statement made
by Harvey shocked Rose and made him ponder the ill-thought of why would someone want to be
average when they could achieve so much more than they credited themselves. "Reject the
confusion and frustration by openly defining yourself as the common Joe." (Rose, 187). This
quote stumbled Rose and had made him want to see his potential for his following high school
career and how he would continue to manage his time. After dropping out from the agonizing

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vocational program, Rose meets a new teacher by the name of Mr. MacFarland who teaches his
senior English course. Constantly, is his character being teased for his known bizarre and strange
nature. The young student realizes then that his new teacher shared a genuine concern and
wished to be involved with all of his students education to push them to do their best. Seeing this
sparked a new interest in Rose to take school more serious. The results of being so close to
professor MacFarland, Rose has concluded that he was ready to pursue a higher degree of
education for himself at Loyola University.
In the piece, "I Just Wanna Be Average" by Mike Rose, I could relate to many of the
experiences he went through as a student because I have seen irresponsible teachers and
unmotivated students in my years spent in high school. I can relate that without a motivating and
caring mentor that it brings difficulty in putting effort towards ones education. Personally, in
beliefs with that a motivating and caring teacher could shed a light that school is pleasing, fun,
and interesting, I feel that any student of any education level can excel and grow as they want to
past the limits they set for themselves without confidence and put forward the time and effort.
With the help of a motivating instructor or individual, education can be perceived as a portal to
further success and self enlightenment.

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Works Cited
Rose, Mike. ""I Just Wanna Be Average"" Models for Writers: Short Essays for Composition. By
Alfred F. Rosa and Paul A. Eschholz. 12th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2015. N. pag. Print.