"I Just Wanna be Average," is written by Mike Rose, a successful author of various acclaimed books about Education in America. This story is about his experiences in the vocational education track in his first years of high school as well as, his involvement in the college prep later in his high school career. Mike Rose discusses his teachers, classmates and overall learning experience throughout this essay. He also speaks about his family and his father's illness that eventually ruined his life. "Looking for Work" is a story by Gary Soto about his childhood experiences growing up as a Mexican-American influenced by the media. These essays have numerous similarities as well as differences. Both of these stories have a theme of if someone believes in you will find the ability to believe in yourself and this will motivate you to reach your goals. .
"I Just Wanna be Average" demonstrates this theme because throughout the entire story, Mike Rose explains that he did not care to learn any of the material that was being taught to him in vocational learning classes. He discussed the improper behavior of his classmates and how they also did not pay attention nor had a desire to learn. He even quotes his classmate, Ken Harvey, who stated, "I just wanna be average." (Rose 155). Overall, students in the vocational track at his high school were not interested in learning and were not positively motivated to do so by any of the faculty members. Students became accustomed to being humiliated and punished if they made mistakes in the classroom. .
Rose later finds out that he was placed in the wrong program and that he would be in college prep classes during his next semester of high school. He struggled in many of his classes and even resorted to copying assignments to pass. His English professor, Jack McFarland, taught in ways that Rose had never seen before. McFarland's lectures were interesting and he discussed history and connected that to the material they were reading.