If someone were to ask you what attributes the model student in a classroom setting has, would “immigrant child” come to mind? When we think of the high achieving students in a classroom, we tend to think of those that are US born and fully immersed in American culture since birth. Many believe that children that immigrate to the US at a young age tend to not fare as well as their native born counterparts due to the culture gap some immigrants might encounter while transitioning into a new environment. However, studies show that “children who immigrate to the United States with their families are likely to outperform kids with a similar background who were born here” (Dye, abcnews.go.com).
The success of immigrant students often stems form the high academic standards immigrant parents impose on their children. Parents that immigrate to the US work hard to reach the American Dream for their families, and in turn pass this motivation and determination on to their children (Lilley, nbclatino.com). The children are taught from a young age that to be successful means working hard, and the children take these lessons to heart and adopt their parents’ success mentality for school. Because their parents made sacrifices to provide the children with a better life and better opportunities, they feel the need to become the best students they can in order to make their parents’ efforts worth it.
Many immigrant children also face identity crises upon their arrival in the US as a result of their transition into American culture and customs in new schools. As children, many immigrant students have the desire to belong to a group and fit into their new environment. Immersing themselves in their schoolwork and learning English facilitates many immigrant students’ ability to identify with the native born Americans. As a result, they gain a sense of belonging while also getting ahead of the academic curve (Lilley). Children recieve the attention of classmates and teachers alike when they immerse themselves in academic work, and thus achieve both assimilation and superior grades.
The discriminatory nature of Americans created the stereotype of illiterate and uneducated immigrant youth, one that people find hard to give up. Yet the children of immigrants prove us wrong with their excellent grades and outstanding academic abilities, all of which we should recognize and appreciate for their full value and the benefits they bring to our youth and educational system.