Online To Offline

Received a consent form from my son’s school.

Following the directives of the U.P Government to open schools for physical teaching

keeping the COVID protocols, from Aug. 16, 2021……….. This is being communicated to you, as a compliance to the directives of the State Government……..

Are you willing to send your ward to school from 16th August, 2021?

We filled the form and submitted it the same day. What did we write? Well, I’ll tell you at the end of this post.

Just imagine the happiness of the children going back to school, the classroom, playground, their desks, school bus, and most importantly their friends! That will surely be a moment of euphoria. Of course, it’s not going to be as normal as it was; sanitizer in the pocket, mask on the face, physical distance, and no tiffin breaks. But if you think this is the only change that students are going to deal with…wait, there is much more that has changed.

  • They have to face the teacher. Network issues, camera not working, voice is breaking, teacher is not audible all these excuses (real/created) will become inapplicable. 
  • They can’t leave or join the class at their convenience or will.
  • They won’t be having the privilege to be present in the class and dozing off at the same time.
  • Getting up early, bathing (optional), wearing school uniform, and reaching school on time will be the minor changes.
  • They will be directly questioned for not submitting the assignments. No more WhatsApp reminders or defaulter’s list. Actually, it had never worked as the phone was always with the child and the Dear Parents were in oblivion. 
  • One of the major disadvantages that the children are going to face is ‘No Mobile Phones In The School!’ That means no WhatsApp chatting/ cheating during the class!
  • No Google for their rescue! Google had literally become ‘Doraemon’ for these ‘Nobitas’. It has suddenly made an average child a genius who knows the answer to each and every question asked in the exams. And teachers need not spend a lot of mind and time as all answers are identical, copied from google, exactly the same word by word (raising their BP high).

Parents, time will tell whether we have made our children geniuses or handicaps by not keeping supervision or control. I hope we shouldn’t be held guilty in the future for supporting and building a more corrupt nation. 

Now, what was our answer in the consent form?

It was a No. We are not willing to send our child to school before he is fully vaccinated and until we are sure about the safety measures taken by the school. The school has lost a couple of brilliant teachers, many have lost their family members and more than thirty students have lost either one or both of their parents. 

I, as a parent, am very much satisfied by the efforts teachers are taking to provide education online. The onus of a child’s learning lies on both the teachers and the parents. 

We should hurry to vaccinate children rather than opening schools. 

Five School Girls

Onlookers can vouch; how pretty they look

A bunch of sunflowers, five school girls!

Sipping through the lime, giggling with joy

Oblivious of surrounds; engrossed in the talks

Glitter in their eyes says it all

Life is beautiful; you believe it or not!

If time can stop and moment can freeze

Someone please click this blissful frame

They still, the same, in their forties

Carefree and sassy school girls at heart!

IMG-20180609-WA0037

 

© 2018 Charu Gupta and Potpourri of life.

 

 

 

A Letter to the Teacher

Date: Today

Subject: Please don’t burden my child with your expectations

Respected Teacher/ School

I feel humble and obliged whenever you appreciate my daughter for her academic achievements (purely based on marks). Recently she has taken her board exams (12th grade final exams). For many parents and students it’s the time to feel relaxed and stress-free as the exams are over but not for us. My daughter is still having sleepless nights, anxiety plunges and often feels paranoid about the result (again the marks).

So far, in most of the PTMs, we have been told that she has the caliber to come first in the class (on the bases of marks most of the times she stood 3rd or 2nd in her class). And in her pre-boards finally she fulfilled your expectations and came 1st!

My daughter has been told that she has to score 100 percent marks in most of the subjects as she is capable. (Every year you bet on couple of students to score 100 percent in their boards)

My daughter was constantly under pressure to live up to your expectations! As a mother I have seen her putting every single effort into the studies to score your expected 100 percent! I have seen her going into a downhearted state after each exam where she was scared of losing 4-5 marks. Exam after exam I had seen her trembling with the thought – what if I could not achieve a perfect score! And it reached the crescendo in the last exam – and she left one question unattended although she knew the answer.

What if my mother wasn’t there to accompany her home from the examination center that day?

She was sobbing profoundly; in deep sorrow and devastated. No parent would like to see their child in so much distress and trauma, it was indeed heart wrenching.

I’m sorry to say but please stop putting your highly ambitious expectations on my child. Your track record is not my child’s liability. If you want to flaunt the number of 100 percent achievers taught by you then please spare my child; don’t count on her for your own trophies. Stop telling her that she is one of the brightest children and she should get nothing less than perfect score. Please stop motivating her to be first or to be the highest scorer. Don’t suffocate my child with the pressure to continuously score the highest marks.

It would be really appreciable if you had told her to give her best shot or to put in her honest effort and achieve her best! It would be truly motivating if you had told her to be satisfied and proud of her achievements irrespective of her rank in the class.

Grades or marks will not decide my child’s worth. I condemn the system where marks are the criteria of a child’s capabilities. I strongly disagree that only high marks are going to ensure a bright future for her. I refuse to put my child in the race to come first; she needs not to defeat someone else to realize her self-worth.

I would be proud of my child even if she scores a little less than your expectations but dares to live her life as she wants with all the empathy and self-esteem.

Thanking you
A mother

© [Charu Gupta] and [Potpourri of life] [2018].

Who’s at Fault?

Some Newspaper clippings-

A 16-year-old class IX student of a private school committed suicide at her Noida home on Tuesday evening.

A distraught mother has claimed that her 11-year-old son was driven to suicide by bullies at his school.

 A Fact-

India has one of the world’s highest suicide rates for youth aged 15 to 29, according to Lancet report.

A child ending his/her life! Imagine the trauma, the stress and the despairing of that child. An 11 year old child and his little heart were unable to handle the pressure created by the immediate environment that death seemed to be more comforting than life!! Just an eleven year old!

And the parents? Can’t even imagine; God! No one in this world should go through this doom. But the fact is this is happening around us and every day we read this as any other News…..sad!   Heart drenching

A child who has not even cherished enough rain drops; who has yet not made enough sand castles; who has yet to decide what he wants to become when he grows up!……ends life….and left behind is the question, WHY? And devastated parents and their unfilled dreams. Not even all the oceans, not even all the sky could fill the vacuum in the parents’ life.

 Who’s at fault?

The teacher who gave below acceptable grades or the peers who bully the child? Or the School, or the Principal or the whole education system? Whom to blame?

The teacher passed some derogatory remarks about my child and he couldn’t take that insult in front of the whole class and he committed suicide!

A group of boys bullied my child for his dark complexion and my child felt humiliated and committed suicide!

The School has failed my child in the final exams and my child was uncertain about his future and committed suicide!

The fact is my child was not emotionally strong. He/she had lot of pressure to excel. He had lack of self- confident and suffered from low self-esteem.

But why? Who’s at fault?

Have you, as a parent told your bundle of joy that come what may, you will love him/her unconditionally forever?

Have you asked your child to chase his dreams not yours? That he needs not to achieve what you couldn’t but achieve what he wants?

Have you told him that you will be his best friend forever and he can always share his dilemmas, fears and secrets with you?

Does he know that you will always believe in his worth irrespective of his grades?

Parents are the first teacher of a child and family is his first school. Have you been a good teacher? Has the family provided a conducive environment?

As a teacher I have witnessed parents saying-

“Ma’am, this time my daughter has scored one mark less in the test, she is not concentrating properly please make her stand near your desk so that she can score perfect 10!”

“Ma’am, how come my son has not been selected for the final round of the competition? Could you please tell me the judging criteria?”

“Ma’am, my child has got A+ in all the subjects but how come he got B+ in dance?” “Why was my child not given the first row position in the annual function?”

Parents are driving their children to score full on full, even half a mark less is unacceptable. Every time, continuously and constantly the child is under pressure to excel. Grades/marks are persistently stealing away his right to a carefree childhood. Grades, competitions and achievement certificates are big monsters that always haunt him. “You have to score great grades, you have to win every competition and you must be good at singing, art, dance and sports”.

Life doesn’t end at grades! And every child can’t excel in all the subjects as well as in co-curricular activities!

Parents want to live their dreams, their aspirations and their choices through the child. What about a child’s desires? How much stress a small child can handle?

Thank God my Parents were quite sensible and supportive even when I managed to score just the passing marks in my 10th class Board Math exam, they did not force me to take commerce stream (Science was out of bound due to my marks.) Otherwise today I won’t be writing this article, would have been somewhere in the stars! And after I got subjects of my choice after 10th there was no looking back. I was filled with self-confidence and the desire to outshine.

Who’s at fault?

Were you as a parent available to your child when he needed you at the time he was first bullied? Did you counsel him and cement his self- esteem? Did you tell him how you look doesn’t matter but how you behave does?

How the outside world will behave is not in your control but how you prepare your child to take it, is very much in your control. Build his emotional quotient so strong that any cuss words, derogatory remarks or failures can’t shatter his belief in himself. Develop his confidence that you will always be there to support him as a rock whenever he needs.

Don’t tie the child with your dreams but let him fly to chase his own. Prepare him to face challenges that life throws with conviction. Tell the child, it’s okay to fail, you can always try again, it’s okay to score average; you have other talents to pursue. Don’t worry if you are not able to figure out your future; we’ll sit together and find the best options of your choice. Tell him life is beautiful and you love him just the way he is. A confession – as a parent I am no different from the other parents, but each day every moment I’m trying to be non-judgmental and a better parent.

Be a great teacher, a great parent, be a pillar of strength and love; and see your child bloom in this beautiful world.

A wishful thinking – No report cards, just the aptitude tests and a sky of hope and the world of happiness. Each child is unique, each child is the best.