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].