TWO SIDES OF A COIN

Dear Teacher,

With all my collected nerves; I make a request

Could you please swap homework with classwork?

As homework takes long and Mommy needs to explain

I hardly get time to play; my evenings are no fun!

If you don’t feel offended, can I appeal?

Please slowdown to breathe between the lessons

You are always rushing on a treadmill!

Copying from the textbooks make my fingers ache

So much of writing makes me really pale!

I wish learning could be a movie or maybe a game

No weights on my shoulders and no fear to fail!

Yours sincerely

(A student somewhere in India)

Reply from a Teacher

My dear Student,

Trust me my dear; I totally understand your plea

But I’m no more a teacher; I’m just an employee

I have targets to achieve and deadlines to meet!

Many hats to wear all through the day

Teaching in the classroom, just a slight part

How much I miss ‘teaching’ my conscious knows

Rushing through the lessons, is not my wish

Hope you understand my compulsion

I can’t oblige your request until mine received

Yours Truly

(A teacher somewhere in India)

Hoping for a revolution in Indian education system….. hope it will serve ‘education’ soon.

 

© 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.

“I want to be a Teacher!”

“Teaching is a noble profession. A teacher is the most respected person. Perfect for women as it is a half day job and they can save rest of the day for their families”

For all the aspiring teachers who want to choose teaching as their profession this is exactly the thought process.

Now the reality check.

You enter the school with lot of new ideas, strategies, enthusiasm and determination to mould young minds, to be the great human beings. In anticipation of getting love and respect from students and appreciation from parents and school.

A class full of 45-47 students and a curriculum which needs to be completed within a time frame. It doesn’t take you long to realize that the class of which you are now the class teacher of is a mix bag of bright, respectful, helpful, hyperactive, slow learners and special needs students. The tussle between the teacher in you and an employee of the school begins.

Everyone around keeps you informed about the dos and don’ts. The list keeps on increasing each day. Being in this profession let me summarize few to make you aware and beware of this Noble Profession.

Your class room behaviour and work-

It is your prime responsibility to have full control of your class. Your class should be disciplined and attentive. But a word of caution in order to maintain discipline you cannot raise your voice, no scolding, no trace of anger on your face and most importantly control your hand, even a light slap on the back can land you behind the bars!!  Stay calm always.

It is your duty to see that each child completes his/her written work. Slow writers included. But again beware! No harsh words or scolding. You have to do this within the time frame of 40-45 minutes i.e., in one period. Stay calm always.

Make sure that your checking of notebooks and assignments is prompt and correct. There are other heads appointed to check your checking. Let me tell you on an average you have to check 150 notebooks a day and bundles of worksheets are not included in it.

If you are the class teacher of a junior class then it is your responsibility to make sure that children finish their healthy tiffin filled beyond the capacity of the lunch box, packed with lots of love by their mothers.

You have to be alert always, when the child goes to the washroom or to the playground or to the activity class. Always keep a check. Your eyes should always follow them.

Most important, it is your duty to listen and address to each child’s query and complaint. Consider each stomach ache and minor bruise as major emergency. Any sort of negligence can make you liable for serious punishment by the law.

Your conduct with the parents-

Parents have full right to question, inquire and complaint. Their opinion is foremost important. You have to be always polite and calm with them even if they fail to fulfill their responsibility as parents. You are just the appointed person to take care of their child’s needs in school. And teaching is a part of that.

If you think that your duty as a teacher ends here then my dear friend you are highly mistaken. Read on….

You have to enter the class attendance minimum at three places.

You have to do you bus duty which again has long list of responsibilities.

Lesson plans, curriculum planning, annual days assemblies, route lists, educational tours, presentations, uploads on the websites…….endless!

Did I mention stay backs? Yes as the management feels that teachers need more time to complete their work, they are kind enough to provide us stay backs after school.

One last advice, you must make yourself aware about the provision of law for teacher’s “negligence” such as a trivial act of scolding can make you a criminal!

And I am sure that I’ve missed out to mention a few more duties and responsibilities of being a teacher. Remembering all this is also a challenge with a hundred other directions you have to divert your mind into. And yes, have your medical insurance handy….

After all this, if you still feel like a teacher not a nannie then you truly deserve this job and a medal of highest honour!

 

 

 

 

 

To whomsoever it may concern

A change in rules and expectations are inevitable with the change of the leadership.

An expectation or rather a rule- “You are here to work not to live”.

And by any chance you are not able to understand what it means; a committee of professionals will help you!

I need help!

Respected sir/ma’am

I would like to place my request to help me understand the meaning of the phrase “You are here to work not to live”. I am unable to keep my work and my home separate. I tend to get involve emotionally with my students. I reach out to those who need my affection and continuous involvement. I carry their problems home. Many a times I talk to their parents in the evening, giving away my ‘family time’. The other day I was discussing with a parent about how to help their ward to became more confident and stop him from wetting his pants. And there are many other discussions that take place with parents in my ‘to live’ time.

I really need help to learn how to detach myself from my school duties once I’m at home. I need urgent help so that I can give my much needed attention to my two biological kids! I need help to stop myself from continuously thinking about checking assignments, planning the assemblies, competitions, ministry work, activities, lesson plans… huff!

One more major problem! I often lend an ear to my colleagues to hear their woes and worries and approach them for mine too! Actually this is a major problem with women; they juggle home, work, kids, and social responsibilities all the time. Please someone help us to overcome from this mania of multi-tasking.

And some other doubts need clarification as well.

Can we keep education or schools under the category of corporate house? Are there any real working hours for a teacher? Isn’t it a 24 hour job?? I think I am doing over-times without a ray of any pats and praises from the authorities. I’m surviving on satisfied parents and contentment to see a child perform better.

Hope now you can understand the urgency of my appeal. Your immediate response will be appreciated.

Thanking you in anticipation
Yet another teacher