“Amma….Take me back….”
The room is filled with such and similar cries. No, I am not about narrate a horror story. Its not a torture scene as well. This is happening on the first day in a kindergarten classroom. The tiny tots dressed in their very best are crying for their mamma to come back to them and not to leave them with these strange new faces who are trying their level best to bring down the volume levels. Do I see a faint smile playing on your lips as you visualise this scene?
It is a strange moment, isn’t it? You feel a pang of guilt and sadness, as you leave your beloved child in the classroom. It is a proud moment as well, for your kid has just started her school. And in a few months, some of us feel a little jealous too, when the little one keeps talking of her teacher non-stop – a stranger who has now become the star of her life!
On that first day, in every Pre-KG class , twenty lovely kids had been left by their parents, trusting the class teacher to take care of their kids. Their eyes shone with pleasure, as their kids had just achieved an important milestone – admission to one of the most prestigious schools of the city.
Soon the first Parent Teacher interaction(PTI) day was announced. Every parent, irrespective of whether they were working or not, managed to squeeze into the small hall that had been arranged . The Headmistress welcomed the parents and shared with them some tips for effective parenting. Later the parents moved to their wards’ section to have a one-on-one with the class teacher.
Class : Pre-KG Section – A
The class teacher of Pre-KG ‘A’ was a worried woman. She had a few students who had been a bit slow to pick up the concepts, a few who still cried and few who were extremely naughty.
Come PTI, every parent comes to her with high hopes. She knew the usual strategy – she had to convey both the positive and negative aspects in positive sugar-coated terms. She had actually written down a few sentences for each child, which she would slyly look before each parent approached and would deliver in a natural way. She was an expert in this and not even her closest friend knew about this trick!
Niya’s parents approached and sat on the chair opposite to the teacher. Niya’s mother gave a pleasant smile and looked adoringly at her daughter. The teacher too looked at the child.
Niya had been quite difficult to handle. she had a mind of her own, and most often refused to sit in a place. Though she was not very naughty, she did not talk or interact much with others in the class.
But, the teacher gave her usual smile and recited the phrases she had noted down
“Niya is a bright child. She is very active and energetic, but needs to concentrate more in the class. She needs to improve her social skills. You need to take her more often to parks and other public places so that she develops interpersonal skills”
The teacher paused to give some time to the parents to assimilate what she had just recited. The parents had hardly comprehended what was said, but yet nodded their heads, lest they look like fools in such a posh school.
“You must have noticed her grades. She has only a C grade in most oral activities but has an A in solving puzzles, colouring etc. That is the area where she needs to improve.”
“But she is only in Pre-KG”, blurted out her father, immediately regretting his words, for all eyes in the room were on him. No one had, so far, spoken against the teacher’s judgement.
“Sorry, sorry Ma’m”, apologised Niya’s mom,”he didn’t mean it. Yes, we’ll take her to parks. Thank you”.
As they walked off, they could still feel all eyes piercing their backs.
Class : Pre-Kg Section – ‘B’
Here, the teacher looked calm and composed. She had almost 10 years of experience in teaching, and she knew each and every kid, not just by name, but his/her strengths and weaknesses as well.
Devan’s parents sat across the teacher. She looked at them and said,”Devan is a really smart kid. He thinks quite logically and takes time to make his decisions.”
The teacher gave her views of the boy, discussed his grades and then asked,”Do you want to discuss anything ?”
The over-excited mother asked,”Teacher, when will my boy start talking to me in English? It is with great difficult that I secured an admission here, hoping that my son will start speaking in English”
The teacher had come across quite a lot of doubts from parents, but this one was quite new to her. She looked at the mother and replied rather sternly, “This is a school and I’m a teacher, not magician. When your son joined this class three months back, he was not saying a single word. Now he is able to string few words together and form a sentence in his native tongue. Be happy and proud that he has achieved this. As for English, I think you might have to wait for a few more years!!”
Class :Pre-KG Section : C
“Jump Nanditha, jump” said the teacher as her parents, and the other parents watched her. Nanditha lifted one leg up,kept it down and then lifted the the other leg up and kept it down.
“That is not the way, lift both legs”, encouraged her mother.
Nanditha looked at her mother, and repeated the same action.
“I can’t believe this!” exclaimed her father. “she is a very intelligent child, she knows to unlock my iPhone, and she also plays so many games in it, in fact she wins all the games”
“Exactly. That is indeed the problem. Children at her age, should not be playing games on a phone, making virtual beings jump, run and dash. She should actually be doing all this. In our age, children automatically learned running , jumping and skipping. Today, many children need to be taught all this! Let them use gadgets when they grow up. For now, let them play in the real world, let them play with real children. Playing too is a learning experience.”
The teacher’s advise was an eye-opener to many parents, as they vowed to let their children play and enjoy nature.
Image courtesy : ClipartFest.