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Monday, April 11, 2011

What should be a good school for your child

     The other day, my neighbour asked me,  whether my son was studying in ----- school.  I said yes.  She asked me next, how did you manage to get the seat.  I replied just by getting the application form, and after my child was asked some questions, we were asked to wait, and then they gave us the admission intimation and asked us to remit the fee.

     She said that she had also followed the similar procedure, but her daughter did not get the admission.  Only then did I realize that it was a such a “prized seat” which my son had acquired. 

     Suddenly I started thinking, what should be a good school from a parent’s point of view. Today’s parents (mostly both working)  do not find enough time to spend with children, they are preoccupied with their own homework and shifts.  They come home tired and totally exhausted.  They expect the child to study on his own.  The school should be in a position to teach everything to the child from the way he walks, talks and enable him/her get 100% marks.  They are prepared to buy any book/material/gadgets (as their purchasing power has increased)which are required to enable the child to study well.  

     Some parents tend to compare the lessons of other schools with that of their child and try to teach those lessons also to their child to make him/her more competent.  It is natural for any parent to think that their child should not lag behind others.  But in that process, they tend to ignore what the child has already got.  Our child may not have the lesson package, but he/she would have learnt something new which the other school child would not have. 

     The teachers on the other hand feel that as the syllabus is huge and the time allotted is very less, they have to cover the entire syllabus within the time allotted.  Hence they rush up with the lessons, with very little time left for understanding or comprehension.  For a teacher, a good school can be the one which gives them enough time to interact with the children, assess their skills, and test their ability and which do not tax them.

     The child who is a born prodigy grasps and comes out successfully.  The child who is spoonfed by the mother for the entrance test by rigorous sessions everyday before the entrance, is successful in the entrance exam, but finds it difficult to cope later.  The child which is not a born prodigy or not taught the right questions for the exam, miserably fails the entrance test and does not get admission in the “good school”.  For a child a good school may be a place where he can have fun, enjoy, make friends and do not miss his mom.

     The schools want only those students who are smart and sharp.  This they arrive at through their entrance tests or interviews.  Once the child gets through this and comes out with flying colours,  he is given admission as the school can be rest assured that the child will grasp the fast pace,  and still get state ranks. 

     Who is to be blamed for this?  The child? The teacher? The parent? The school? Or the whole education system?  Thanks to the reforms  in the education front.  The child has more time to understand and comprehend.  More activity based learning will enable the child to learn the fun way and at the same time with full understanding of the significance of the concept.

          In a nutshell, I feel that a child should not be forced to learn just to keep pace with the rat race.  Ultimately it is not his marks, ( of course yes for getting admissions in colleges universities) but what he has learnt by himself without anybody spoonfeeding or bookreading which is going to help him in his life.  That is his lifeskills.  A highly academic child may fail when it comes to human relations, since he has always been up in the ladder and alone, he may not have got the opportunity to mingle with a child who has faced a failure or low marks.  An average child with good intention would have interacted with the failed child and would have spoken some kind words or helped him with whatever he knows to enable him to pass in the next exam.  Thus he would have learnt compassion and empathy which a top ranker would not have experienced.

     A parent should spend quality time with the child without constantly nagging and asking the child to read or go to bed.  They can share bedtime stories, talk about their childhood experiences, talk some positive things and lend a listening ear to them as they would have a lot to share.  Some moms I have seen feel that the child does not tell much to her but all about him is known to her mother in law.  It is not necessarily the grandma, it may be any close relative or friend who gives a lending ear to the child who will get most of the information from the child.  So kindly ensure that it is not the money we are minting that is going to give us happiness, it is the smile of our child which will give us more. 
     As regards the teachers,  they have to be the second mother to the child.  This will happen if the teacher correctly plays the above role in her family (i.e. being a good parent).  Naturally she will understand what her child feels about his teacher so that she can also understand the expectations of her students.  They should be empathetic as the children of these days are more adjustable to new surroundings and do not complain much.  The best thing in a child is their natural enthusiasm which you will never find in many of the adults.  

      The schools can admit children on the basis of their age and  learning capacity.  Not based purely on the entrance exams.  It can be a guide. Even if the child has got low marks, the school should go by other factors like the eagerness of the child to learn and the level of enthusiasm.  The child may not have fared well due to bad coaching in his/her earlier school.  They have to take it up as a challenge and prove that they are better schools by educating the weakest child to get highest marks. 
You cannot take credit in growing a tree by possessing it when it has already started bearing fruit.  You feel the real pride when you plant the seed, wait for the seedling to appear, water the plant, apply manure, secure the plant with fencing, drive away animals from grazing it, see it growing day by day and finally bearing fruit.  And that fruit will be really sweet!


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