Step back, Mamma

When we were in school, we had to finish our work in class. If we were slow, teachers would pull us forward, and we’d either be on the first bench or standing at the table next to the teacher as she constantly kept an eye on us as we wrote. And somehow within a month or so, we’d get faster and better. By the end of the year, we’d be up to par. Our work maybe untidy, but that would be fixed with the passing years. 
This still happens in St. Thomas School, Bahadurgarh where my son studied for about six months.  

And if you were absent for multiple days, rarely then you were assigned by the teacher a notebook from the class, which we would have to use to get upto date and bring back carefully. 

The other solution teachers came up was the remedial classes…this was more for conceptual issues. If a child could not understand or the pace in class was too fast for them, they would be given extra time with the teacher to clarify & understand. 

You know the one common element in all these solutions, was that it was an arrangement between the child and the teacher.
At no point was a parent called, or assigned responsibility for student work. School work was the teacher’s responsibility and the child’s ability and inability was completely credited to the teacher. 

It is a struggle to finish work beyond the assigned hours

Fast forward to now
The parent has complete access and power.

Some schools have a portal or a webpage that you, a parent, could log onto to figure what  was being done and the progress of the class. In case you are lagging behind, you can get it done at home.  

Then there is the Whatsapp group. Every mom (note the gender) is a part of a group, where all updates are received from other parents. 
If your child has incomplete work, does not know what needs to be done, HW or CW, things to bring to school, you reach out to the WhatsApp group and there, some one will help you. 
Greater access, immediate responses, better control. 
Everything is great, right?

Unfortunately, though in the process of these new age models, the child and the teacher equation has taken a backseat.
No longer is the transaction of words, work and communication between the child and the teachers, the buck has been passed on to the parent. Almost as though the teachers have sublet their duties. 

Here are the issues, I see in this situation:

1. The child learns more with his/her interactions with different teachers every day. By ensuring the exchange remains between them, we ensure that the child learns to manage situations, deal with problems and communicate their issues. 

2. Every teachers manages situations and communicates differently. In turn the child, learns to work around different personality types and different expectations. 

They build Empathy when they work together

3. It builds empathy. When they struggle together, they understand each other better, their limitations, their strengths – then there is no need for you or me to stand and argue why a certain situation is not ok for a specific child. One of their teachers will speak those words for them because they know exactly what the child is going through. 

4. It creates responsibility. The child is answerable for his work. His work is not dependent on his mother’s schedules, health or availability. He is charting his learning graph on his own with mentors that will take him through the process. You or I do not define that process. 

5. A parent cannot be expected to be the be all and end all of all learning. It is stressful to the parent, unfair to the child and terrible for their relationship. Is it even ok to expect what 8-10 teachers take care of at school, to be taken care of by one parent?

6. It is time consuming. I have done it and I know it leaves my son and me no time for anything else. Why must a child have to spend any more time on work that is meant to be done within the hours assigned at school? It is unreasonable and unhealthy.

7. It creates an unhealthy environment for all parties involved. Some parents have better social and support structures. Some parents may not have the same education or skillsets. Why create an environment where parents find themselves in embarrassing situations when they cannot manage, have the resources or the time? Isn’t this why we send kids to school in the first place?

8. I can promise you that my mom doesn’t know one parent of my classmates throughout my educational life. She could afford to not know. I have to know my son’s classmates, their mothers and their schedules. Can you imagine the kind of pressure we put on the mother’s and their social fabric? 

Just yesterday, a working parent was told by a teacher that she was welcome to visit school and take pictures of all the incomplete CW so her son could prepare for the upcoming exams. 

I was told I could train my child to write in short bulleted structures since he cannot manage to complete the tests in the given time. 

Both these boys are extremely smart, intelligent chaps who will not do well, though they know most of the syllabus and more. But that is irrelevant.

What is not, is the expectation that we as mothers, spend precious hours training our kids in simple skills that should be take care of at school. 
No longer is a parent managing their own life and work, their home & their children’s hours at home, they are expected to manage what is happening in their child’s life at school. 
Add to that the limited support systems that have also changed with nuclear families, mothers are getting weighed down by these responsibilities. 
Women are having to give up their careers, their passion, their interests, and their sanity to simply manage their kids lives and grades. 

Education through WhatsApp is a thing! 
Before the class is assigned, the group is formed and before you know it, the race begins. The begging for incomplete work, the innumerable requests to ensure their child is at par, it is demeaning and unnecessary. And is a purely unacceptable form of education. 

I refuse to educate my child in this manner. But it cannot come from one parent alone. It must come from the community. As women, as parents we must go back to letting kids and teachers finding their way to eliminate gaps. We must step out of the process and let them evolve ways and means to work their differences and trust them to build their own arrangements. 

Once again, the teacher and the child must form their equation, devoid the pressures and the stress on & by parents. 

Let them win this one together as one unit!

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