Thursday, March 26, 2009

Keeping my fingers crossed

Last week, back from school my 1st grader wanted me to help her with math home work. She was dealing with the first stage of subtraction by borrowing. Turning back on the previous pages of her note book I noticed that she had solved at least four pages of similar problems. But she looked completely blank on this one. Controlling my urge to reprimand her on not paying attention in the class, I explained to her the simple way to the solutions. Sharp as she is, she successfully dealt with them within next 10 min. Once done, she approached me with a very relieved expression, “It is so simple. In the class, the teacher just crosses across the numbers and then we have to hurry to copy the sums otherwise she wipes out the black board!!!”
A statement that has been coming to me very frequently as a counselor. Parents and students from almost all schools across the city have reported lack of explaining and teaching especially in mathematics. There is a dangerous race to get done with the syllabus and obviously who would like to spend time explaining to the students? It is the same story being repeated year after year, one institute after another. More and more new schools are mushrooming all over. They have national and international brands, sprawling campuses, customized uniforms, and even fruits and milk. However it is noteworthy that none of the schools flaunt real teachers! Amazing isn’t it? The most important aspect of a school is education and the most important factor in education is the educator. But the situation today is quite paradoxical. Teachers are not trained to teach. Most of these are degree holders with another ornamental qualification- the B.ed!! Bachelor of education!!! Most of these degree holders lack the two most important ingradients of teaching-Communication skills and Interest in the pupil!! The interest lies in completion of prescribed curriculum and extracting forced grades. Is it any surprise that most students develop distaste and in many cases real hatred for subjects like mathematics and history. There are many students who learn these subjects again as adults and wonder why they had disliked them as children. Many who could go on to develop careers in these subjects never get to taste the real essence of the subject. It’s a tragedy.
We all know that children place a lot of faith in their teachers at every stage, (that is before they are disillusioned). But when I teach my children they say, “Why don’t you take up the teacher’s job at our school? You make everything seem so easy”. This sentence and more like these talk in details about the current education scenario. Of course there are some exceptionally good teachers even today, but that is precisely how much there are, just “SOME”! And the population is increasing; so is the number of educational institutes- sans real teachers.
The trend with which the primary education starts it leads up to a potholed high school education, the higher education then takes up from there. I recently asked a final year civil Engineering student to give me the approximate dimensions of the large hall (20’ by 30’) we were in. looking around and contemplating she concluded-3’by 4’. I decided to give her one more chance and asked her to look around and at the roof height and then estimate. She reconsidered, had a more serious note on her face and corrected herself-3m by 4m!!!
I am keeping my fingers crossed. Not just my children, but all those around me are groping in the dark. Competing against others and trying to make a mark in the system, they have stopped competing within self to better their understanding and concepts.
All individuals have to grow in order to live fully. Will they get an opportunity to understand the real growth? I am keeping my fingers crossed.


  1. An honest story....n surely in this brutal competitive world...were everyone needs to outperform others....don't wat is going to bring for d children..

  2. It really is a scary thing that just when the race is getting tougher and the children are under more stress then ever, we have so few good teachers around.


  3. thank u madam for ur thought provoking reflection explaining the reality in a more subtle way. It seemed to me that ur reflection was an inspiration to the story line of '3 Idiots'. Kudos