Learners


The CEO of the company I work for had linked to this post on our internal blog and he hopes that these kids don’t end up in our company!

How much of this attitude is to do with the indulgence at home and what percentage of it does the school’s heeding to such indulgence contribute to? This article got me thinking about one or two instances of the student-teacher-ayah-ma relationship my kids had and continue to have.

Varun was so attached to ‘Rajamma Patti’ in is playschool that everyday he had more stories to share about her and the lovely Tamizh songs she sang to the kids occasionally! The founder/teacher had this ‘inclusive’ philosophy and would not make statements or signs of them being lesser human beings. She does her bit in making the children see people for what they are. At the same time, I recall her telling me once how some parents specifically request her to not let the ‘ayah’ touch, handle or cuddle the little children! Rajamma patti is an adorable old lady who loves kids and the kids reciprocate if they are NOT fed on a diet of prejudices.

In his pre-school now, he looks at Fathima-amma as a person who will not take too kindly to unfinished snack-box or playing with the school ID card, but not as a ‘lesser’ person. The grand-parents get most of the news of what the fellow did in the class from the ayah-ma. All the kids say ‘bye’ to the teachers and the ayah-ma in the class. It was the same with Vyas too.

After reading this article, I felt compelled to know what is going on in my 10yr old’s mind. I had to be careful with my questions lest I end up getting the sonny to ‘judge’ his teachers. What if my son harbored similar prejudices and haughty attitude?

Post dinner, the fellow was arranging books in his school bag according to the time-table and I thought it was the best time to get him talking.

Me: Finished your homework?

Vyas: No homework. But had to redo a map.

Me: Oh, ok. Btw, am planning to take up part-time teaching da. What qualities do you think I must have to make a good teacher? I mean, what do you like about your teachers?

Vyas: Ummm… They must not load us kids with homework.

Me: But what you are given is so less. Are you complaining?

Vyas: Well… (he really says ‘well..’!), not exactly. But asking us to redo maps and things like that is boring..

Me: ummm.. ok.. And then..?

Vyas: They must be forgiving.

Me: Eh?

Vyas: Suppose I default once, they must not mind. If I continue to default, I can be called a defaulter.

Me: I see.. And?

Vyas: I like their being regular to school.

Me: Oh?

Vyas: And, I don’t like teachers comparing us with other sections (there are about 10 sections in class 5).

Me: They do?

Vyas: Some do. For example, G Ma’am who teaches us English, is the class teacher for another section. She says her class is better than ours.

Me: Why does she say that?

Vyas: God knows why. And she knows. How will we know?

Me: You didn’t ask her? May be she has a reason?

Vyas: No. I think she might be biased because it is her class.

Me: oh… I still think you must ask.. anyway.. so how about other qualities… like.. how they dress, how they talk, what they wear, etc?

Vyas: Maaa! You are asking me as if school is some party or wedding!

Phew! Not bad.. Hope things stay that way!
And then he shows me a map work, something on a world outline map, and asks,

Vyas: Ma, how is this?

Me: It looks awesome da.

Vyas: Hmmm… You think its awesome. The teacher thinks its gruesome. (Rolls eyes and all that)

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Pssssst….. The teacher is right btw;)

Attitude or Luck?


Was talking to Vyas on how our efforts reflect in our work, and picked his recent test scores in the class tests as an example. Given the phobia he has for Hindi, he scored a decent 85%! This served as an example for the hard work he had put in, where it was more of a mental barrier that we had to break. On the day he took the Hindi test, he called me up to say that it was ‘dabba easy’ and that he’d score over 95%. I told him it didn’t matter if he scored less in the subject because I know he had put in his best effort and that he must not feel disappointed or build opinions around his score! As luck would have it, he scored lesser than he expected and I assured him that we’ll work a little more harder next time!

He had an excellent score in another subject and I attributed the reason again to his hard work plus his attitude towards the subject. This formula would work for just about any subject, I opined. Just when I think that my boy is a ‘balanced person’, he sends me rolling down a hill with something that isn’t quite like him! He appeared to give the formula a serious thought and a few seconds later he declared that he scored well in that particular paper because he closed his eyes and blew the lucky hair (from his eyelashes), wishing for a good score in the test! The boy is jinxed I tell ya! From where do the elves learn these? How can we make them ‘unlearn’? I felt like shaking him up thoroughly.

“Its in the mind. You liked what was taught in the subject, you enjoyed doing your lessons. You kept thinking that you must do well in the subject even as you were blowing that hair. Its the ‘positive attitude’ and it always works”, I reasoned. ‘No ma, its the power to wish. To wish for something to come true”, theorizes the man. “Its almost the same”, I say. “No ma, it brought me good luck. Really. You can try. Ippo, for example, wish that your manager doesn’t get annoyed if you go to work a little late”, he pouts. Now I wonder if it was his effort or he really got lucky with the questions! My impossible brat!

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