My recent post “An open letter to my teachers” did raise a few comments where people mistook my intention and message and I felt it was important to write a clarification. It is also my feeling that many of the folks who read did not read the post completely and got stuck on some of the verbal usages I lovingly added in there.
First thing, the post was not to show disrespect or belittle the efforts done by my teachers in teaching me; I have only all my life respected the profession the utmost. My post was to throw light on how I view education and how I developed my distaste to certain elements of the education system I was dropped into. The Second aspect was that it was suppose to be humorous, but I can understand if some people did not get the humor.
And thirdly (this was mostly on my representation of the poetry class). I believe that every role in this world is subject to criticism, be it that of a teacher or a parent. The fact that a role is held at a very high pedestal in a person’s life does not give immunization from criticism. As a parent I strongly believe that we should not trample on the dreams, aspirations and passions of our kids on the pretext that we gave them birth and so we own them and their thoughts. If we do parenting bad we should be criticized. Same way I think for a teacher it is also important that the students have a right to both appreciate and criticize someone’s teaching style. Again the poetry class was an absolute torture and I would stand by it, but with due respect to good intentions of the teacher who taught me.
Now for the first item, my argument was that the system (at least when I studied) never asked the question “does the child like to learn, what interests the kid?, or how do they learn better? And so on. The rule was these are your text books and these are what you learn. And make sure you get high marks. The thousands of questions all starting with ‘why?’ were never addressed in the class. “This is how we do it and this was how we did it the previous years, and this how you will do it this time as well, absolutely no room for change.
Also the post was because even today I see parents trying to push their kids through the same routine believing that this is the best thing to do. Grades, marks, stress, panic and drilling into them the age old definition of success for all the good intentions, but is that the correct thing to do? It is also alarming to see kids who are so good at studies fall out off interest and parents are unable to rectify. There is an age when you carry them in your hands and there is an age when you carry them on your shoulder and there is a time when you hold their hands and then you point them the right direction and then after some time you let them go and your watchful eyes follow them and then they go out of sight and you will be happy when they fly high on their own wings. The age to make your kid a friend has come down a lot. Kids are learning faster than us and they are cultivating strong convictions faster than before. You need to friend them before you are way off track in understanding and conversing with them.
The System, the teachers, the curriculum, the thought, the way of parenting, the interests all change and should change, for the world our kids will live is not going to be anything that we know now. But there will still be the pursuit of happiness, there will still be dreams to follow, and there will still be a need for goodness and ongoing learning. Kids will make their parents proud not by satisfying a parent’s dream, but by standing up and following their dream and being confident, happy and contented about that.
So my post was all about what kids like and not about what teachers do!
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