Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Mission Mirage - Pursuit Of A Perfect School

Following my previous post 'Mission Impossible - The Maid Hunt', I had another spark about the next most infamous hunt which is the "The School Hunt ''. Especially post covid when the schools reopened none of them are fully equipped hence facing many challenges which definitely make the parents go furious. I would not even say the word 'unhappy' or 'disappointed' but only 'furious'! It is as bad as that here. 

You might be thinking " what?! Is she not a parent? Doesn't she have complaints about the school?" Oh! yes, of course mommies and daddies! I am also in the same boat. In India education is a business and we are all customers. I can't blame the fact that in a business when a customer pays money they are entitled to receive the best service at any point of time. Moreover when we are handing out our most precious products for their best future, the expectation is way higher. Money is the game changer. 

This was not the case when we were children. Our parents gave zero pressure to the school. If we got low marks no one questioned the teacher, instead we used to get 'sticky' notes. Literally no one cared where we went to pee, whether the teacher was 'really' completing the portions, whether we were doing homeworks etc. Because there was less business and more honesty. Most teachers were well experienced and honest in their profession. They were experts in handling even the notorious students. That era is over. 

Present day, parents are the ultimate pressure cookers. They pressurise themselves and make others too when it comes to kids. I agree pressure is needed to an extent but what if it becomes too much to hold! 

From the time a child is born parents are in the look out for the best school in the area. If there is not one they are even ready to move out in search of one. Even we are no different. We (it's not we actually it's my husband) have done our research well in this subject too. It is necessary especially when you have two children. We went to all kinds of schools. Some were out of our budget, some were cheap, few of them were unreachable, some were not transparent enough or fancy, some were religious. All these opinions were derived from the first few visits to these schools. This is nothing. I know people who made excel sheets of different schools with fees and amenities updated and I must say it was a great help. This excel sheet was circulating in many groups for some time.

The thing is, be clear with what you want, what are your expectations. If you are going with your friend's or kin's advice and select the school then there are chances you may be disappointed later. If they are happy with their school that means it satisfies their expectations, not yours. 

Now you have found a school. The fact about the school hunt is... in this whole earth none of the parents are 100% happy about their ward's school. Wherever you go you can seek issues. No school is perfect. I will give you a few scenarios and you can definitely read yourself somewhere in between the lines. 

Post Covid schools are seeing a surge in admissions. As it is a big shot business no schools are ready to admit that they are not well equipped to accommodate these huge numbers. Many old teachers have left and new teachers have come in place. Not only teachers but maid aunties, driver uncles all are fresh faces. Hence the human resource is under trained. 

Let's listen to the parents. 'Covidasura' is still lingering around so we all need our kids to wear masks to school and expect the school staff to follow covid appropriate behaviours. Unfortunately, we all know the truth that this is practically not possible in a public environment like school. If the teacher is wearing a mask throughout eight periods then what will be her condition after a day?! Also if the teacher wears a mask while taking class whether the child can really understand what she says?

"Auw avaa bua kungfu" according to me they might be hearing something similar to this. 

Leave all this, how many of you take your kids out on weekends? How many of you allow your child to play with other kids in your apartment daily? How many of you send your kids to swimming or any other common activities? Do you think your children are wearing masks throughout all these times? If the answer to my last question is yes, Alas!! Incredible parent you are! I have nothing more to say. You have every right to complain. But if the answer is no, then think about it before you complain.

School dispersal was chaotic on the first few days in all the schools. One of my friends was worried as the dispersal was not taking care properly on the first day especially for the day scholars/self pick-up. Parents were gathered in front of the school gate as if there was some protest going on. One parent commented, "parents were acting like someone had held the kids hostage and they were dying to get their children back!" Hilarious!! No one was ready to wait or be in a line. The whatsapp/telegram groups were flooded with more than five hundred messages by night. Instead of complaining why don't the parents take initiative, manage themselves, and be patient to go in a line. At times we act worse than kids. Teachers even have a saying amongst them, "kids are manageable but not parents!". Luckily within the next few days the scene was better I heard. 

One of my old colleagues called a few days back and she was also telling me exactly similar stories from other schools. She told me one of the incidents happened in a new so-called prestigious best reviewed International school which was shocking. Her nephew is in pre-primary and the first day was horrible. The security took the child from her. 

She asked, "Do you know which class my son is in?" 

He said, "No Madam, I will handover him to the aunty. She will take him to the class."

Then she insisted on accompanying him till aunty took over. Security handed over the child to aunty. 

Now she repeated her question. "Do you know which class my son is in?" 

Aunty rolled her eyes, "No Madam..." 

Mother got furious, "Then where are you taking my child?" 

"I will handover to some teacher, madam!"

When I heard this I was relieved our school is far better than this! Few other parents sighed, "Oh God! we are all sailing the same boat."

Any school you go to there will be a thousand complaints parents would have raised within these two weeks. Bathrooms are not clean, there are not enough maids on the floor, the teacher is not allowing my kid to go to toilet, teacher is taking class very slow, teacher is rushing and kids are unable to follow, they are not sending all books home, we don't know what is teaching in class, teacher is not letting my child talk/play, homeworks are not clear, play area is not safe, buses are not airy, there is not enough changing rooms in swimming class, online class would have been better, they should try hybrid model... the list goes on and on. Every parent group is bombarded with issues and worries. There is no end to this. While we parents are getting panic attacks, just look at our bundle of joys. What are they up to? They are happily playing, reading, doing homework and not bothered about anything happening around them. They are as cool as ice. Some of them even try to help the parents by saying "Mumma, it's ok...relax." 

I recently wrote a diary note in my daughter's diary (7th Grade) asking if the collection of books from the locker can be managed better as she was missing many books saying it's a rush during dispersal time. For this, she pouted and told me, "Mom, it is so embarrassing and I will get bad names in class. Please don't write diary notes, I am not a small kid." I was like... what else I could have done!? But also I understand her situation as a teenager. Anyways post that it got better. 

I am trying to conclude, the perfect school is a mirage. When you are in this school, you feel all other schools are doing well and only our school is in very bad condition. When you are in one of the other schools, you feel that the previous one was better. Understand that after a long gap of two years all are back in school. The kids, teachers and everyone else need time to settle. Give some time to settle down. Even then the problems persist then talk about it. So, there is no point in arguing, making fuss and fighting with school for each and everything. Instead try walking in, talk to teachers, management and solve the issues. That will do good. 

Hope you find peace with your child's school soon! Happy schooling ;-)




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