Another weekend, another PTI. This time for the elder son. When I go for his PTIs, I know that I will hear only good things. Not that I can take much credit for it. Because there are some children who are inherently good. With them, you feel that all your good karma has come to fruition. With great humility, I feel that way about my elder son. All his prowess and achievements are mostly because of his aptitude and how he is as a person.
Hence, it is a lovely occasion when I meet his teachers. The pride and love they feel for him makes me count my blessings every single time.
Yet, like all human beings, teachers come with their own flaws. Let us understand that the method of teaching and parenting may have undergone a sea change in the past generation but some teachers still firmly live in the past. They almost feel nostalgic for the days of corporal punishment and military-like discipline. I remember from back in my days, we were taught that all teachers had to be respected – good or bad. Parents just did not speak up against them. Not anymore. When we were kids, we just listened to our parents, very rarely opposing what they said or talking back though we may have held a lot of contrary opinions. Not anymore again!
So, well there is a teacher who picks on a child only because he seems to know more than her or may sometimes pose questions or point out some errors in the information she gives. Adult ego bruises easily especially when a student questions her. Sounds a bit juvenile to me. And when I take it up with her, she has nothing to say in her defense. In fact, she heaps praises upon the student and mentions that he keeps her on her toes and motivates her to teach better!
I also had the pleasure of talking to a teacher who calls all kids a nasty name. When I asked her why she would say something so appalling, she said it was to motivate the students. If I rolled my eyes at her it must have been done subconsciously. Then she grumbled that kids were way too sensitive these days. She was trying to toughen them up. I could only shake my head at her explanation. An old lady that she is, she did say that she would take care of not calling children names which I felt was just lip service. But, it made me think about why some teachers continue to behave in archaic ways.
15 year olds are not kids. They have a mind of their own. And the reason for all education is to enable them to think and question. As a parent, my kids challenge my knowledge at all times. It is not a nice feeling, but it is something I have to concede to them. They are more tuned in, and my knowledge may not be updated. In short, they may know more. I don’t argue about it or let my ego come in the way. I feel happy that they read and assimilate. I would hope that the teachers would think similarly and not try to scuttle their free thinking and imagination.
Also there is no point in lamenting about the good old days. Thankfully, this is one aspect that has changed for the better in our education system. Your behaviour will be discussed by children and where needed parents will question you about it. No authority can be above questioning including parents.
I know that behaviours and mindsets don’t change easily. But we must stand up for our children especially when they are wrongly picked upon. Maybe the teacher will stop herself the next time she lashes out at a student for questioning something she thought was absolute knowledge. Because there is no absolute knowledge just facts that can change with time.
What are your thoughts on this? Do you find some teachers hanging on to the old style of teaching which invites no questioning, no discussion?
Pics courtesy: Shutterstock