teachers, attitudes and egos

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.

teachers, attitudes and egos

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.

teachers, attitudes and egos

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

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26 Thoughts on “Teachers, Attitudes and Egos

  1. I wonder how I’ll act in such situations, Rachna. I remember once when my teacher had unnecessarily picked upon me, my dad had gone and spoken to her. He didn’t yell, he didn’t shout but he spoke so, what is the word, I don’t know, maybe respectfully and tactfully that she stopped doing that to me. I agree when you say that things have changed now and people need to change with the times, and teachers and parents specifically because kids depend on them. I just hope I can be half as good as handling situations as my dad was, still is if need me and as you are. oh by the way I have a parent teachers meeting at M’s creche today. I don’t even know what they will discuss at this stage..
    Nabanita Dhar recently posted…#MommyTalks – Ugly Is A Word I Won’t Teach My ChildMy Profile

    • Kudos to your dad, Naba. Trust me, we speak with a lot of tact and very politely as well but we are assertive because these are not nice things to do. In a way, it teaches our children not to suffer BS and speak up. Also, we really don’t want them to lose their inquisitive nature and actually stop learning.

      They have PTIs at creches? Must be just an interaction to get your feedback or something. Don’t worry. And when the time comes, you will do just fine for M at the PTIs.
      Rachna recently posted…Teachers, Attitudes and EgosMy Profile

  2. It’s a tough call especially when we know that the teacher is being unfair towards the child. Trying to gently broach the subject can still backfire at times by the teacher taking it out on the kid. That’s happened with Gy last year. Did damage her self esteem considerably. I’d hope that with so many tools and articles available today, teachers would think before acting on impulse. Well, one can at least hope they would. It’s a question of ego and grown adults are not the best at taking either suggestions or advice as we already know.
    Shailaja Vishwanath recently posted…Life as a parenting blogger: A special sessionMy Profile

    • So sorry to hear that Gy was targeted by a teacher. So far, I haven’t had a single bad experience whenever I’ve broached the subject. The Principal also has been very receptive and prompt with sticky issues. I would hope that the teachers would be more clued in and modify their styles of teaching. Unfortunately, ego is such a major deterrent. Hopefully the teachers will be more careful.
      Rachna recently posted…Teachers, Attitudes and EgosMy Profile

  3. Very well said, Rachna! The thing is, children these days get far more exposure and have access to multiple resources making them know much more than what we did and do. We as adults must accept this and instead of letting our egos come in the way, we must appreciate them and encourage them to read and learn more. Questioning is a sign of curiosity. And we all know most scientific discoveries and inventions are a result of curiosity. The teacher must try and help the child know more about his query by doing her own research instead of picking on him. I somehow feel that since physical punishments are a strict No-No, teachers are verbally insulting children wherever and whenever they can. I have myself had to confront one teacher in this session. She said she will continue to be strict as otherwise children will not take her seriously. Telling a child repeatedly that the teacher has little or no hope from them breaks their confidence in themselves. Unfortunately there’s still a lot to be changed in the education system.
    Rekha recently posted…Faces of India #1My Profile

  4. Well put across Rachna. Indeed we need to stand up for our kids to help them develop confidence in themselves. The bane of my kids’ school? They have no PTA body! Can you believe it? Instead they have a PT meeting once a 2 months sometimes longer which are so crammed that its a wonder if one gets more than 2 minutes with the teacher…total chaos. Anarchy at its best, I would say! Since my son is already in the 9th, its just a year more I say and console myself. Honestly, teachers have a much larger impact on a child’s psyche than even parents at some point, so it is really crucial to have good, encouraging and positive teachers as role models.
    Kala Ravi recently posted…Love in Frames – Frame 5My Profile

  5. I am fed up of PTIs. It is more of parents show. As you said, it is on the Teacher’s maturity and involvement with the children which is helpful. They need to change with changing times.
    Lata Sunil recently posted…Untamed by Laxmi HariharanMy Profile

  6. I can totally identify with the teacher’s ego getting bruised by a super smart student. Happened a lot with me, and I used to look exactly like Hermione Granger, standing up in class with her hand held high, waiting for Professor Snape to look at her and allow her to answer.
    Sigh. Those were the days.
    And I thought that things would get better for the next gen of kiddos!

    I guess the best way to deal with things like these is to ensure that the kiddo has a healthy level of self-esteem, and understands when to take the teacher’s criticism to heart and when not to. I know, it seems like a grown up answer, and teens do get influenced by the way teachers interact with them, even if it is totally uncalled for and not the kiddo’s fault.
    But what to do, there has to be mature behaviour on someone’s part, right? Either the teacher or the student!
    Mithila Menezes @fabulus1710 recently posted…Business Lessons from Lord VoldemortMy Profile

    • You are absolutely right, Mithila. That is what I keep doing. Making him strong from within so that he does not take these negative comments to heart. Sadly, he seems more mature than the lady I spoke to. But yes, he felt better that we spoke to the teacher.

      Apparently she was a bit subdued yesterday. I hope it is food for thought for her as well. Thanks for your insightful comment.
      Rachna recently posted…Review of Personalized Bath Towels from Perfico.comMy Profile

  7. The son has more complaints than the parents as he is the one in trouble all the time….so no comments here 😀

  8. It takes a great deal of humility and no ego to accept that someone younger and inexperienced has more knowledge than you. In this age, it is inevitable. Kids mature fast and they are exposed to so much more information than we ever were in our whole school going years. Instead teachers should be competitive and make sure that the kids know better than they do. This happened to my cousin. She was taught wrong fractions in Maths class. The next day many went to the teacher and told her it’s wrong. She was gracious enough to accept it (not that she had any choice). We cannot rely on on school principles anymore.
    Rajlakshmi recently posted…Hook knee in the Armpit !!My Profile

  9. The problem with teaching and teachers is that very few people take it up as a vocation. For most it is just an occupation and that too not a first choice. H is already facing something similar at school. I think most teachers would prefer non-questioning kids of average intelligence because they are less ‘trouble’ rather than appreciating and encouraging the natural curiously of an intelligent child.
    Obsessivemom recently posted…Why I will continue to push my kids to studyMy Profile

    • I agree, Tulika. If it makes their work easier, they would rather have kids who just copy what they share and not ask them questions. We can’t change their aptitude or mindset but can at least stop them for picking on your child for the wrong reasons.

  10. A couple of times I had trouble understanding what my son’s teacher was saying and it made me wonder how he puts up with her. From my school days I’ve seen teachers detest children who ask too many questions. Many times it comes to ‘Meet me after the class and don’t disturb everyone else!’ As if the additional knowledge would hurt others.
    Such archaic mentality is slowly fading away and thankfully I haven’t had to encounter it yet. Hope I don’t have to.

  11. Sometimes I feel these days the teachers are also under stress and pressure from the school management.
    Class teacher of my sons class hit a boy in class. It was so shocking thing for all of the parents. The teacher is very bubbly and friendly but something must have gone wrong. The boy is known for being mischief but still hitting is like a crime these days. I never thought she would do such thing. things are all ok now.
    Sapana recently posted…Outstanding Names Inspired by Hindu Goddess for Baby GirlsMy Profile

  12. Perfect post Rachna Ji. My parents were teachers and my wife also was a teacher for 17 years (before she sought voluntary retirement from her service due to marital compulsions) and myself would have been far more satisfied with my career had I opted for the noble (yes, noble !) profession of teaching. There is nothing to disagree in this post. I pity those teachers who believe in corporal punishment and names calling. It’s disgusting. If you humiliate the kid today because he is weak and helpless before you as of now, then be ready to be humiliated by him in future when the statuses may be vice-versa.

  13. I think its a bit of both, I am what i am because of my teachers who took so much pain for me , I dont say that hitting a child or punishement is Recommended but a BIT of discipline is required.

    You are lucky to have lovely kids but I can tell you otherwise too, I have seen kids spoilt and no respect for teachers because there is no FEAR of anything and that is what is missing .. I use to be so afraid that what if a teacher said something to my parents .. these days its opposite

    there is a fine balance and as you say some rotten eggs in teachers too who are in the profession just for a pay check..

    I think we have molly coddled our kids too much these days.. but then that is just my view as I probably see or saw only the wrong side when i was on duty or working …

    Bikram’s
    BIkram Mann recently posted…P- Phunniessssss… 🙂 Part 1My Profile

  14. I just wish your kid is not reprimanded in any way for you standing up against the injustice (and rightly so). I feel it is all personal bias, can’t be generalized across the teaching community – some choose to live in their own world!

    • Oh he won’t be. If a teacher picks on him for no reason then l will escalate the matter. I am not worried about that. I am not saying all teachers are bad but some are quite rotten.

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