Are you forcing your child to attend just for the image of the school?
By Madhurie Singh, November 30, 2012
I am appalled at the call I got from a parent this morning!
She wants her daughter to continue going to a school just because the school has a very good brand image in the city of Pune!
This is how our conversation went:
Mom: I am very disturbed. My daughter has flunked in class 2.
Me: Oh! Do you know why?
Mom: Yes, I think she is not able to cope with the studies in her class.
Me: Is she youngest in the class?
Mom: She is July born. So her age is right.
Me: Is she physically tiny or mentally not able to cope other sports related activities too?
Mom: She plays all the time. Cannot sit in one place for more than 5 minutes. Does not like to do her homework at all.
Me: Atleast she sits for 5 minutes. How much time she is able to concentrate on games?
Mom: All the time. She does not even hear me calling when she is playing.
Me: Ok, that means she can concentrate too. So why is she not paying attention to studies is the problem?
Mom: Yes. I was told by her teacher that she needs to meet a remedial teacher? What is that?
Me: Oh they are teachers who teach kids who need special attention in one or few subjects due to reasons not under their control.
Mom: I did not understand.
Me: Well. Suppose a child has moved from US to India, the remedial teacher will be needed to cope up with Hindi and Social Science or History due to change of place causing the knowledge gap.
Me: Then there are also kids who are weak in a subject so they need to go to a tuition teacher or remedial teacher to cope up with class work.
Me: Again, there are kids who have learning difficulties. All of us have a special way to learn. I learn by reading and writing. You may learn by listening to someone like a teacher. Others may learn by talking aloud.
Me: But since in schools, the teachers teach by talking and writing on the board, the kids who can learn by reading on their own or talking aloud will have difficulty in learning by listening.
Me: But slowly we all learn to learn best by our own ways on our own.
Me: But young children obviously do not know about the learning ways. It is the duty of the parents to find out and tell the teacher or vice versa.
Mom: Oh! I do not know about this at all. I will have to find out the learning method for my child first. But the teacher said my daughter has a learning disability.
Me: Also you need to get her disability corrected. And most important, asap pull out your child from her current school and take admission to a school where her learning disabilities is handled by qualified teachers. Most schools do not have such teachers.
Mom: But I do not want her to go to any other school! This is the best school in Pune. It has the best brand name. Also its such a prestige to get admission in this school! I have really worked hard to get her admission in this school.
Me: Ok then the only solution I can think of is she repeats this same class next year too. Some kids start learning very slow but later they pick up the speed.
Mom: No way! I can not do that! What will my friends and neighbors think of?
Me: She is your daughter. You must think of her first. Friends and neighbors will support you for this brave decision if they are sensible people. If they talk against, they are careless and ignorant about your daughter's future. These people will talk anyway bad whether you change the school or not!
Mom: But I was thinking of taking help of the remedial teacher suggested by my daughter's class teacher.
Me: By now I had understood that this parent will not take even an iota of my advice. But still I wanted to try a last time for the sake of the innocent girl.
Me: How about you first talk to the remedial teacher to get her opinion about your daughter's ;earning problem and then we talk later.
Mom: Is there any other way you can talk to the school. They have given me a warning that next year they will remove my daughter from their school if she fails again in the final exams.
Me: What can I tell them? And why would I do anything to harm the future of your child? I am sure she has one area where she can excel. You have to explore that. You could try it by sending her to me. But I would still ask you to first go to the psychiatrists and get an IQ and learning abilities test done. Only after that I will be able to guide you.
Mom: Ok. Can I again call you?
Me: Only once you have her reports.
This is the transcript of the call which I was forced to write as this is the same conversation I have been having since last one year! 🙁
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