The uniform disparity in ‘uniforms’….
Life has bestowed on me, the opportunity to travel and teach in various places across the lengths and breadths of our country, due to the culture of transfers in the armed forces of which I happen to be an indispensable part .
In this journey of mine across various states, schools, and cultures I have observed a striking similarity in the mindset of the parents, over the issue of the importance of ‘school uniforms’ in a child’s life. There is a great unity and harmony in this aspect for sure! Contrasting to their belief of being well turned out for any occasion or social gathering, they don’t find it important to be well turned out for school.
My general observation is that, most parents feel that they are penalized to provide uniforms to their kids. So they gave the uniform issue the least importance and provide the child with the bare minimum that is required to attend school. A few of them bought the uniforms with some enthusiasm in the beginning of the academic year but failed to maintain it.
To begin with, the neck tie which is supposed to represent and reflect the pride of the institution to which the child belongs is often seen hanging around the child’s neck, pathetically almost like a ‘noose’, beating the whole purpose for which it was designed!! I would credit this mostly to the ignorance and at times the indifference to the procedures of wearing one.
Now the story of the shirt, tunic and shorts was no different. At the beginning of the academic year, some of them had bright, new ones which were generally over-sized for the child to be comfortable in! And the ones who continued wearing the old ones were dull, worn out and undersized…Of course, a ten percent of lucky kids were always there in a batch who were well turned out and a pleasant sight to watch!
How can I forget the shoes in which I have seen the children walk so clumsily, and at times, stumble or trip and fall, with a big thud bag and all, in spite of the shoes being new!! All credit to the not so farsighted parents for buying over-sized shoes … and the irony of it is, at times I have seen that before the child actually grows to the size of the shoes, the shoes are worn out and have a hole on it for all to see! Poor planning of the parents I must say!
For a person like me, with an eye for detail, things which are out of place immediately catch my eye and I just can’t ignore the issue and proceed to teach the subject. So as a rule, for the first two months of every academic session, I always spend the first five to eight minutes of every lecture teaching the kids the right way to sit, walk, talk and wear the uniform in the right way!
Later as the year passed by I used to be smart at my job. As I entered the class I would just praise a couple of kids for their shiny shoes, clean socks, properly tucked in shirt, a necktie in place and of course a good haircut too! At times, I made the class clap for these well turned out kids. This trick really works! Gradually you will find very few uniform defaulters.
It’s very easy to motivate the little kids. They are willing to do anything to be in your good books. Many times, I have seen the children trying to adjust their ties, and uniform in an attempt to look their best, to impress me as I enter the class for my lecture. So, I guess I have managed to teach them something!
As I look back, little things like these bring a smile on my face and I feel my journey in this profession has been worthwhile. At school level, it is very important for parents and teachers to teach their children basic manners and etiquettes about how to walk, talk, dress up neatly and carry themselves in a presentable way.
True education is not just trying to teach a child to excel in academics, but to excel in all aspects of life; that is to bring about an overall development in the personality of the child.
Tips for buying uniforms
# Always buy at least two pairs of uniform every year. Sending your child in a new pair of uniform, at the beginning of the new academic year helps in boosting your child’s confidence and self-esteem amongst his peers.
# While buying a new pair of uniform, buy only one size up. Wearing oversized uniforms makes your child look less smart and sloppy and gets the attention of everyone around for the wrong reasons.
# Make it a point to check the collar size of the shirt especially if your child is expected to wear a tie as a part of the uniform.(after putting the collar button on, you should have space for one finger at least between the neck and the collar) A properly worn necktie should cover the collar button completely!
# Make sure that you buy the right size of shorts or skirts. It is always better to get it tailored for healthy kids!
# Socks – Always buy the right size. Even slightly bigger ones are uncomfortable for the toes. Buy at least four pairs of it. Teach your child to put the used pair in the laundry bag the minute he is back from school. A fresh pair is a must every day!
# Ensure that you give your child a fresh hanky or tissues every day.
# Girls need a new set of ribbons every six months.
# While buying school bags invest in some branded ones as they last longer. Buy as per the requirement of the class. If the old bag is in good condition, encourage your child to use the same or to donate it to someone needy before going in for a new one.
A uniform helps to maintain equality in the class among peers. So help your child by providing him/her with the best uniform every year. This boosts your child’s morale, confidence and self-esteem and makes him feel good with his peers!
So happy shopping and happy learning!!!