Even in the present “Google Era”, parents and teachers have a great hand in shaping and moulding the personality of a child. We are generally, more than happy to take the credit, for a child’s success, then in such a scenario, it goes without saying that we are equal partners in their crimes and failures too! Parents and teachers have to work hand in hand, supporting one another, towards their common goal – the child. Once we acknowledge and understand this, it is easier to reach the desired goal.
They say teaching is an art but you can’t excel in an art that you are not passionate about. So it has to come from the heart. The child in your class is like an empty canvas waiting to be painted upon. Now it is up to you to choose the right blend of colours depending on the theme (the child) you are working on. We don’t dress up the same way everyday – do we?
It was my first day in a school in Chennai where I had just moved in because of my husband’s transfer. As I entered the class allotted to me, eager to know about the brats I will have to handle this academic session, my eyes caught a dusky, chubby child – highly lethargic, who moved with great difficulty, even to stand and greet the teacher. I can tolerate a chirpy child, poor in academics but a lazy one – a big no! We had to co-exist in the same class, so I decided to befriend him.In the process, I bombarded him with a number of simple, kind and sweet questions, but he just stood there like a statue, admiring the floor below. Other students, advised me not to waste my time with him as he was always like that.
Taking their advice I moved on to interact with the other kids who were now bombarding me with questions as I was a new face on the campus and they wanted to know everything about me – a normal behaviour of grade four kids.
On going through the records, I learnt that this chubby friend of mine had a very literate parental background but has been poor in academics even in the previous academic year. Gradually with my attention and firmness, I could see a change in his writing skills. Earlier he would never complete his notes, but now he manages to write his work. (In my class, parents are strictly forbidden to show their writing skills on their child’s notebooks😂)
Then came the day when this friend of mine has to speak in ‘General Assembly’ – a day where students choose a topic to talk about, in front of all their co- graders and they do this in turns. Anybody in my place would have skipped this child and gone to the next child capable of talking. (Thinking that he could be given a chance later in the year). But I gave him a few topics to choose from and prepare.
He came the next day, with a write-up, written by his mom. I told him to address his class as a practice session. He tried to read the paper in his hand with great difficulty. I lost my patience and told him very clearly that, nobody in my class uses a paper to talk in front of an audience. And if he doesn’t come prepared the next day, he will lose his chance!
At times, we have to be firm with the kids and define the rules very clearly. And believe me, this worked!Like any normal kid, he had done his homework, and was ready with his talk. At first, I made him speak in front of his class. (a general trend I follow to boost their confidence) To his own surprise, he spoke well – loud and clear. He was applauded by the whole class! The next day, with boosted confidence, to the surprise of all present in the auditorium, he delivered his first speech flawlessly and was applauded by everyone around.
I praised him liberally in front of the whole class, acknowledged his achievement and patted him on his back with love. This was the turning point in his life. Since that day, he was a whole new person, confident and beaming with pride. He started taking interest in other areas too. When I met his parents in the PTM,they gave me the whole credit for their child’s changed personality! My trust in him helped him regain his lost confidence. This would not have been possible, without the trust, support and cooperation of the parents.
As teachers, we have to ensure that, we give each child an opportunity to prove his worth and tap his/her innate talents. We should devote more time towards the below average kids. We should find some area or reason to encourage, praise and pat the child.If you can’t find any,even things like – your haircut is good or I love your bag or pen – trust me, anything will work! And believe me, your pat can do wonders. It will definitely work better than the traditional slapping, scoffing or shouting which generally puts off a child. So the new mantra is, “A pat can do what a slap can’t”.
Being a parent or a teacher is one of the most challenging roles in today’s society. Today’s smart generation need smart handling – so it’s time we handle our kids with some smart, firm rules, topped with love. Also define simple weekly goals and carefully assist and guide them to achieve the same. Most importantly, appreciate their smallest achievements as these resonate and boost the child’s confidence in himself and you…
Hope my experiences help you in your journey…
Feel free to share your experiences in the comments section.