“Mummy, why don’t you come to my school and be my teacher?”

Six year-old Cecil had recently been made to shift schools. Now in Grade 1, her kindergarten years were spent in a Waldorf school. Things were different there. Not that they were bad in her new school but the concept of introducing a child to education differs in a Waldorf inspired school and that of a conventional school.  For a teacher, in a Waldorf school the focus of attention is the child and here in her new school, Cecil felt that ‘lessons’ were coming in between her and her teacher. After all, in her previous school, her teacher was someone she could anytime walk up to, ask for a hug or just rest her head on her lap during free time.

Cecil’s mom – Sneha, was caught unaware when she asked her this question – “Mummy, why don’t you come to my school and be my teacher?” The first thought that came to her mind was maybe she was missing her too much. But then, wasn’t she exposed to being away from her earlier as well when she was in her previous school? What could be the reason then? This question never came up then. Why now? Sneha took it on her to find out the reason. But how? Next morning while Cecil was getting ready for school, Sneha decided to play a game with her. She asked Cecil to capture moments in her mind of her time spent at school and replay all of them when she got home. “Mummy, wants to write a story on Cecil at school. Will you help me, Cecil?” “Of course, mummy! I would love to!”

The revelations were not startling but then there is something for all of us to think about. Cecil presented a picture of her entering school, walking to her classroom, sitting on the desk assigned, struggling a bit to make place to put her bag and adjust herself on the seat. The teacher walks in, students rise to wish her followed by attendance and then there is copying from the board and repeating to what her ‘teacher’ would say aloud. The day passes off with activities like this and then it is time to return home. This got Sneha thinking – Where did the teacher even get a chance to speak with Cecil once at a one to one level? Being used to personal attention and care, for a six-year-old, the total disconnect with her teacher except for in matters related to ‘studying’ can leave the child thirsty for human interaction, in a way she is accustomed to.

The very next day, Sneha fixed up an appointment with the teacher and requested for a 10 minute meeting. The agenda was clear. She had to convey to her that her little one was longing for a few moments of personal attention and likewise many more children would be. But care had to be taken not to offend her. No teacher after all would like to be told on how best she should treat her students. They have with them years of experience. But then, looking at it from a mother’s point of view, we need to understand that our children cannot be nurtured in an environment where human touch is missing. They spend most of their waking hours in school. Academics and extra -curricular activities are of paramount importance, but so is the need to develop and sustain emotional well being. Emotionless education system may be detrimental for intellectual development of an individual.

Sneha very causally began talking with Ms. Razdan (Cecil’s class teacher) about Cecil’s need for her attention in the class. She said, “You have been a wonderful teacher to Ceceil, Ms Razdan. But she keeps on telling me that she longs to have eye contact with you and is most happy when you call out her name or call her to your table to talk to her in person. That is the way Cecil has always been. She actually longs to see her ‘mummy’ in you considering she spends so much time with you.” Bingo! Message passed. “She longs to see her ‘mummy’ in you considering she spends so much time with you.”

Next day proved to be a game changer not just for Cecil but her classmates as well. Ms, Razdan began smiling more. She began individually greeting each child in the morning as they entered the class which means she made it a point to enter the classroom before the children could come in. Children loved the new attention. Ms. Razdan now makes it a point to meet parents at least every fortnight for just about a minute of two to share progress of the child and take feedback from the parents on the child’s behavior at home.

We are not at all stating that the current form of education is wrong. We all wouldn’t be where we were if it was. But then, what needs to be understood is that the wall between education and emotion has to be brought down. We as parents need to have a close rapport with our child’s teacher. As a mother, we know best what our child wants and sharing dynamics of her changing behavior at regular intervals with her teacher will only help us to help the teacher to truly ‘teach’ our child the way she understands and accepts it best. Try it!

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