Thursday, September 15, 2011

Happy going to school?

I wrote about the current confusion of choosing a school for Chutku and I got some wonderful responses. Very very informative and useful. Thanks to both Sangi and RM for making some of my  resolves stronger and also making me think some more - Sangi's comment on peer pressure on the parents (I didn't give that a thought at all!) and talking to the teachers if possible before putting the child in the school. RM's comment on not comparing the children...Do read these 2 posts...

Both of them mentioned something either in their posts or as comments - As long as the child is happy going to school I might not have to worry...

Let me first give my own example - I studied until 1st std in a local school hardly 5mins walk from home. Granny used to pick me up from school everyday and I also knew the way back home. Then one day Dad realised that the complete syllabus was not being covered and most of the activities in the text books were left undone. That made him feel that in the long run its going to affect all my exams - especially when I have to give any board exams. His thinking of if they cannot cover lessons in class 1 how will they do it in class 7/10? So he decided to change my school - a well known convent about 8-9kms away from home,more expensive, had bus facility,good play grounds, good teachers (he had colleagues children going there).I had my entrance exam, did pretty well and was given admission to class 2.
I HATED the school. To begin with I had no friends. All friend 'groups' had already been formed and I was an outcast. For an extrovert like me - I had no one to talk to. To begin with I had to walk to the bust stop about 10mins from home(Dad/Mom used to drop me), get into the school bus with all seniors - and I didn't know the way back home from school and that used to freak me out - what if I miss the school bus someday? I used to run blindly to my bus as soon as the last bell rang and only then the knot in my stomach would release. No one to talk to in school, no one to eat the food with, walk back home in the afternoon with a friend and her elder sister (real sweet and caring). And today Im surprised when I look back and realise that those groups were made based on the monetary level of the parents - do you come to school by car? What car does your father drive? Oh! You father doesn't own a car etc etc; And I never fit in. Though I did really well academically, I used to come home crying most days. I believe Mom noticed that I had become quieter, used to cry for no reason and didn't like going to school at all...
Then for class 4 Mom/Granny convinced Dad to change my school again to a one closer home, showed me the way to school (about 20mins walk from home), and it being a new school all the kids were new too - so I had a chance to make friends with everyone and then I just became myself again. Not that I topped the school or anything but I used to always be one in t op 5 and that seemed to be enough for Mom.

Why did I write all this - This experience of mine has left me very wary of Big schools, school far from home... I wonder what guarantee is there that the teachers will be kind and good? Even if they are - what if there are class barriers of money when my son wants to make friends - yes - being a part of a group is very important to any child. Just being a topper will not make him a good human being, will not teach him public interaction nor will it give him exposure to good and bad behaviour/manners and such...

Also, I realised much later that I would be scared - scared that 1 day if the class extended by 5mins I will miss my bus and get lost - not know how to go back home. I don't want Chuktu to go through the same fear. Insecurity and fear of not knowing how to go back home... Hence my reluctance in terms of distance.

Since groups were already established - there were sports groups,extra curricular groups and academic groups and no one wanted me there - so I began to lose confidence in myself. That is a big factor to the child's growth - isn't it?

And I know my Dad wanted the best for me. He had done his research - I remember him coming to school and talking to the principal, I remember the first day they took me to the school and how I played in the play area and liked it, I attribute my knowledge in English language to that school, it still remains a pretty good school winning competitions, good curriculum and extra curricular activities - everything that as parents anyone would look for. But my reluctance was enough for my parents to understand that the school was not for me. Because I was not happy...

And I'm trying to avoid the same mistake. Can I hit the jackpot the first time? - so my child gets everything he needs and is happy going to school...Because like all the other Moms I hear from - I completely agree - the most important factor - no matter what else - my child needs to be happy going to school...

PS: Yes, I remember all these things - though not most other happy stuff that happened even much later because these are not very pleasant memories for me - you can never forget the bad days - can you?


  1. And this is fodder for another post...

    I changed 7 schools in Baroda..and if you know Baroda its a pretty small town...yes I did change 7 schools!

    I will write about the schools one day :)

    But to tell you, what you say is true...Big schools are kinda over whelming. I remember my brother going to this 'big school' in Baroda for an year...he was depressed, refused to go to school and said he wont go to school ever (this was from a guy who would cry to come back home from school in his previous school) my parents just couldnt understand why? then they realised that most kids who came to that school had 3/4 cars, a big house, used to holiday abroad while bro used to come by a local bus, with no car in his house and used to holiday in hurt his self esteem really bad. and he was in class 6 okie? an age when you understand stuff..

    Finally ma pa realised and changed him back to his old school which was an hour from our house but bro LOVED it..he bloomed again.

    So I guess that does make a difference.

    R's school is pretty middle class and thats one of the reasons why I was okie with sending her there. Its definitely gujju dominated, but I am fine with that as well.

    Dont take too much tension the end of the day, Chutku will surely do well wherever you put him just because YOU Are taking so much care of everything..hugs to you

  2. My mum wanted to send us to a reputed ISCE school that we'd have to take a schoolbus to get to. My dad insisted on the SSC school down the road.

    My school curriculum and teachers weren't the greatest but I know plenty of kids from the reputed schools and they don't seem to have had a much greater childhood than I did nor are they doing much better in life than we are. They were mostly from wealthy families and generally had a high opinion of themselves (reinforced by the school, which I find slightly unbearable actually).

    My cousin went to that school and the funny thing was one day she said - "I wish we had cool activities like the ones in your school". The cool activity in my school being the one and only out of town trip (to a village where we lived with poor villagers ). I was amazed because they had soo many activities in their school. What I appreciated in my school also was mixing with kids from different backgrounds, that's a valuable world view I took away that kids from the schools which had predominantly wealthy kids didn't.

    I think your difficulties may have been exacerbated by changing schools which I can imagine would be stressful but yeah, background of kids is a big deal too.

  3. I think how happy a child is in a school is a combination of factors - the child's personality first and then size of school/class room/teachers/method of teaching/space given to child to explore and discover/positive disciplining, and several others that I can't think of now.

    Good luck, am sure Chutku will do great when this level of thinking is being put in to a choice of school. Better this now so that when you choose a school you are comfortable and can relax! :-D

  4. @ Bride: Changing schools where I had friends would'nt have made such a big impact but since I know what it is to be the "odd man out" Im trying to 'protect' my child from that I think...

    @RM, Sangi: Hahah! These things are cropping up because I see people whose views I dont completely agree and I wanted to know if Im wrong in my thinking! I think its like Im going to first day of school myself! For all I know the little bugger might take to the school like fish to water - no matter the place - and thats all we want. And I might as well close my eyes and put him into the first available school...

    @Sangi - Tell me, tell me,Do you really ever relax for the child?

  5. Jeez, no. Though you have to. I am actually the most relaxed I have ever been right about now. Can't say what tomorrow will bring! :-D

    I think you will find that your school years were easier. We joke that we're actually going through school again and graduating standard after standard and actually figuring out science and history now - finally!

  6. I was put in a school where they gave importance only to studies..It was very very strict school. I was into sports those days and was playing for my district. But the school never encouraged that and refused to give leaves for my tournaments. I hated my school and when I told this to my parents they were put me to a different school without giving much thoughts about it..
    I hope you hit the jackpot the first time, if not there is always a second time, like in my case.. All the best Chutko and to you too..

  7. I totally agree. Big and prestigious schools aren't always the best. I wish more parents would realise that.

  8. Hi there, I found you through the wild child. Seems like you have all the right questions, so I'm sure you'll choose a school that your child loves. The best part he has a mom who he can talk to if he doesn't like his new school :-)