Posted by: Madhavi CN | July 14, 2012

Orientation For Parents of A First Grader

Last week there was an “orientation program for parents” in my daughter’s school. She is in the 1st grade, so probably we parents were in need of the right orientation to deal with it!!!

It was with nostalgia, we parents settled in those miniature benches of the classroom, each mulling over the memories of those teachers who successfully contributed to our love or hate for a subject and made us into what we are.

The class teacher walked in and gave us her appreciation of how good we were as parents for attending the program even when we had ‘other pressing issues.’ With no time to waste, we quickly moved on to the agenda. The class teacher opened our eyes with many poignant statements. One of which was: The students must consistently be getting 90% in all the 3 terms in order to get the Distinction Certificate. If a student gets 95% in two terms and an 85% in one term, she would not be eligible for it! I don’t know how many parents really cared for the Distinction, but I heard a father ask “What if my son is ill during the exams?” The teacher dashed his hopes saying that parents are advised (‘oriented,’ I guess) not to send their children to school when unwell. The school has a policy of not sending the child back home during the school hours.

I already started having an uneasy feeling of what I had put myself and my daughter into. To worsen that there was another one coming.

This time it was about the syllabus. A child who was comfortable with simple 3 letter words (syllabus and teaching methodology for PPII(UKG) were wonderful, no denying that) had to suddenly cope up with the “absolute nonsense” of taking a spelling test on words like “aeroplane, umbrella, orange, bucket, croak and so on” in the first month of the first term!!! Here too, many of the parents voiced out that the child should be taught simpler words before jumping to such complex words where the only way of learning them would be by rote. The teacher said that they have taken that into consideration and that is the reason she gave the kids TWO days time to take a test of 10 such words! With a lot of wisdom, she added that the child can easily learn complex words like that – “all that they need to do is by-heart.” One of her statements was that these 5-6 year olds were supposed to write an “essay” on “transportation” so they need to know the spelling of “aeroplane!” Why can’t they let the child experience the ‘train’ before an aeroplane was a puzzle. Since she did not understand our point here, I started explaining the whole thing with some examples of the words. When other parents joined, she meekly suggested that we give it in writing. We did that but wondered if there would be any impact on the long established system.

As a parent my response to this was to show my daughter the beauty of building words (and how she is enjoying it!) and let the words in the syllabus take a short vacation. She scored 4 out of 10 in the test but I am proud of her, because she is playing with words and that is what matters finally.

Distinction after all is also about being clear to the senses or intellect!


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