From the moment a baby is born, parents or guardian take upon themselves to shape up the upbringing of their cherished bundle of joy, they build up the self-esteem and confidence of the child. Not only parents are responsible for the child, so are teachers equally responsible for governing the behaviour, confidence, and self-esteem of a child.
This is my story, the nitty-gritty details about a much-needed change. Going back to schooling days, up until my fourth grade, I scored the highest grades, had the best handwriting, and participated in various inter school sports competitions. Being popular and had many friends, a go-getter and always did my best to complete any tasks given to me.
Suddenly everything changed. I began to gradually drop academically and no longer initiated taking part in any academic activities whatsoever. As baffling as it sounds my journey continued further into high school. On the academic front not much had changed. And for this reason, extra classes were highly recommended for my best interest. Constantly shunned away by my classmates no one dared to associate with me, and my friends had chosen to desert me too.
One incident still stands out from my school days was being tutored by another teacher in mathematics, and I started performing better under the guidance of my brilliant tuition teacher but for a strange reason my performance did not tally at school especially during my mathematics examination.
This baffled my tuition teacher, who was always impressed with my performance in the extra class sessions and wondered what was it that made me fail during the exams. When the results came out for the exam, disappointed with receiving a grade "F", my tuition teacher asked for the question sheet paper along with my answers sheet so that he could examine where the problem seemed to be.
After carefully examining my sheet of answers he realized that my mathematics teacher purposely failed me. The simple reason for this disturbing revelation was that the mathematics teacher had a personal grudge because I had chosen not to be tutored by him.
This ordeal continues when at the end of the term and after receiving my examinations results my class teacher left no stone unturned to have me ridiculed in front of all my classmates. Heartbroken, ashamed, feeling dejected and angered I sobbed away only worrying about what my mother's reaction be upon receiving the results. Watching my mother disheartened after fearfully handing over my results, my mother would embrace me with a tight hug and wipe away my tears encouraging me to perform better the next time.
With certainty I can tell you that this is likely not a typical reaction that one can expect. Let us read further to know what the reason behind such a warm reaction from my mother was. My mother had been diagnosed with a chronic illness and it was a challenging time for the family. This experience had shattered me and the only one thing that I chose was to prioritise the well-being of my mother.
Perhaps if the teachers were a bit more compassionate to guide me instead of constantly ridiculing me, I could have felt safe and performed better. And instead of my fellow classmates choosing to shun me away they could have given me a hand in assisting me in my weakness and to help me outshine my performance. Sadly, this was not the case.
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Wisdom does not lie in belittling someone, instead it lies in an empowering conviction to help one to perform better. At times one of life's greatest tragedies can give rise to leaders who are able to give direction to a much-needed revolution.
All grown up now and as difficult were my tribulations, I bravely overcame my challenges and today I am closely able to mentor, motivate and boost the confidence of anyone in need of it. Probably the weakness that arose academically strengthened me to become emphatic. To date all the credit and gratitude goes to my mother for raising me as a strong-minded soul.
What have I learnt from the experience is that life is not scripted? Stop competing with one another. Instead of outdoing one another, try making yourself better then who you were yesterday. Don't be the "rat" in the "rat race". Most importantly understand that everyone is fighting a battle you are possibly not aware of.
Be mindful of the probability that there could be a strong possibility that a child has an abusive parent, or comes from a broken family, or maybe is going through some traumatic experience which is too overwhelming to shoulder. Maybe the parent is an alcoholic or is a single parent raising a child, the list is endless. The background of a child is the key to managing the way forward as children undoubtedly thrive where there is love, care, hope, kindness, a word of encouragement and empathy.
Stringent measures should be taken whilst employing teachers. I think a teacher who is empathic can understand a child as opposed to a "Zombie" who is just employed to teach and get a salary at the end of the month. I also strongly condemn teachers being employed on terms of a "friends recommendation". If at all one need to be employed, they should be employed only by their credentials and integrity period.
An incident I remember from school, in the lower 6th form, a new teacher was providing Career Guidance. I had a session booked with her and told her how I wanted to study Banking & Finance and the teacher advised me on what subjects I ought to work hard for to get a place at university. This was relayed to my form teacher Mrs Rajan, who had a chat about it with me the next day. I clearly remember her words as if they were spoken yesterday. “Mrs Sharma told me about what you want to study at university. Clearly, she doesn’t know how poor your grades are, girls like you are good to get married and have children, there is no way you will get to university.”
Eat your heart out Mrs Rajan, I went to university and graduated in Computer Science & Networking!!! and after working on myself with the emotion of "not being good enough". I really wish teachers would have been more compassionate and kinder to the weaker students, instead of just concentrating on the best breed of stallions, the intelligent students.
- Kiran Kaur
“Why do you even bother to come to school? All you do is cause trouble and expect that we owe you, our life! If you carry on like this all you will be good for is being a low life, good for nothing and an ungrateful child, to the headteacher’s office, NOW!!!” Said my teacher in front of the entire class. Before all the telling off, the class’s meanest girl called me horrible name because of the way I looked. It got to a point where I could not take it anymore and I punched her in the face, boy she deserved what she got. The teacher only saw me punch her in the face, but she clearly missed out on the name calling and bullying that took place before that, I tried to explain to her that it was not my fault, but she would not listen to anything I had to say and ended up being suspended for a week from school. All I needed was someone with authority to hear me out, but no one did. My dad read the suspension letter and did tell me off, but also added, I hope you punched her hard. My mum was not happy with the comment from my dad, but she went to school and fought my corner when she had the meeting with the headteacher.
- Sandra Wallice
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