Sonal, Serin’s daughter turned from a chirpy six old to a gloomy, grumpy child. She suddenly became very rebellious. She would wake up in the morning but refuse to go to school. Right from Kindergarten, the child loved going to school and showed no kind of fuss. That’s what puzzled Serin. After a lot of cajoling she would agree to go to school but once she reached there, she would refuse to sit in the classroom. The child would run away as though she was terribly irritated or frightened. It became a concern for her teachers and parents. Even the school counsellor was unable to handle the issue.
The issue caught the attention of the school chairman. He took the child, made her sit in his office and observed her. The chairman’s office was in a quiet zone in the school. At first, the child sat in his office without any fuss, just looking around. But when the bell started ringing, she suddenly became agitated and ran out. He brought her back, pacified her and continued to observe her. Every forty minutes when the bell rang, she became hysterical. Within two hours the chairman nailed the problem! He suspected an ENT issue. He rang up her parents and asked them to take her to an ENT specialist. Upon examination it was found that the child had severe ear infection which was painful and got aggravated whenever there was any kind of loud sound like the school bell, blaring music and classroom noise. Without complaining or pointing fingers at anyone, Serin sought guidance and advice of the school authorities and resolved the issue with the support of all.
A few months later, in the same school, there was a case of bullying. In this case, however, the parents, instead of seeking the school’s support, went on the attack mode. They accused the school, principal and teachers of being negligent and went on a rant against students they assumed were the bullies. Charges and accusations were traded, and soon, this led to an atmosphere of anger and mistrust. It became a no-win situation for the girl who was caught in the midst of this bitter dispute.
Same school, same authorities, yet one child benefitted, the other one was hurt even more. The difference is the attitude and reaction of the parents and teachers in handling the issues.
Parents must remember that their children will be at the receiving end of such unpleasant consequences when the parents and teachers don’t see eye-to-eye. Complications between the two parties, ultimately, affect the children’s academic performance, involvement in school activities, interest in education and ultimately in their holistic development. It’s important for the parents to make an effort to see things from the perspective of the teachers. The teachers too must be empathetic towards the parents.
For teachers, information about children’s home environment helps structure their teaching methods to suit the children’s needs. For parents, a clear picture of the children’s school environment helps contribute better to their education and grooming. Here comes the importance of parent-teacher partnership!
Muneera Mammikutty is the Head of the Department of English (Primary) in Bharatitya Vidya Bhavan, Kuwait. She is a Post-Graduate in English Literature with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Teaching of English. She has 31 years of experience in teaching, and in administration and management of school activities. She has trained teachers in Creative Teaching, Multiple Intelligence, Experiential Learning and Computer Aided Teaching.