Ruchika based out of Mysore, Karnataka is a full time homemaker, counsellor and a storyteller. She wanted to share this experience through a blog where she wanted to share the quantum of stress she went through as pa parent during the school admission of her child this year.
Ruchika shares with Mums and Stories, “One fine Sunday morning, when I settled with my cup of tea and newspaper. As I started browsing the paper, one colourful advertisement of a half size of one side of paper caught my attention. That was about one well-known brand of chain of schools in country. Boosting about all available facilities, well developed infrastructure, how the kid’s personality will be groomed etc etc. As I went further, I found many similar advertisements. Add to this there was one paper release regarding the upcoming educational fair in our city. Then I realized the results are out that’s why schools/colleges are on high in regard of advertising their brands. All this brought back my memories of stress we went through when we were in a situation of deciding on school or we were out for shopping of school for our little one.
As I have used the word shopping here, let me tell you a phenomenon or nature of ‘shopping’. Every person has different take on the process of shopping, for some it is need based, where for others it is window shopping or time pass. For some it turns to be a therapy or just getting away from a boring daily routine. For some it is an opportunity to catch up with friends over a cup of coffee and some light & heavy shopping bags. Now in the present days, we have new trend of shopping; online shopping. We are aware that’s the easy way of choosing things, just at one click.
But the ‘shopping’ which I am talking here is the shopping of schools for children. Which I thing parents who are reading blog will agree with me. Which is the most difficult and complicated experience any parent can ever have. Choosing the right school or the right board or right curriculum for our child becomes the most bewildered situation for us. That we end up doubting our own ability of making a right decision for our own child. Multiple choices of schools and the availability of many boards. And where each school shouting from the highest cliff of the city that they are the best choice for our child. Well planned infrastructure, with sports ground, swimming pool and after school activities has become a trend these days. Along with main stream schools now we have alternative schools walking on the ramp and introducing the new fashion or call it as a new trend. It sounds like, where people are bored of conventional methods of schooling and they want new modern methods. Here the child, is given a platform to choose what he or she wants to learn. The schools of course claim to cater all the learning needs of the child. Starting from the critical thinking, analytical thinking, creative thinking etc etc…. you name it and they will provide you.
When the concept of alternative schools started grasping the attention of parents, the main stream schools suddenly realized that they are lagging behind in the rat race. So, they have also pulled their socks up and started offering the multiple boards under one roof. It’s like till grade 7 children will study under one board or curriculum and then from grade 8 onwards they will offer another board which is more in demand. School with the concept of learning through nature, like gurukuls or where there is no board no classroom or no curriculum; are also not behind in this race.
All this sounds like a, WOW!! experience for a parent. As if you are entering in super market of schools. Pull up your trolley, go around rack to rack to choose and pick which school suits to you and your child’s needs and aspirations. Here starts the complication and confusions. When you have too many choices and each one looks perfect to your requirement. The decision becomes more difficult. And here you don’t have mix and match option. If I am not wrong, majority of the parents go through this kind of dilemma once in a life time, to choose a right school.. The same experience we had in our life.
By profession I am counsellor and life coach. Most of the time parents have approached me to take advice to choose school for their child. Which is good or I would say, best brand in town. According to them I am a counsellor and I have answers to all their problems. And I have also tried my best to help them decide. At the same time, I always had this question in my mind, do we really have perfect schools for our kids. Am I also going to face the same situation of confusion, when our time will come? At that moment I always use to brush that thought. Because, I was on the side of the table which provide advices. And, one fine day our time also came and then the stress started. That day I felt, I am on the other side of the table, ‘the advice seeker’.
We checked many schools, the best schools in our city and took feedback from many friends. we discussed which board is best for our child. Which board will provide more opportunities of learning and exploring? We had discussion on what do we want, main stream school or alternative school or nature-based learning or combination of all or school provide multiple board. Oh!! God, what a stress, anxiety, sleepless night, endless discussions and arguments. One fine day we visited so called best school of our city, where half of the student population of our city studies. Please pardon me, if I am hurting anyone’s feelings or sentiments. Huge building, huge play-ground, best technology used in classrooms, what not, you name it and you get it. But we both felt, that school was like an ocean. I personally felt, I am going to throw my child into an ocean and ask her to swim.
I know, many of the parents will say, that’s life, that’s how they learn. The reality of life is different. I totally agree, and we too want her to understand life and its reality. We want her to be strong and matured enough to deal with hardships of life. But one step at a time.
That day we both realized, the choice of school should be by keeping our daughter’s personality in mind; not based on our expectations or others.
It’s important to groom her and help her explore the world the way she likes to do. Its not important, to have large number of students in her class or modern technology or smart boards, but it’s important that she feels free to move in her class with sense of freedom. Its important, where she gets opportunity to connect with immediate surroundings not for credits or marks or presentations; just for experience. The place, where she doesn’t get judged or labelled as hyper child because she is full of energy. Where she gets groomed to use her energy in a right way.
Where she gets support to understand her emotions and moods. Where she gets accepted in spite of being highly functioning child. Not labelled as a reluctant child, because adults around her are not able to match up with her learning needs through their methods. We being modern generation parents, are aware of so many things and also complimented by our professions we are in. Still at time we fall into such difficult situations. Because we are not perfect, and can’t have everything perfect in life. This choice became easier for us, with just one change of perspective; ‘the decision should be need based not on what we want’.
End of the day we are happy as parents not as professionals or adults, that we have found a good school, not perfect school for our little one. Where we as parents/partners will work as a team with school to help our daughter to enjoy and experience learning and life. But one step at a time.
( Lead image for representation purpose only.)