G started "big school" yesterday. Since she loves going to school and has been a star at her play school throughout the last year, she's really been looking forward to experiencing the "big school". She had remembered one of the kids from the "Admission Day" and having spotted her in the crowd, was only too thrilled to go and reunite with her. They talked shop animatedly while we parents hung around waiting to be called into the respective classrooms. At last when it was time, the motley crowd trouped to the respective sections alloted to our kids. 60 kids per 20x10, accompanied by parents. The chaos is best left to your wild fertile imaginations. G was happy to be lost in the crowd with friend and that kept me happy. Class was dismissed within an hour and we were all relieved to get back to a life of veritable sanity.
Same routine today. Only it's weaning away session. So parents please leave kids at the classroom doorstep and vamoos. Easier said than done of course. By the time G and I reached the classroom I could hear howling sounds. G is most disturbed by such sounds, except when she's doing it herself and despite being an out and out extroverted friendly child, she suffers from stranger anxiety at times. So my super heroine (she was playing ring-a ring-a roses all this while with sundry other heroes and heroines, as we were waiting for assembly to get over and enter the classrooms) gets all jittery with butterflies doing the salsa in her stomach and refuses to let me go. By this time there are 58 of the 60 kids in a classroom bawling inconsolably and G's so perturbed that she thinks that 's the way one has to react. So she joins the choir! But I notice the most dreadful change. The smile in her eyes is replaced by a fear that will take a long brainwashing session. I could empathise with her since my patience was also wearing out as the bawling grew louder. I mean 60 kids, at even 1 decibel each, was way beyond the sound level my eardrums could endure and here there were brats stretching their voice chords well beyond the permissible limits. And there were two middle-aged teachers with an assistant ayah to help pacify the lot. 3 of them for three score? Fat chance!
I didn't know who was more lost...the kids or the teachers.
I just know I was disgusted. And here I thought I was putting my daughter into one of the so-called "good schools" in Bangalore. They were just psyching the kids out in the torture chambers. No wonder the kids start hating school as much as the teachers hate the kids forever. I mean there should be a limit to being greedy and making money. But as a friend rightly points out, there's absolutely no limit to being greedy, even if you are in a supposedly altruistic profession such as teaching.
Why can't they have 20-30 kids in a class which they can manage instead of bundling 60 of them and then dealing with the howling lot as if they were bloody lost kids in a Kumbh Mela? That's because they are born sadists with a mission to traumatise tots. They revel at the sight of tormented souls and take immense pleasure in further tormenting them, mentally if not physically, and psychologically for sure. They'd probably have withdrawal symptoms if they saw the kids happy and laughing from day one!
A friend's daughter told her yesterday she hates going to school because the teachers don't look happy when they come to class. I felt the same today. Why can't they at least have fresh young pleasant looking B. ED graduates, who can gell better with kids, rather than have unsexed, frustrated and sad looking middle aged women to handle more than a handful of grand children? The above might sound sexist, but kids naturally endear themselves to pleasant faces, I know from experience. And most kids these days go to a montessori school before moving on to a regular school. At the montessori, they have about 15-20 kids, each one of whom is paid individual attention and treated like human beings. The transition to a regular school then becomes traumatic for the sheer size and inhuman treatment.
Kids hate being cooped up in a room full of strangers, even if the strangers were all the same size. They should be allowed to mingle in the open and get familiar with each other, before being cooped up inside the four walls. Don't the monsters know? Even if they do, I guess they choose to ignore it, 'cause it doesn't suit their style. Huh?
I asked G after school why she cried, when she was such a brave girl and always liked going to school. Her reply ad verbatim: "Mamma, the silly kids were crying. I got scared. So I put my hand in my ear and I also cried." I did tell her she wasn't silly, so hopefully tomorrow is going to be a better day:)
I knew it was a ripple effect and also know these "experienced" teachers will tide over these teething problems with great panache. But at what cost?
We are helpless mortals. Even if we do raise our voices, and tell the teachers to leave 'em kids alone, we can do precious little to change the system. What's worse, we Indians survive DESPITE our goddamn schools and the education system.
So, we only hope the monsters who suppress our children and turn them into unthinking robots die and go to hell.