I have always wondered why some students dropped out, why some would enjoy so much in their ever stagnant back benches?
Taare zameen par, was one such movie that dealt with the understanding issues of innocent children who are as intelligent as you and me. Since then I have a certain kind approach towards those whom I called the failures and the back benchers.
Earlier in my schooldays, we had five sections a class. So 5th class would have five sections namely A, B, C, D, E. We were never aggregated in those days. However as I came to standard 8th, Sanskrit was a new subject that was introduced and students who had potentially higher marks got to opt for the subject. So among the whole 8th class, 60 students were Sanskrit students, a section was allotted to them, another section was allotted to the vocational students. One section for the average, one section for the little below average and lastly came the class of last benchers. So this is how the entire 8th standard was divided -300 students were made to look down upon the next student that scores a mark less than you. This setup continued till ninth and it was further assembled in the 10th, which is the final year of schooling.
If you ask me, at that time, I had many questions as to why were my classmates being shifted to another section all of a sudden? I found this oppressive and unfair. Yet who had the guts? At that time, the pressure was such that you didn’t think of anything, except your timetable and your target percentage that was set by my reverent principal. What to do? We had an open day every month, no matter how well you scored or how frustrated you were inside. No one asked. Friends had gradually declined their call duration, because of their parents, my parents, home works from school as well as from tuitions. We struggled, like a fish without water. I was mediocre student, so this metaphor applies to me at least. It took time to memorise and unless I completely understood a concept I wouldn’t be able to memorise. The back-benchers class was the best, as soon as I entered I could feel the light jovial kind of atmosphere in the room whereas in the toppers class I felt gloomy and sensed some pride. Some teachers liked the back-benchers class the most, atleast they played a little prank on their teacher and those kind teachers never mind it.
So you can say, from 13 years onwards I have been witnessing the fact of a scary situation. Scary because I lost my friends, in other sections and gradually distance increased, and I completely lost two very dear friends, they scored better than me.
Now coming to the point-why am I writing this post? I guess because I and all of us need a break! Break from being treated like the mediocre and failures in schools. At least at such a tender age we shouldn’t have known or let our children know that they are failures and pretty much mediocre. It’s just that in our country the central as well as the state governments don’t have much subjects to offer. I was different and every classmate whether they were backbenchers or scholars, no matter what, they were different. And teachers and parents should accept that fact. Why are children labelled according to their capacities of outputting the knowledge? There were handful students that completely understood a concept but had difficulty in producing it in their exams. Then there were those, who had great memory to memorise what’s written in the text book, though they seldom understood the theorem.
So what I mean to say is that each of us is unique and we must accept this great legendary fact. But somehow our very qualified and very experienced teachers forget this and are busy updating their log books so that they finish the syllabus on time.
The back benchers have really worked hard and we found them weeping also after the open day every month. We could make out from their parents faces that they were extremely annoyed with their kids. Some parents like mine whose children had a consistent linear performance portrayed a typical helpless look, like it couldn’t get better than this! Parents whose kids excelled looked down upon the parents of kids that dint perform as much well. So in a way parents want to push you in a way that you are bound to fall and might never cope up.
One of my classmates-Rahul, committed suicide. The earlier week we had farewell from our juniors, we were in the 10th. Rahul was happy and giggled and smiled, no one thought he could’ve done something so bad to himself. He hung himself in the bathroom, on the day of our prelims. It was so sad, to have his bench empty. He was a great football player and on several occasions he won trophies for our school. Though he was in the dumb class, he was inclined to play football. He was never much inclined to study. And when the teachers distributed the corrected answer sheets to the students, he would have a gloomy look upon his face portraying a look of helplessness. He dint like to study.
Many people dislike meat, fish, puddles, potholes, why people who dislike studying are looked down upon?
They may have some serious problems, with understanding a particular concept, a theorem, a language.
Disliking studies is portrayed all over with laziness and mental bluntness.
And all our careers are so study oriented, you can’t pursue anything without passing the 10th. 10th syllabus is not a easy one, at least not in our times, we had very tough geometrical theorems and algebra too. plus the social sciences, languages and the science, made me study for 10 hours. I wasn’t ever good at memorising “un-understood concepts”, that left me with 71.33%
I truly wish that someone in the child welfare department takes note of the moderation of the school curriculum and make studies a one on one concept.
Is homeschooling the answer for my son? Maybe. That’s what I am trying to learn and find out. And that’s the reason for this blog.