I will never ever forget some incidents. One of which revolves around Mathematics and a teacher whom I came to vehemently detest, and continue to.
I was and am terrible at math, it scares me and I’m often flustered when too many numbers are thrown at me. Class 10 pre-boards happened and all parents were asked to come to school to collect the test papers and meet with the teachers to discuss the problem areas their child was facing. After the math paper I remember telling myself that I had done well enough to clear the paper.
On the day of the paper distribution my parents walked o to the classroom and the math teacher, a young cocky IIT grad, looked at my father and said, “sir, your daughter has achieved an unachievable feat.” I was very happy to hear this. I thought by some miracle I had scored more than just the pass percentage. I could see from the corner of my eye that my father also was smiling. “Oh, is it. Mathematics isn’t her strong point though. But I am happy with what you are telling us,” said my father.
“Sir,” began the math teacher menacingly. “Your daughter has truly achieved an unachievable feat. She has secured 13 out of 100. The lowest mark in class and perhaps in all the four sections combined,” he said.
If only he could see what his words were doing to me. More than humiliation, those words left me feeling so small and incapable as a person that I remember spending a great deal of time and energy in believing that I was useless.
Thankfully for me my parents didn’t make a mountain out of the situation, they were upset, most certainly. But instead of playing the blame game, they channelised all energies in helping me be better at the subject. I managed to score 64% in that paper in the boards. Looking back it all seems like such a terrible dream.
While I can forget the paper and the marks and everything else, I will never ever forget that teachers face and his words. They stung and it hurt real bad.
So please teachers, educators, parents, don’t be harsh on your kids. Think of what you want to say to them, you’ll be surprised at how much they retain and remember.
P.S.- Mr. Ravi Shankar, if you still are in the profession of teaching I do hope you are sensitive and apply some heart in dealing with students. If not, I know for sure where I am not sending my kids.