Happy going to school?

I wrote about the current confusion of choosing a school for Chutku and I got some wonderful responses. Very very informative and useful. Thanks to both Sangi and RM for making some of my  resolves stronger and also making me think some more – Sangi’s comment on peer pressure on the parents (I didn’t give that a thought at all!) and talking to the teachers if possible before putting the child in the school. RM’s comment on not comparing the children…Do read these 2 posts…

Both of them mentioned something either in their posts or as comments – As long as the child is happy going to school I might not have to worry…

Let me first give my own example – I studied until 1st std in a local school hardly 5mins walk from home. Granny used to pick me up from school everyday and I also knew the way back home. Then one day Dad realised that the complete syllabus was not being covered and most of the activities in the text books were left undone. That made him feel that in the long run its going to affect all my exams – especially when I have to give any board exams. His thinking of if they cannot cover lessons in class 1 how will they do it in class 7/10? So he decided to change my school – a well known convent about 8-9kms away from home,more expensive, had bus facility,good play grounds, good teachers (he had colleagues children going there).I had my entrance exam, did pretty well and was given admission to class 2.
I HATED the school. To begin with I had no friends. All friend ‘groups’ had already been formed and I was an outcast. For an extrovert like me – I had no one to talk to. To begin with I had to walk to the bust stop about 10mins from home(Dad/Mom used to drop me), get into the school bus with all seniors – and I didn’t know the way back home from school and that used to freak me out – what if I miss the school bus someday? I used to run blindly to my bus as soon as the last bell rang and only then the knot in my stomach would release. No one to talk to in school, no one to eat the food with, walk back home in the afternoon with a friend and her elder sister (real sweet and caring). And today Im surprised when I look back and realise that those groups were made based on the monetary level of the parents – do you come to school by car? What car does your father drive? Oh! You father doesn’t own a car etc etc; And I never fit in. Though I did really well academically, I used to come home crying most days. I believe Mom noticed that I had become quieter, used to cry for no reason and didn’t like going to school at all…
Then for class 4 Mom/Granny convinced Dad to change my school again to a one closer home, showed me the way to school (about 20mins walk from home), and it being a new school all the kids were new too – so I had a chance to make friends with everyone and then I just became myself again. Not that I topped the school or anything but I used to always be one in t op 5 and that seemed to be enough for Mom.

Why did I write all this – This experience of mine has left me very wary of Big schools, school far from home… I wonder what guarantee is there that the teachers will be kind and good? Even if they are – what if there are class barriers of money when my son wants to make friends – yes – being a part of a group is very important to any child. Just being a topper will not make him a good human being, will not teach him public interaction nor will it give him exposure to good and bad behaviour/manners and such…

Also, I realised much later that I would be scared – scared that 1 day if the class extended by 5mins I will miss my bus and get lost – not know how to go back home. I don’t want Chuktu to go through the same fear. Insecurity and fear of not knowing how to go back home… Hence my reluctance in terms of distance.

Since groups were already established – there were sports groups,extra curricular groups and academic groups and no one wanted me there – so I began to lose confidence in myself. That is a big factor to the child’s growth – isn’t it?

And I know my Dad wanted the best for me. He had done his research – I remember him coming to school and talking to the principal, I remember the first day they took me to the school and how I played in the play area and liked it, I attribute my knowledge in English language to that school, it still remains a pretty good school winning competitions, good curriculum and extra curricular activities – everything that as parents anyone would look for. But my reluctance was enough for my parents to understand that the school was not for me. Because I was not happy…

And I’m trying to avoid the same mistake. Can I hit the jackpot the first time? – so my child gets everything he needs and is happy going to school…Because like all the other Moms I hear from – I completely agree – the most important factor – no matter what else – my child needs to be happy going to school

PS: Yes, I remember all these things – though not most other happy stuff that happened even much later because these are not very pleasant memories for me – you can never forget the bad days – can you?

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