"I hate Hindi ma'am... " is the new refrain at our dinner table.
"She pinches... and hits," says my daughter. Everyone? "Yes, but she hits me more. Because she gives a lot of work and I can't complete it in one period".
For a day or two I thought it was one of those things... it would pass. But today, Nivedita declared she would rather change her school than attend Hindi period with this ma'am. I really will have to do something. But what?
Yes, I will go and meet the principal but will he really take action? There's always the secret fear that your child will end up being treated worse after you complain.
People talk about bad bosses, but there is nothing quite as cruel as a bad teacher. The power a teacher has over a young mind is immense. And this power is often abused by those who are not temperamentally or attitudinally suited to the job.
Teachers who, in fact, see their jobs as mere jobs. And not a responsibility which comes with some sacred covenants.
And parents, who leave no stone unturned to admit their child to a good school. The 'best' school. Who's to say that every teacher in that school is competent as well as sensitive? Because all it takes is one Hindi ma'am...
And all said and done, parents are in a weak position. We pay for the services of a school, we form part of the community. But in most schools, we have little say in the way things are done. Or not done.
The attitude is,"If you have problems here, feel free to take your child elsewhere." Because there are enough contenders for that forsaken seat.
And the same problems pretty much plague schools everywhere. Not municipal schools or government schools but private schools, brand name schools as well.
The Hindi ma'am problem started when the original Hindi teacher - a very personable lady - suddenly quit to join a rival school. In mid-session. Since then there have been 3 different teachers, creating anxiety and confusion.
As one teacher elaborates,"Schools don't want to hire us on a permanent basis. They take in teachers on contract - for 3 months, 6 months." So teachers too have no qualms hopping around. And often, no choice either.
In this merry-go-round, secondary school teachers end up teaching primary kids. Both kinds of teaching require different skills. And completely different levels of patience.
When the school is charging parents a fairly large fee, I see no reason why it should shortchange it teachers - and students - in this manner.
If things do not change, I am wholly willing to yank my daughter out of this school. The question is, are the other choices any different? I guess that is a question that can be answered only after a great deal of R & D.
If the answer remains "no", then the only consolation is "we survived". So will she. It makes me really sad. And mad. But do I have the energy to fight it?