(This is more a post that I want to come back to read everytime I feel I am getting sucked into the education system. So, it’s more a #NoteToSelf post than anything else!)
Someone shared this article on my timeline today – The New PreSchool is Crushing Kids and it resonated with me like a very few other things do. It’s not just PreSchool that is ‘crushing’ kids in my opinion; it’s the entire **use some strong expletive here** education system that I’ve seen here in the last two years. I am missing the Waldorf school back home more than my mom.
Have you seen the Corelle dinnerware set that you find in every friend’s place you visit? Eight dinner plates. Six bowls. Six blue coffee mugs. And, six small plates. All, white in color with a light blue design lining the white. That’s exactly how this system, the school, the teachers and most of the parents are moulding our children to be. Kids are treated more like products from a factory assembly line than human beings.
Your child is in second grade and is it the month of December? Then, she/he should be at **this** reading level. If not, she/he should be tutored. Your child is in second grade and still counts with fingers? Tutoring, because they have to know so much by such and such a date. Are they actual human kids or are they some pack of chips that need to adhere to a certain standard?
And then, we have the farce called ‘gifted and talented’ kids. I think I’ve ranted on this earlier on Twitter. Here’s what I wrote – ‘There’s something troubling me about what I see here in the US. A kind of a trend in the schooling and education system. It’s the ‘Talented and Gifted Program’. It’s kind of jarring that elementary school kids need to be tested and branded separately as ‘knowing better than others’. But it is not just that that is troubling me. I am even ok with the fact that there could be kids with higher IQ levels who might get bored and might want more complex stuff to learn as compared to others. What really gets me mad is that there are parents who send their kids to tuitions and Kumon classes and some such to ‘make’ them gifted. And I am talking about 6 year olds who ought to be running and jumping and biking and generally having fun rather than preparing to pretend as gifted. It makes me sad that we have such a crappy system to grade our children. It makes me angry to think of the childhood that is forfeited at the cost of producing ‘gifted’ children. More than that, it makes me feel helpless and scared to think that one day I’d be made to inflict the same thing on my kids. Sigh. Rant over. Good night!’
There was a time last year when I worried about my kids not falling in line with the other kids. Worried about them feeling left out from the crowd. Worried about them getting lesser grades. Worried about me being sucked into the system not knowing I was already knee deep into it. Come to think of it, worried is such a small word. I obsessed over these things.
On one such days when I lost my mind and sleep over this, the husband asked me something. ‘Do you think I turned out okay?’ I looked at him in confusion. ‘What?’ ‘Do you think I turned out okay, academically?’ ‘Are you kidding me? Aren’t you a rank holder in CA exams?’ ‘So listen.. I was in my sixth grade and had failed in two subjects. My parents were called and given a ‘talking to’ by the teacher. But then, I did turn out well when I got to do something I liked, didn’t I?’ I won’t lie that my anxiety vanished completely on listening to ‘this talk’ but it definitely made me feel better.
And then, we had to move to New Jersey. Where the system is even more shite. Where the ‘standards’ are much higher than Dallas. Where the parents are even more competitive. Where my kids are not doing even as ‘on par with other kids’ as in Dallas. And surprisingly, I am calmer than before.
Probably, it’s a temporary feeling of calmness which will give way to anxiety in some time. (I really don’t want this to happen!) Probably, it’s the talk with the husband that I try to keep in mind. Probably, and most probably because I’ve stopped giving too much importance to the system. Surely, the system can make successful kids but can it make happy kids?