Red or green?

The IndianHomeMaker wrote a post on children and education that was the off shoot of a comment on Manju’s post on lost childhoods. I found myself witnessing a live example of what’s wrong with the Indian education system.

I had taken the day off today primarily to take a break from the never ending office politics that’s beginning to get to me now. In the evening I went to purchase a few groceries from the local store. Shopping done( i did a better job than last time)  I was walking back home when I spotted a maid walking along the pavement with  a cute looking pair of twins about 6 years of age heading home after school.(We have a strange system of school shifts in Bombay. I don’t know if other places have such a system too. Delhi doesn’t for sure). As a walked a few paces behind them I couldn’t help overhearing their conversations.

Maid: Aditi, school kaisa tha.
Aditi: Aaj mejhe teacher ne  daanta.
Maid: Kyun?!
Aditi’ sister: Teacher ne bola apple ko red colour karo, Aditi ne green kiya to teacher ne danta.

What kind of teacher scolds a child for colouring an apple green?! Forget the whole deal about curbing a child’s creativity by not giving her the opportunity for free expression, this is just plain stupid. Apples are green. At least some of them are. So why in the world is the teacher a- dictating what colour the children should fill in and b- if she wants to make every single apple in the classroom red (for reasons know best to her)then why dint she take the pains of explaining to poor Aditi why her apple needs to be coloured red? How does yelling at the child serve any purpose? I am beginning to think that people who are not supposed to be teachers are taking up the profession. Quite like every other profession, if you ask me. Whether or not you have the right personality and soft skills for it, all you need is a degree. Once you have that you land yourself a job and after that those who come in your contact can only pray. I am sure children like Aditi must be praying for understanding and encouraging teachers. But the question is, why should you have to pray for something you should get anyway?

19 thoughts on “Red or green?

  1. Strange, has that imbecile of a teacher never seen a green apple for gods sake??
    yeah you are right, teaching should be given to those who are best suited for the work, but today, most of the teachers are in job by chance, not by choice. And if they are there by choice, then they are there by choice only of profession, earning money, not because they are committed.

  2. seriously…I don’t think most teachers in India realize what responsibility lies on their shoulders. if only they did, they’d probably make more of an effort to be understanding.

  3. Rightly put. There are green apples and there are red ones. It would’ve only helped if the teacher knew that they were kids in the first place and no kid by birth would know that an apple (like according to her) is to be colored only red! Drives me mad!
    You should see the kind of teachers they have here. The friend-with-daughter had come home and the friend told her daughter to not stand on the sofa and that she has to sit. To that, the daughter replies “mom, you should not say ‘sit. Teacher says it is like ordering a dog to sit. Say ‘have a seat please'” Friend and me were dumbfounded. So you see the kind of nice things they teach to students here. And politely too. Infact, if there are more number of students in a class than there are supposed to be, I believe they get an extra teacher so that students dont feel left out or lack of attention.
    Like you said, there are wrong people in the wrong profession all the time! But no one loses anything to speak politely to children and make them understand. Thats a part of the profession!! No wonder we hate so many teachers in our lifetime!

  4. This is so sad! The teachers are so unimaginative and uncaring!! I remember my daughter being checked for writing the opposite of BEAUTIFUL not as UGLY but as AWFUL and the teacher’s reaction was that she was perhaps confused because we were trying to teach her at home. No body was teaching her – she had picked the word from normal conversation, how many of us really use the word UGLY?
    They have forgotten the purpose of what they teach with the excuse of preparing them for board exams!!!! And this was when she was in UKG (in a small town).

  5. Unfortunately this is typical of many teachers.

    The son of a friend of mine was asked by a teacher during an admission interview (for KG class), what chappatis were made from. He answered ‘from flour’. Apparently the correct answer was- ‘from wheat’.

    He failed to get admission! I told my friend he was better of not being in that school!

  6. I attended a conference with international speakers and some question came up about how do you evaluate inquiry based learning? – Oh my god the teachers were so ready for the answer, “OH we do that very well!”, when asked them what do you do, 90% of them did not have an answer…

    The main problem lies because we do not teach the students to question, their right to speak and express and thanks to that we are half aware about exercising our civilian rights.

    I am going to take this opportunity to spread the word about my video series that deals with some very serious issues in student learning. check this out and send the link to as many people who are connected to education.

    And that reminds to me churning that we need to exchange some notes too.. that’s been pending for so long now..

  7. So true. The teacher should have explained that she wants the apple to be red but there are a few varieties of green. On a side note I hope the child doesnt suffer from colour blindness.

  8. @manpreet-its not just teaching,commitment is going out of a lot of professions.

    @chandni-yeah…i guess so

    @SnS- nice eg. but dont think we are going to reach that stage anytime soon in india.

    @nidhi- dont u think we had better teachers when u n i were in school?

    @manju- thats unbelievable!!

    @cinnmint- yeah..thats a good idea.. note exchange is looooong due.. will catch u on FB or smthing..

    @HC- i keep wondering how long does it take to explain like 20 secs..why dont teachers make the time for it!?

  9. agreed to the full…teaching is the last profession on the list and hence u get people who don’t really want to be in the profession just trying to earn a livelihood making the profession as commercial as possible…

    Gone are the days where it used to be more than education…and towards actually teaching children about living a good life…and what not…

    home away from home…was how I spent my school life…I feel lucky to have born at that time…so lucky…worried about my daughter though…

  10. Nice thought to ponder over. I used to paint a lot in my childhood days. I had joined a painting school where the teacher used to encourage us to draw anything abstract, fresh and creatively originated ideas. That helped me to paint pictures while reading story books. I pity the kids in the government nursery schools. My mom is a nursery teacher and she lets her students read, write or draw whatever and whichever way they want. No doubt, she brought me up in the same way! 🙂

  11. @utp-yeah, commercialisation is the right word. dont worry too much about ur daughter….just do ur best to find a “good” school…i sincerely hope u can find one…not too many seem to be around nowadays..

    @deepanjan-see thats the advantage of having a mom whose a nursery teacher! mine’s one too!!

    @deepanjan- blog and all! too cool!

  12. well, when the teacher asked me what colour is parrot? I replied Yellow….

    you know why- because i was suffering from red -green deficiency syndrome….not a colour blind..but difficult to differentiate red/ this kid might be suffering from that..hmm

  13. How typical of our Indian edu. systems. Atleast what I’ve heard about the UK one is that the teachers:students ratio is very small (certainly not like our Indian schools, where 1 teacher yells her life out at 70 active kids!), and teachers absolutely encourage kids to be creative and intelligent. Which probably explains why the kids here aren’t as educated/knowledgeable (in academics only), but are much happier kids who enjoy life more.

  14. @sunder- see that what i am saying, we have teachers who dont really care about kids… we are grossly ill prepared to take into account any special needs of kids… did u get yelled at by the teacher because u said yellow?

    @pal- teacher -student ratio is imp but its not the only thing. i have seen some fabulous teacher handling a class of 60 energitic kids and doing a wonderful job.i guess its more to do with who tks up the profession and if they really love it and are willing to go the extra mile to mould the kids they are to nurture.

  15. Ref your last comment, Mandira- I also think that the teaching profession needs the creme de la creme of talented people, who have an aptitude for teaching and learning, and who are also rewarded commensurately.

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