** The post had been lying in 4 separate drafts for the last two weeks and was taking forever to shape up because of a terrible writers block that I was going through. I feared if I didnt publish it anytime soon, then I’d never get around to doing it. So if at all you find the post incoherent apart from being ridiculously long, forgive me in advance
When I was running around looking for a kindergarten for my child some months back, one of the primary things that I considered, besides the usual educational standards, the premises, the teacher-student ratio, the proximity, etc. was how well the school interacted with its pupils. Because for a shy girl like Namnam, it was very important to me that she went to a school that would help her to come out of her shell and mingle with other children more freely, that would help her become confident enough to handle different situations, that would help her tackle differences, if at all she faced with difficult and ill-mannered children, in the best way possible.
And I’m extremely glad that I chose this particular school for Namnam, because not only did it give her good values and education(and continues to do so), but it also helped her to bridge differences with a girl who had been snubbing her at every given opportunity.
It all started a few months back when Namnam’s teacher, Miss Y mentioned to me about this girl(let me call her RB) who had fiercely scribbled in Namnam’s book ruining the page beyond repair. Needless to say, Namnam was very upset that day and even went ahead and declared RB as a ‘bad girl’.
The teacher however assured me that she had reprimanded RB and that things were under control. But somehow Namnam was not convinced and every day she used to come back and tell me how RB always tried to poke or hit or beat other children. Thankfully whenever I asked her if she had ever been hit or poked by RB, she always said no she hadn’t. But she did point out that RB was always rude to her and even said once that she would ‘slap’ her. And I could make out from her tones that it was something that she was not very pleased with.
So I told her to tell RB sternly that if she didn’t stop being rude to her she would NOT be her friend. And if she still didnt stop then she should go and report RB straight to their teacher.
But Namnam’s stance that ‘RB was a bad girl’ remained unchanged.
Although RB’s behaviour bothered Namnam, I could sense that she was, knowingly or unknowingly starting to get influenced by RB. Which was evident when one day, Namnam,fleetingly remarked to me that if I didnt play with her she would ‘slap’ me! Even though I reprimanded her heavily and made her understand that such expressions will not be tolerated, I knew I had to bring up this issue with her school.
I had a heart to heart talk with Miss Y and I found out that RB behaved the way she did with not just Namnam but also with many other children from her class. Miss Y did assure me though, that she was taking necessary action to handle the situation and that children were under strict instructions not to interact with RB. She was categorically told that she would not be allowed to talk or play with others unless she mended herself.
The school’s method seemed to have had the desired effect because soon after I observed a softening in Namnam’s tone whenever she spoke of RB. She started talking about wanting to make a drawing for RB along with her other friends.
Last week it was RB’s birthday wherein she had got gifts for all the children in her class. And when I went to pick Namnam up from school, a very elated Miss Y told me that RB had declared to everyone that Namnam was her ‘best friend’. Miss Y and I had a good hearty laugh at the absolute change in dynamics!!
Later when we were back home, Namnam told us with a wide smile that RB had said sorry to her . A very touching gesture by RB, I thought.
Today morning when I was getting Namnam ready for school, she said to me, ‘you know mama, RB was a bad girl but now she is a good girl and always my friend.’ I was immensely happy to see this complete overturn of stance! It was heartening to see a new friendship blooming.
And I have noone but the school to thank for this. The way the school handled the girl and eventually mended her made me realize how important a role, being in the right school, plays in shaping a child. I realized how important it is for schools to recognize the underlying behavioral issues of children which many a times get overlooked. I know this situation could not be clubbed under bullying but if the school had not addressed it in the way they did, it could have turned into a case of bullying which further could have had a negative impact on both RB and Namnam.
I strongly feel that
a school should not just strive to give good education, good manners and values to its children, but also strive towards giving them a secure and safe environment to bloom.
And I pray and hope that my daughter is always blessed with such a school.