Rights and sucking up.

Sometime ago, Yaya was getting  in to trouble with her class teacher every day. Beginning of the  year, when she saw the teacher’s list and saw who was going to be her class teacher, she said “mom, I hate her”

“Hate is such a strong word” I replied. I have been on the receiving end of teacher’s wrath not because I wasn’t a good student, but because of my hatred for them or the way they teach. You learn from your experiences and I didn’t want Yaya to screw up her future. The next few years are really crucial for her and teachers play a huge role when it comes to her grade. When I was young, I thought it isn’t the marks that counted, but my knowledge. I was a fool. No one really cares about how much you know, unless you can validate your knowledge with a good grade/mark.

“But Mom, You are not getting my point. We talks about our rights to love, live a comfortable life, right to education, healthcare etc, but no one understands that just as we have a right to love, we do have a right to hate. I can hate her, it is my right. Just because she is my teacher doesn’t mean that I must like her, there is no such law”

Whenever I argued with my mother and I had valid points, my mother wouldn’t accept my point or refute them. Instead she used to shout and yell and blame my father. grandmother etc and the whole argument changes the dimension and I ended up feeling mad at my mother. I had promised myself then that I will always listen to valid arguments. I felt Yaya’s points had some merit.

I have never met Celine Dion. Her Titanic theme song, my heart will go on, came out in 1997. I was expecting Yaya then and I was under bed rest. Local radio station played the song over and over and I can’t explain how much I hated the song and the singer, which is very unusual because I love music. Many years later, there was a competition on the same local radio and Paula Malai Ali and her twin sister Jenny were participating and they both said, they hate Celine Dion too. I felt so good driving to work that day. Because I was not the only one who hated Celine Dion. But to this day, I don’t know why I hate Celine Dion.

Her teacher picked on every little thing Yaya did and most days she came home fuming. One incident was, Yaya didn’t have her lap top ready before the class started. The process involved opening the lap top screen and it takes less than 5 seconds. She then had to endure 10 minutes lecture about “importance of being prepared”.

I realized, I can’t make my child not hate her teacher, let alone suck up to the teacher. She still has another 6 more months to go through and I explained to Yaya that if she sits like a statue the entire class, looking intently at the teacher and not say a word to her friends, she will win this game and the teacher will eventually stop picking on her. I also told her that she can listen to the music by passing the headphone through the jacket sleeve and use her hand as a head support. (http://www.wikihow.com/Listen-to-Music-in-Class). It worked. Yaya doesn’t sit with her friends, her brother has uploaded some chat system on her lap top and her friends’ that allows them to chat with each other, bypassing the teacher’s computer/control. She also listens to the music.

But the teacher stopped  picking on her.

I do worry that she might get caught one of these days for listening to the music and all hell will break loose. I don’t have any ready excuse to get out of that mess, but for the time being, all is well.

13 thoughts on “Rights and sucking up.

    • Reshma: the teacher is boring and she doesn’t want to listen. She used to read/ doodle before and As I explained to shankari, She can no longer do either.

    • Shankari: I keep my fingers crossed. I know it wasn’t a very smart decision and I have taught her to follow the safety guidelines and only use one ear bud and make sure the head phone is safe in the sleeves. Last year with the same teacher, Yaya used to read/doodle in the class, but this year, they all have to use the lap top and she can’t hide the book/note pad any more. There is nothing else she can do for the full hour of lecture.

  1. I am no way saying that what you did is wrong or right. With kids we have such situations so often, as they are finding their way in the world, classroom included.
    My son is chatty, usually. A friend of him joined the same swim team, and chatting was non-stop. Coach was getting frustrated and it was disruptive to the other kids in class. Coach took away his previleges for having some free time after swim class (which he loves – he is 8). I totally agreed with that. He has to behave in group situations in a certain way and if a situation demands, he has to comply with it. It is not too much to ask. Once he goes to the real world, he will have to do it, whether he likes it or not, and there will be consequences, just like they are there for you, me and every one else. How can I teach him, alternatives to chatting, not paying attention to what swim coach is teaching. I asked him, if he would like to do the swim class, or chat with his friend? if latter was his choice, he can skip the class, chat/play with his friend in the play room, for the duration of the class. It is his choice to go swimming or school or any where else. If he wants otherwise, we will do that, but consequences will be no swimming or no school or any thing else. He understood that. He loves swimming, going to school, and for him to continue to do that, he needs to follow the group rules. It is not cruel to him in any way, to respect other people’s time, and space. True, he may have hard time learning this now, but in the end, donot world demand this out of all of us, to live in a human society. There are things me and him both hate, we talk about it, but we also know that there is fine line with hating and being around people and still respecting the environment, let other people be comfortable in it. I believe in this quote: “Your freedom ends where my nose starts”

    • Joan: There is something called E + R = O. Event, plus your response = outcome. Here the event is a lousy teacher and the response is an unhappy child and the outcome is an unhappy teacher and a bad grade. I chose to modify the response because I can’t change the event, unless there is a law that requires all teachers take psychological evaluations that would test their suitability for the job, there will always be lousy teachers who should never get a licence to teach. My daughter is 15 and she like me is an autodidact. If I am allowed to sit at home and study any subject ( that I like), I will be able to write the exam and pass it without attending any class. But that option isn’t available because most kids can’t do what I and both my older children can do. Yaya loves all her other teachers who can connect with her and make the learning process interesting. Her maths teacher knows how much Yaya hates maths, yet she signs her up for all the maths competitions without telling her, forcing her to do it and Yaya does it without complaints. her teacher knows asking Yaya is different from telling Yaya. I skipped most of the lectures in medical college and the ones I was forced to attend for fear of getting negative score for internals, I read books or wrote letters. It doesn’t make me an outcast or have difficulty living in a social group. I shouldn’t have to listen to lecturers who has no idea what they are teaching and if they are going to regurgitate whatever is in the text book, then I could read the same text book in my own time.

  2. Hey S,
    My first instinct after I read this post was that you are definitely doing something wrong by encouraging her to ignore the teacher and aiding in her listening to music during class time. But then, I thought back to the time I was in school or college, where I put Archies comics/Balarama in between pages of textbook to escape boring classes. Even if you didnt help her out, Im pretty sure she will find her own ways. At least this way, she knows she has you who will be there for support even if @@$$^ hits the fan. As long as she is able to discern between contexts, and not use it as an escape mechanism for every un pleasant encounter in life–I think there is nothing wrong in what she or you is doing. I hope she doesnt get caught though. Once I was humming in a boring class, and my co hummers voice got a little loud. And she ditched me when we were caught and all the blame was on me. I still remember the hurt on my teacher’s face and regrets it to this day…

    • Jina: One thing I always follow is to remember how I was when I was their age and what I did at that time. Most parents forget about their own childhood and expect children to follow a different path. I refuse to be a hypocrite. Thank you for telling me that you did the same in school.

  3. Sorry, I was not able to get my point across. My response was more the on the lines of “boredom during driving + texting = Ending up in morgue”. Becuase they think it is ok to violet the “non-texting while driving law”.
    I would take bad grade over a not being bored trait. However with parenting, there is no black and white. It is the time that will tell, if we tought right or wrong, and we can only hope and pray that we make the correct decisions in shaping lives.

    • Joan:I assume from your comments that, you have never been bored, always listened attentively to the teachers, never skipped a class and never read a book in class. For most of us, boredom is part of our life. As an adult, I use various strategies to help me when I am bored. I have never left my home without a book in my hand. I read a book when I am bored, listen to my playlist while I am driving. I hate ironing, so I think of various equations and work them out in my head while ironing. If I got bored with a program I am watching on telly, I change the channel or switch off the TV. I don’t think there is something wrong with me because I get bored easily.
      However, my daughter has to sit in a boring class every day for 5 days a week for 10 months a year, because people like you believe in teaches them skills to survive in their later life and assume that if she didn’t learn to cope with being bored, she will end up texting while driving. Somehow the strategies available to me as an adult isn’t there for her. I read somewhere that ” I think there is a difference between being allowed to entertain yourself and being forced to be bored so as not to be “a distraction to others.” My child is bored because the class isn’t challenging her enough in her quest for knowledge, clearly it isn’t her fault, but the teacher’s. She is coping by listening to music.
      I have lived in 4 continents, speak more languages than an average person, owned a fully paid home before I was 35 and live in my own home in Australia, all this with not a penny from my parents. I am sure, my mother can pat her shoulder and say she did a great job raising me. My son is in the top 1 % of kids in Australia ( he has been assessed) for maths, he is an inventor and works with professors in his field. What my son achieved so far in his life is his own achievements, it has nothing to do with me, just as where I am today has nothing to do with my mother. My children’s future is in their own hand. I do not think I have the power to shape their future..They are the masters of their own ship.
      Kahlil Gibran

      Your children are not your children.
      They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
      They come through you but not from you,
      And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

      You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
      For they have their own thoughts.
      You may house their bodies but not their souls,
      For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
      which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
      You may strive to be like them,
      but seek not to make them like you.
      For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

      You are the bows from which your children
      as living arrows are sent forth.
      The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
      and He bends you with His might
      that His arrows may go swift and far.
      Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
      For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
      so He loves also the bow that is stable.

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