Teach for India

I can’t make up my mind..

I’ve just come out of the euphoria of good SSC results of my kids. And as with most things, it was short lived and was immediately superceded by other thoughts & they are all over the place!

I can’t make up my mind whether I should push students to get into a great college as opposed to taking the one that is close by. Initially, my first stance didn’t have room for another option & I was ready to fight the world for it. But after talking to many people, they’ve convinced me otherwise. Doubts have suddenly crept in & I’m without a game plan. Questions like what if the student can’t cope up with the travel, what if me pushing parents’ to take these colleges lead them to back off when there comes a need to take extra classes, what if they end up losing focus & not doing well? Was I really ready to risk any of these options by pushing what I thought was a good college?

I can’t make up my mind, what is the line between involvement & intrusion. My decisions – whatever they were – were OKed by parents & teachers alike. My assumption about my kids was that they didn’t have the exposure I did growing up, so I should push them. Therefore, I should have a say in the kind of colleges & streams they pursue. But should I really have a say? Our contexts are 17 years apart & they don’t have the same background/values I did as a student. So, while I could select the college based on my preference, my kids are changing colleges based on where their friends are. I didn’t lose sight of my goal even if no one in college ever bothered with attendance, studies etc. And one of them walks up to me & says Didi, I’m taking commerce “kyunki mujhe easy & chill life chahiye.” With such a mind construct does my exposure angle & therefore the need to get involved fit? Is my involvement constructive or just plain noise?

I can’t make up my mind if peer group is important. I have always been driven by my peer group – friends, colleagues. They have pushed me to excel & I was glad that I was surrounded by such people all my life. But on the flip side, my kids have always been around people who I wouldn’t exactly call good influences. Yet, much to their credit, they’ve managed to be good themselves. By being in search of a better peer group for them am I pushing them towards a more insecure zone? Am I taking them close to a peer group that can get them carried away & start demanding things from their poor parents looking at their counterparts from private schools? For my kids, is having a better peer group essentially an enabler?

And I’m struggling with similar thoughts for each student who passed from my class. And this dichotomy arises from distinct thought processes. This process for them isn’t one of seeking excellence but the one of seeking option with least constraints possible (fees, distance, course, future etc.) And therein lies the problem. The frame of reference is so drastically different that these will never match. 

So, should I give up? Or should I give it a try? I couldn’t make up my mind until one day I decided that in future; I would rather repent about my kids not listening to me than me not having tried!
So I tried with the hope of seeing my kids in colleges that I attended 17 years ago. But I think the more important outcome this discussion should give me is to see them successful in longer term than making me happy for the next 2 years!

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