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The Boy Went into a Shell
The Boy Went into a Shell

From the Journal of a School Administrator

From today, we have decided to post interesting incidents connected to school life, from the point of view of a school administrator, whenever she writes. All in a day’s work. Ms. Nithya Sundaram is currently serving as the Academic Director for CS Academy Group of Schools, Coimbatore and heads their teacher training center. She is a certified Master Trainer for the Cambridge programmes and has 35 years of experience in the field of K-12 education in India and abroad.

By Yashaswini

Incident One

Ms. Nithya Sundaram

Schools often have to take a difficult call. Sometimes it is between the student and the parents. Who is the bigger offender? Children can commit an offense but when it is dealt with properly, it may not recur. However, very often parental angst fans an ordinary offense into a huge problem for the student, particularly during adolescence.

A new admission walked into my office, one day. The student, a lad of thirteen, was a forerunner in all Rubik’s cube competitions and obviously bright enough to handle difficult academics. But the student had a problem; he stammered and therefore was rather quiet. Parents wanted an atmosphere where the staff and students would be understanding and compassionate. He had chosen this school because it had a policy of no tolerance towards bullying.

Once in the school, there would be frequent requests by parents to meet teachers to find out if the child is happy, despite his problem. Parents were given updates, accordingly. Once in a while, there would be a complaint about some student, who was harsh to the boy. The teachers would counsel the other student. Ultimately, the boy took home the message that “The rest of the world should understand my problem and I don’t need to work towards any adjustment.”

Teachers could see him slipping into a shell. When contacted, the parents came up with the solution that they are making all efforts to `cure’ the boy. Doctors were consulted and religious ceremonies were conducted and no stone was left unturned. At no point did the parents think of the possibility that stammering is a problem like impaired vision. Despite the condition, one could function normally. It does not have to be cured.

All efforts the parents took only focused on the problem rather than diverting attention from the problem, so much so that if there was a presentation to be made in class parents would write to the school asking for him to be excused. The net result was that the boy had to be referred to a counselor, who in turn found that parents needed counseling instead of the student.

The Boy Went into a Shell
The Boy Went into a Shell

About Yashaswini K

Controversy is the second name of Yashaswini. She goes where something is amiss and picks up the threads to make a clear story out of it.

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