We are always told that Feedback is very important, it helps people improve and rectify. It also helps the institutions to upgrade and become more consumer friendly. Everyone asks for feedback, interestingly no one likes it. So, there is a difference between a complaint and a feedback, it is a common mistake that people start to react when you share a feedback, in place of understanding and responding. Let me share an incident first.
I visited my daughter’s school today because something unpleasant happened. My daughter couldn’t tell a story in the class and so she was told by the young story telling teacher to “ Go and wash dishes with your mother at home” (apni muumy ke saath ghar par bartan dhona).
I went to speak to the teacher and give a feedback that this sentence was harsh and she could have conveyed her concern in more professional way. I told her that I understand that it was not intentional and may be in light humor but the kid felt inferior.
To which I got a reaction from young and aggressive part time teacher “this how it is done in theater class/ No other kid was hurt as i said such things to many other kids / she shouldn’t continue with story class etc etc”. Everything except that she will watch her words in future. The reaction and the incident indicate that the words she chose during the class is actually her usual vocabulary.
So, I continued with patience and told that not all kids are same and I am a teacher too also teach UG and PG students, there is a way to motivate kids because some kids hide in their shells if you scold them. To which the coordinator came up with an old issues of Anvi being an over sensitive child as she would cry as a KG student in Bus, which was true and I agreed on. The Coordinator then stated that my child is probably scared of me and doesn’t tell me the truth, I felt offended but I replied “ Yes she is scared of me and that is the reason she shares everything with me, she doesn’t like me escalating the matter to the school authority as she feel cornered in the school by the coordinator herself, yes my child fears me and probably that is why she can share her discomfort on my escalating the issues that puts her in a tight spot.” That was probably enough for the coordinator to know that she should think before she speaks. Why it is so hard to accept and rectify small things without blame game? We have been in touch with this lady for a few years now. Woman with experience prefers to interrogate a 6 year old again and again and twist the incidents on every feedback we share, how can she expect the child to trust her or love her? She told the kid to share all the issues with her and not to tell at home! Seriously!!?? Why shouldn’t a child share her problems with parents? isn’t it a good thing that children share at home, it keeps them safe and us in peace. If you want students to share their issues with you, please be approachable and nice to them; I am sure they will prefer speaking to you.
The coordinator then told us sheepishly that you should encourage your child to bring it to the management :O I was like.. a six year old needs to go to a management person if she wants her issues to be taken care of? ? I mean Keep Quite if you have problem with School or let your child become a Target!?
Now, that other teacher is young and I understand her reaction as I teach the students of her age. Acceptance doesn’t come easy (personal experience with young students, colleagues and even my own niece) . I have no issues with anyone scolding the child, My only point is that even if you are scolding the child for being forgetful or careless, tell her that she needs to focus more or she should work hard but choose the right words. Please don’t give me an excuse, that this is how it happens in theater. There is no excuse for choosing the wrong words i any conversation. It is called humiliation.
I got into academics after working for TV. Media language and Academics language were different and I did work on that to be a teacher. I teach journalism students for over 15 years, I tackle all kind of students from every walk of life. I am the strict most teacher in my institution and still, no one has the behavioral complaint against me. The way this girl responded to the parent’s concern, there is no scope that she will ever rectify her vocabulary .
Last but not the least; I do not do dishes at my house, but even if someone does; how are they any less?? It’s an insensitive statement and shouldn’t be used to threaten kids who can’t speak in public. Not every student has to become an actor or stage person. If you can’t motivate them to win over their fear, you can certainly not tell them to wash dishes at home. Please stop fixing the kids if they have complaints , stop fixing the parents when they share their concerns, start fixing the problems. It will help both ways to the students and to you.