Monday, September 17, 2012

Children fear school on first day of school

Every year young children who attain six years are admitted in schools across the country. These young children are about to start on a very important journey-Education. It is important that their journey begin on a pleasant note. If they start happy, it is likely they find happiness in the rest of the journey.

This reminds us of the importance of the first day of school to children. It is important that children’s first day at the school be a pleasant experience. The impression they build about the school and teachers on the first day at school can have a profound effect on their interest and attitude towards learning.  

In Bhutan, it is not surprising to see children crying with fear and anxiety on the first day of school. Children refuse to part from their parents and get into morning assembly lines. Parents would be seen coaxing but fails. Teachers call aloud at the children in intimidating voices. But these anxiety-stricken children only become more anxious.

This is an undesirable drama on children's first day at school. Children experience an ordeal than anything pleasant.

By principle, schools should be welcome places for children. Perhaps schools in Bhutan have long established as a places of fear for young children.  Children who are just six are delicate minds and they need to be loved and cared for in any type of circumstance. It would only be appropriate for teachers to welcome newly admitted children with love and affection.

In Thailand, last year, I got an opportunity to visit some kindergarten schools. It was the beginning of an academic year. I admired the way the teachers welcomed the newly admitted students. Teachers greet and extend a warm shoulder, speak gently and creates a welcoming environment. Teachers give sweets and cakes as a gesture of welcome. They would then be taken for a campus tour to familiarize with the school compound-right from the school gate to their seats in the classroom. 

 The next morning when the children saw the teacher it was surprising to see children running as though they  longed to see the teacher and the teacher running to the child as though she missed the children. And they embraced in each other’s warm shoulders. The parent just stood surprised and envying over the close relation that the teacher and their children have just developed. It was even more surprising when the teacher scolded the parent the next day on seeing children not in warm clothes on that cold day. In that sense teachers became more responsible and concerned over children’s wellbeing than parents.

We can learn a lot from such practices. Teachers were more friendly with children and were really concerned about the children’s welbeing, development and learning. Perhaps the outlook of our teacher on children should change. Of course we cannot put the total blame on teachers and school for children’s fear on the first day of the school but I believe that 70% of all the reasons that may account for children’s fear would be attributed to teachers and school. Generally most of our teachers are taken by the fallacy that being a teacher means to be above students and commanding. Teaching is a profession that is based on moral values like empathy, love, politeness, generosity, etc, and these are all that takes to be a good teacher. They must take these young children to be as important and as special as their own children. They must know that these young kids need nothing more than love and care. They are very delicate minds and teachers must be scrupulous enough in their conduct and ensure children learn enjoyably and happily.


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