With innumerable franchises in every city, playschools have become a money-making corporate venture. They are well-organised places, though, where everything works as per a timetable. This is great since there are always new teachers coming in, and with everything in place, they know exactly what to do.
The glamour quotient of a school is very important to parents. Everyone wants their child to go to a playschool that seems to be doing all the right things, even if they may not actually be beneficial for a young child. For example, a stage show is a must, whether a two-year-old enjoys this or not. Instead of spending time on storytelling and improving the children’s vocabulary and diction, we waste time on too much art and craft. Most of this is completed by teachers as children are too young to do these by themselves. But if you don’t focus on these, then parents think that the playschool is not doing enough. They don’t take kindly to children returning home with scribbles on a piece of paper. They don’t understand that this is the best children can do at this age. Playing with sand and water is also important for children of this age group. But most nurseries are short of maids to clean up and so avoid these activities.
The feeling that you’re a part of a huge ‘corporate’ organisation seeps in when your boss gets applauded for the work you do. Annual Day programmes never fail to surprise me. We teachers work hard to get the children ready, but are hardly even mentioned. It’s the management that gets all the credit. It would be fun to quiz them on the children’s names since I doubt they know any.
The concept of a teacher as a ‘guru’ is lost on parents and the administration staff alike. It’s a business for everybody; even parents have done their bit by ‘paying’ for their children’s education. It makes me wonder if modernisation has taken away our respect for elders.
(This person has been teaching for five years)
As told to Sharmeen Hakim Indorewala