Why Conventional Teaching Role Conflicts with Mother-roleConventional teaching role is predicated on continuous monitoring of the students, vigilantly guarding the space of the classroom, not allowing the students to talk, or laugh, or move about, or go to the washroom, or to drink water, or do anything without teacher's permission. Mother's role is starkly opposite. She naturally wants to encourage the child to talk more, to laugh more, to be more independent, to take charge of his own movements, to get potty-trained earlier, to go to washroom on his own, to eat and drink on his own, to socialize with other children and not to be dependent on mother. However, each one of these activities is perceived by a traditional teacher as encroaching on her territory and resisting the control of the teacher! Teacher is trying to make the students totally dependent on her so that she can maintain "class discipline". Mother wants the child to be independent.
- See also: Parenting Challenges of the 21st Century
Why Mothers are Increasingly Assuming the Role of Teacher
Growth of private schools and their presence in every nook and corner of the country, is allowing more and more women to have a teaching experience of regimented schools in which students are often packed in small classrooms. To maintain the discipline in such constrained spaces, teachers often use coercion of every type to control the students and force them to do their bidding. While waiting to get married, many girls utilize the wait time for teaching at a nearby school, where they catch the instincts and habits of a harsh teacher and a hard task master. As there is no formal process of training in many schools, the knowledge of such uninitiated teachers is mostly limited to the learning of such strictness from others before them. The schools that do have training programs have separate sets of issues. They are often the ones imposing unrealistic pressures on teachers to extract flawless work from the students to show off in response to aggressive competitive pressures from other big schools. These upstart schools typically have too many students crammed into classrooms and the teacher is always under pressure to make the children produce much more than what is in her capacity and the capacity of the kids in the given constraints.
- See also: Are you really concerned about your child's education
- See also: Do we learn to teach or teach the way we were Taught
Competitive pressure of schools and limited seats in some of the prestigious schools have made them into status symbols. The mad race to "keep up with the Joneses" is exerting a tremendous peer pressure on the parents. They are trying to enlist their children in such schools before they are even born. They are planning their birth dates to coincide with the small window of months for which these prestigious schools have limited their intake. Children as young as 1.5 years are being thrown into preparatory schools that promise admission into prestigious schools. Contrary to the advice of academic experts all around the world, the start of formal studies of children is being moved earlier and earlier in Pakistan especially. This is disastrous for children and no where practiced in the world by the countries which are at the top of their schooling quality like Sweden.
- See my upcoming post "Terrorism of Formal Schooling at Early Age"
Frustration of Parents and their own Complexes
A child who has not learned to laugh, to play with the peers, who has not learned to go out and play with others, and who does not feel confident to be on his own in a playground or in open spaces with other children, would eventually end up being misfit in the highly competitive world. Developing such confidence is kids is more important than cramming them with useless facts, memorizations, and handwriting drills. Some of these harried children eventually discover refuge in smart phones, video games, or just slump in to these unnatural behaviors to somehow get the mothers off their back. I think that this is a natural subconscious protest from the children and a built in psychological defense mechanism, that some times is successful in getting their parents to give up and back off.
Many of the mothers are themselves psychological cases. They want a vent for their psychological frustrations emanating from their unfulfilled desires and unsatisfied life. Having decided that reforming the spouse and the rest (in laws and others) impossible, they their children become a project for their emancipation. They try to liberate themselves through their children, and want their children to become a catharsis of their frustrations. To achieve this, they try to force their children to acquire skills that the mothers themselves have failed to acquire, and the absence of which they consider responsible for their current misery. In this project they exceed the limits of reasonableness because they often do not possess the potential to be a mentor, the knowledge to a guide, and the capacity to be a source of inspirational encouragement. They instead become ruthless, hard task masters. When because of their lack of motivational skills and managerial skills they realize that their children are ALSO not responding similar to the lack of response that they got from their spouses and in-laws, they turn to blaming the children themselves. When spouses or in-laws come to protect the children from the harsh behavior of the mothers, the mothers start blaming children to be on the side of the in-laws. The children, then, become either a battle ground for the battle of the spouses, or their enemy and they use the stick of the teacher's role to hound them to an extreme where many children stop talking and develop severe psychological issues.
Homeschooling MothersTrend of home-schooling is also creating a major issue. Without understanding the philosophy and without reading any books on home schooling, the enthusiastic parents think that teaching of school books at home is home schooling. This is a misconception. Homeschooling is actually about throwing away the school books and concentrating on the chores at home and using them as a learning vehicle. Or, homeschooling is designing of activities and projects that can be done at home with parents, neighbors and others; projects that can relate naturally to every day life of people, and then use them for learning. Parents who think that homeschooling is about teaching school books at home are misguided and would end up inflicting more harm than the schools that they dread.
- This will be addressed in a separate post "What is not homeschooling"
What Should the Mother Do
If your child is not responding to your guidance and is not studying the way you want him to be studying, then instead of hounding the child, a mother should do the following:
- Please read the blog posts that are referenced in this post.
- See 13 Myths of Schooling and Education: Resources
- Attend workshops on parenting
- Learn child psychology and psychology of learning. See some ted.com videos mentioned in point (2) above.
If all of this seems too difficult, then just hire a tutor and give him the role of teaching and just adopt the mother role. Your life and life of your children would be much easier.
- Psychiatrist vs Educationist-Selecting whom to consult: Psychiatrist, Neurologist, Psychologist, Educationist, "Aamil" (Exorcist), "Pir" or "Shaikh"
- Truth about Attention Deficit Disorders (ADD/ADHD): Reasons and Revelations
- Parenting Challenges of the 21st Century
- Parenting and Physical/Corporal Punishment
- Harmful Effects of Comparing Siblings and Children
- Learning Problems: Top 9 Questions to Answer Before You Run for Help
- Charter of Children's Recognition
- My Child does not Sit and Concentrate
- School Discipline vs Prison Discipline
- Are you really concerned about your child's education
- How Language Acquisition is Made Difficult for Children: Eight Lessons from an Urdu Acquisition Case Study
- How Parental Judgments can Shatter a Child: Self Fulfilled Prophecies
- Which Field with Great Scope Should My Child Choose: There is always a room at the top