Today there was an Orientation meeting in my son’s school. He is in grade 10 now and I can’t avoid going to each and every meeting that we are called for. As the word orientation means, this was a meeting for making the parents, of wards from Grade 9 – 12, aware about how the school is going about molding their kids into healthy individuals, both physically and mentally.
The meeting started off well with presentations by the senior supervisors from the Girls and Boys sections. Yes, the schools here are not allowed to be coed. The school doesn’t work on separate shifts and hence all the children share the same campus and transport. Obviously with strict restrictions and regulations, this system works out well in my opinion.
There is always the advantage of showing off in front of the other gender without the disadvantage of being reprimanded or punished in their presence. In my opinion this is a win- win situation for the children. As for the parents, we live in a bubble and thank God for even the small mercies bestowed upon us by the government here. The opportunity to let our kids imbibe the Indian way of education is a good thing indeed. I have heard that many NRIs struggle for the lack of good schooling in the places they choose to reside in. UAE is blessed that way. And hence we choose not to complain too much.
Leaving aside my theories on education in the UAE, lets get back to this orientation meeting. After the supervisors spoke, each department had a representative speaking with the Vice Principal giving the last presentation. Departments included were Sports, Career counseling, leadership counseling, Eportal usage instructions and a small but informative speech by the school counselor on how to manage teenagers in this modern times.
The session lasted for almost two hours. I had already begun shifting in my seat (Plastic auditorium chair) within the first hour. I had half a mind to get up and excuse myself saying that I am not allowed to sit continuously for more than an hour at a time. But then, whom could I fool? I was in a school for crying out loud, they would have already heard juiciest of excuses from kids, to see right through my plan.
So we sat through it like good people (Children actually). It was a passive session. I for one was happy with that. But I guess parents who have already attended two or more of these in the past in the same school, got a bit agitated that there is no question and answer session.
The Vice Principal, a lady, politely refused a parent from pouring out her heart to everyone present , saying that parents are here taking a break from their work schedule and she doesn’t want to hold the rest of the parents longer than necessary.
To this the “bold” lady says, “Even I am a working woman, even I am busy, but we should be able to say what we want”.
To this the Vice Principal said: “Please come with me to my room, we can discuss any issues you want to. I don’t want to hold the other parents and this is an Orientation Session, not a discussion board. We will be having that too soon.”
She replied, “ I don’t have anything to say individually, only as a group.” And in a group she was, maybe 10 or more moms in a row.
“Then I am sorry”, came the reply. Even before the Vice Principal said the last statement, most of us had already gotten up to leave, when we realized that it was only a tantrum from a “bold” girl.
It’s not that VP didn’t listen to logical questions. There was a parent who voiced a genuine concern which can actually effect the safety of our children. She was receptive to that, and made it a point to get it sorted out.
Today before the School Day ended, we got an sms stating “the sorted issue” as an online circular on their eportal.
Being passive helps in most cases. This was my first orientation in this school and although over the span of more than 6 months since my kids started school here, I have come to realize most of it by myself. But some things did pop up that I could put to use in making my kids schooling experience better.
Certain times it becomes a necessity to voice our concerns and become an active participant. But if we can’t contribute, it’s better to keep quiet and not make a fool of oneself.
What do you think?