Being Happy Produces Better Results
By Sunshine Naga Moony
Being a home tutor is a real test of patience indeed! Not with my students but some of the mothers who come in many ‘forms’ instead.
Some years back, I tutored a Year 2 girl. She was a brainy kid. I noticed she was quite reticent and seldom looked me in the eye. Was she autistic? That was my first thought. But she was not, I discovered after a period of closer observation.
But she did have a problem. Her mother!
An overly protective mother whose insecurity was rubbing onto her child. Other students’ mothers would happily drop them off at the doorstep but not this girl’s mother! She would follow the girl inside, pull her chair and make her sit while she takes out the girl’s books and pencil case and place them on the table.
While all these were going on, I noted the girl’s reaction. She just sat stiffly and looked down with a sad face while all the other students stared at her. I could feel her embarrassment.
As a teacher, I was duty-bound to find out what was happening to her. One day, I gave some revision exercises to the other three students and took this girl aside to have a chat with her
I asked her if she was alright and why she seldom talked to me like the other girls did. I asked her if she was afraid of me, to which she shook her head. Then, I asked her to tell me about herself and what she did when she was at home.
Slowly she started telling me that her mother always insisted that she studied all the time. She was not allowed to watch television nor play with her two-year old brother. Her mother wanted her to be the top in her class and school. She always wanted her daughter to get more marks than another girl who was in the same class at school as well as in my tuition class.
All this was probably stressing the girl out. I had no choice but to talk to her mother.
She has her own room with all the comfort and is allowed to do anything, was her mother’s initial response.
But I had to point out that that having her own room with much comfort did not take away her fear that she might do something her mother wasn’t pleased with. Hence, she just sat and studied until it was her bedtime.
Day by day it was becoming a drudgery that she had even forgotten how to smile and communicate with others.
It was also my duty to point out that education and passing exams with flying colours alone were not enough but allowing her daughter to live her childhood was just as important.
A child must be allowed to be independent. Let her do her chores herself. A happy child would produce better results.
Soon after, I noticed a change in the mother. She dropped off the girl at the doorstep just as the other mothers did. The girl seemed much happier. She would take out her books and pencil case by herself. I could even see her smile.
These little things always stayed in my mind whenever I think about my teaching experience. That girl would be 18 or so by now. I hope she is happy and doing well in her studies.
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