04 Nov A math teacher who assesses students on looks
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Last week, I was at the Open House – a tête-à-tête with my child’s teachers. It’s not a parent-teacher meeting where you discuss your ward in detail, rather a breezy hello-so-how-is-my-child-ok-listen-this-is-how-she-is-next-please kind of greeting and signing off that should not take more than 5 minutes. The time was highlighted in bold on a huge board in the auditorium where the teachers were seated to meet thousands of parents.
Her class teacher was a gem. I was buoyed. Floating, I perched at other teachers’ tables, who made me more light by every word they said.
But when it came to the Math teacher, we had to wait about 40minutes. The husband was irked. Just so as to distract him, I said, “I feel so proud. Everyone has nice things to say about our lil one…”
“So what did you expect? She’s my daughter!” He arrogantly spelt out. So I left him alone to get more restless.
And I returned to doing what I love the most in crowded places – studying people around without them noticing I was dissecting them. There were men and women of all sizes and sorts around me, that I was spoilt for stares.
At last, the wide-eyed, beaming teacher welcomed us…
“Good morning Sir. Good morning madam.”
“Morning ma’am. How are you? We are Diya’s parents?” I pleasantly greeted the lady before me with curly hair and full-round lips parted above a double-chin.
“Ahh…let me guess. Whom does she look like…ahh…I think she’s gone on you Sir.” She laughed leaning back at her great discovery.
“What do you think?” she asked me.
“This is a query I gave up pondering a decade ago, ma’am. Now I wonder why she even behaves like him.” I answered honestly.
|My girl striking a pose for her dad!|
“Yeah. She’s a peaceful child. Like him.”
[Whooat! In the first 2 minutes of meeting she deduces a trait in him the world seems to scream into my face… I quickly assured myself that it was a result of only me communicating. So I immediately decided to remain quiet…peaceful, I mean]
As if on cue, she said, “You speak very well ma’am.”
I gave her a smile. One of my plastic ones reserved for such occasions.
“So tell me. How is she?” the teacher asked after her personal observations.
[That’s what we are here to know…I wanted to say loud and clear, for I was by now a wee bit unsettled].
“Math is her favourite subject,” I replied. Again honestly.
“Yes, She is good. No issues with her.” Short, crisp assessment as if she remembered of the time allotted for each parent only when asked about the child’s performance.
“Anything else, you want to know,” she queried.
“Does she participate in class activities,” I asked, to which she feigned deaf and replied, “You may please sign here [the attendance sheet].
I said, “ I have a concern. You’ve mentioned in her assessment card that she does not submit work on time. [I had taken a print-out along, as proof]
She was lost and red. The smile vanished. She looked ahead and after a few seconds of silence, called a student, standing in queue behind us.
“Did Diya give her book this time?”
The baffled youngster took a few moments to answer. “Yes ma’am”.
“But she didn’t give the last two times?”
The confused looking youngster took another few moments and replied. “Yes. No ma’am.”
A relieved-looking teacher turned to me, “Her name has come up frequently on late submissions list…”
“Thank you, ma’am.” I got up.
I confronted her class teacher with the proof and expressed my concern about the Math teacher’s allegation.
‘She’s new. Just joined this term. I don’t know who has entered this remark. If it’s the previous teacher. But, it’s unlike Diya. Possibly there’s a confusion…” the class teacher reasoned, astonished.
PS: The Math teacher, I guess, was buying time by making personal comments trying to figure out who the student could be.