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Couple of years back, I was visiting my brother. My older nephew was in 3rd grade at that time. He came home from school and we realized he had wetted his pants at school. It was very unusual, as he had not done this before. He kept quiet when his mom asked him what happened. I am very friendly with my nephews and while playing with them later, I asked him what happened. He confided in me that he is afraid of his teacher who is mean to him. He had asked her to be excused to go to the restroom, but she refused and he was too afraid to ask her again. He went in his pants and spread the handkerchief so the no one notice as he was embarrassed.
It affected me a lot because he is a very active kid. It was very sad to see him shy, quiet and afraid. I sat down with my brother and sister-in-law and explained them the reason for the behavior. I told them that they need to look into this matter. They decided to bring it to teacher's attention and she plainly denied that she had refused him to be excused. In the days that followed, she started to pick on him, ask him questions.
As a result, my nephew's behavior changed for the worse. He started to lose confidence, became reserved and talk less, even at home. During the weeks that followed he would act out, refused to go to school or participate in school activities. It was tough for the family.
The change in his behavior got his parents further worried and they decided to get in touch with the school counselor and the principal. Luckily, the principal understood and decided to talk to the teacher to make sure other kids do not get the same treatment. My other nephew, who is in same school is generally shy and reserved because he would stammer when nervous. However, his teacher is totally different. She helped build his confidence in the classroom and encouraged him to speak. Overtime he has become active and has more confidence. He has started talking, stammers less, and we sometimes hear him singing in the shower. In this case the credit also goes to a teacher, his teacher, who helped him by providing encouragement. This made me realize that teachers can make and unmake kid's behavior. Parents send their kids to school to make them grow, become socially confident, and we trust the teachers to do so who are with them. We tend to tell our kids to listen to the teacher, sometimes without realizing that it may not be the kid who is reason behind the change of behavior. Teachers must understand that they are shaping the future of this kids and helping them to become confident, responsible and contributing citizens of tomorrow. A small encouragement goes a long way. Most of teachers do understand, but I feel there are always few who do not.
And parents share the same responsibility. They also need to lookout when their kid's behavior changes for the worse and look for the people and incidents in their environment that caused this. We tend to blame our kids, but we must understand, they are extensions of us and they assimilate what they see and experience.
We all learn from everyone and everything around us - teachers at school, parents at home, uncles, aunts, brothers, cousins, friends, home, television, community, city. Let us make an environment of trust, confidence, encouragement and love for our kids and everyone around us. After all, it takes a village to raise a child.