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P.S. (This is a real incident.)
Sukritha, is my friend's 5.5 year old daughter, studing Montessori 3 in a reputed school. She is cute, bubbly, talkative and a happy child. She has few friends at school, one of them being Madhukar (5 years old). She would always be the first one to complete her Montessori tasks in the class. That day, Madhukar completed the tasks first, Sukritha completed second. She wasn't happy, that she didn't complete first. She kept wondering how Madhukar, who would always be last in class, could complete tasks ahead of her.
Next day she went to her teacher and began "Yesterday night, even when I went to sleep, I was thinking about Madhukar.." Teacher immediately cut her sentence and said "Why were you thinking about Madhukar, is he your husband?" Sukritha innocently replied "Yes he is my husband". Sukritha had just wanted to tell her teacher "Yesterday night, even when I went to sleep, I was thinking about Madhukar, as to how he finished work so fast". I know that the poor girl didn't know what husband meant.
Unfortunately, next day Madhukar was absent. Teacher asked Sukritha "Where is your husband". Poor girl was clueless. The teacher labelled them husband - wife and would continue to refer them so. This continued for almost a week. She then asked the kids, "You both are married?" Kids now almost sure that they were married replied "Yes, we are married". Teacher asked "Did you get exchange garlands and get married." Kids responded "No". Teacher then said "Then you have to exchange garlands."
Following week was play time. Kids were let out to play in common play area to play. Sukritha and Madhukar found some thread or strings lying around. They took them and put it around each other's neck, then went to teacher and told "We exchanged garlands, we got married". Teacher wouldn't stop at that. She then asked "Now will you go to honeymoon?" Little kids replied "Yes, we will go". Teacher continued "Will you get baby? From where will you get baby". Sukritha was totally clueless at the question and much more since her teacher was laughing. Other teachers present there were shocked but didn't intervene for reasons best known to them.
My friend, Sukritha's mother was totally oblivious of all these. Almost 10 days since, this incident stated, Sukritha began to talk about her marriage and husband at home. Shocked mother, probed her, asked her and talked to her, till the whole story was out. She then talked to Sukritha's friends, Madhukar's parents and the whole story was out. Sukritha's and Mudhakar's parents were shocked, disgusted, petrified and almost in tears. They went and complained to the Principal. Teacher when called, told that she meant it as a joke. She said she will stop such jokes. Parents took kids off from school for a week, talked to them and set them right. But, what baffles me is that the teacher still continues in the school. I don't know if parents didn't insist enough or what is the management issue, she continues in the same school and class.
We regard teachers at high respect and regard. They mold the minds of the young kids and prepare the next generation. If a teacher of Montessori stoops so low, what will happen to our kids? Their young and vulnerable minds will get entangled in thoughts and actions too premature for their age.
Sukritha has been moved to a different teacher. My friend will move her to a different school in March. But, do we or she know that the new school is free of such teachers. We never know what is in the new school. It is up to us to handle the kids from our end. We need to have casuals talk with them about their school, like how two friends talk. We need to ask them about their teacher, helper, friends, what work they did in school, with whom did they have food, with whom did they play, who got more stars, who got sad smileys, did any child fight, so on. If we keep talking, even if the child is intimated at school, he/she will gradually open up and start talking. But we should ensure that we don't shout or scold or pass judgements when we listen. If we do, they will stop sharing. If there is any issue, we should gently correct and suggest what best they can do next time.