“No school today?” are the first words from Yog each morning. Even before he is out of bed, his blankets still rolled around him, he pops this question, looking expectantly at me for his desired response. I know he is already planning alternate strategies in his mind, even before he has heard my response. Deep cough from his mouth, vomit and stomach ache are few of his master cards. He knows he can call upon fever, or the bad headache from last month to his rescue as well. If none of this works, he can roll down some tears claiming trauma at school because his best friend does not like him anymore. Honestly speaking, this is the list of excuses I have encountered thus far. I am aware that as Yog grows, his innovation and imagination is only going to grow. The good news is that I have been through this phase before, with my daughter and hence less likely to worry. The bad news is that in spite of knowing what to expect, I still expect my child to be excited about going to school each morning.
I have debated in my mind why Yog hates school. I have spoken to his teacher and other parents and have ruled out any serious concerns about the school. Yet, each morning, his Jacqueline teacher had to lure him into class promising rhymes, games and coloring activities. As days turned into weeks, these promises have also lost their sheen. The latest motivation to get him to school is Lunch Box. I take time to decide, cook and pack his lunch box to give him a good reason to stay at school till lunch time. Typically, I take up the subject just before we reach school.
Today as I approached the school, I could sense Yog’s anxiety building up. I quickly exclaimed, “Yog, did you know what Mamma packed for your lunch today? (pause) Spaghetti!” His eyes lit up and he got instantly excited to get into school and open his lunch box.
As I drove off from school, watching Yog happily going into the gates with a sprint in his steps, I thanked Spaghetti for saving me the negotiations for today. I wondered what will have come to my rescue tomorrow. And then, I wondered, why does it have to be like this? Why do children at Yogs age not want to go to school each day? Why do we need games and lunch boxes to get them behind school gates? As parents, teachers, society, and the education system what are we doing wrong?
I don’t have answers to my questions, but I know for sure that this is not the way it was supposed to be. School was supposed to be fun. Learning was supposed to be enjoyable and Life was supposed to be happy. Where did we go wrong?