One day my kid came home in an irritated mood. He was very very angry with his Hindi teacher. I asked him patiently what was the matter. He told me that the Hindi teacher had scolded him for no reason in front of whole class. He started narrating.
Son: Today the teacher was teaching us a poem in Hindi class. It was about importance of time. While teaching she asked “पल पल इकठ्ठा हो कर क्या बन जाता है?” (What do moments in time add up to?)
Son: I answered “घंटा” (an hour). Then the other kids in the class started laughing and teacher scolded me in the class. Did I say anything wrong Mamma??
I could sense the righteous anger in his tone. I heaved a sigh. Technically speaking there was nothing wrong in his answer. The catch was that Marathi being his mother tongue he didn’t know the Hindi slang. Literally speaking घंटा in Hindi means an hour. But in slang the same word has a vulgar meaning. The kids who knew this meaning laughed and created ruckus in the class. The teacher who knew this slang had scolded him and my son who didn’t know this slang was totally clueless. I pacified my son. I had to tell him that there was absolutely nothing wrong in his answer. But at the same time I had to explain him the how the word was used in slang. In slang it either meant “nothing” or “penis”. The teacher had obviously thought that he had purposely used this double meaning word in class and had scolded him. After listening to this he was pacified to some extent but some glitch remained in his mind.
In all this I appreciated the fact that the teacher was vigilant in the class and she had paid attention to the language kids were using. But one thing bothered me and it was that my son didn’t know why he was scolded. I decided to speak to his teacher. I made an appointment and met her.
I narrated the full incident to her. She recollected it easily. Firstly, I appreciated her keen attention towards the kids. Then I told her that I had absolutely no problem in teachers reprimanding my son if he made mistakes or if he misbehaved. But at the same time I expressed my concern that the child did not know why he was reprimanded. If he did not know the reason for scolding he would not be able to amend his behavior and he would end up having a grudge against teacher. I requested her to ensure that the kid knows the reason when they are reprimanded. After listening the teacher also agreed with my view point.
Friends some times it happens with us also. We are adults and our thinking pattern is governed by social acceptance norms. But kids are more impulsive and may not understand our view. If admonishment or punishment is required then do so but let the kid know the reason. Else how the kid would understand where he went wrong or where he needs to improvise.
Come to think of social acceptance norms I remember one more incident regarding measurements on liquor bottle. Let’s meet next week with a new story.