This was a very different and equally shocking experience of the week. Now that this seems to be the growing reality in our families and schools, this needs sharing with the people of our generation and the one just below us. The ultimate hope is that we learn lessons from some examples and regular occurrences now and prepare squarely to face them in the days ahead. The preparation needs full awareness with complete understanding of the situation.
One normal morning Raj Sapkota, a first grader at a newly established private secondary school in the city’s suburb in the northern direction, suddenly changed his mind and declined to go to school. This was strange. He was very regular. Just one week before this came to his mind, he was not only normal but also a delightful child. He took pride in handing over a gift, a beautiful pen, to this scribe brought by his father while on vacation from his job in Israel. Raj had indeed urged the father to bring this gift to his favourite ‘teacher’ and had waited a few days with the pen in his bag until we met.
And suddenly he had changed his mind to remain absent and not go to the class he had loved from almost the day of the school’s establishment three years ago and located only five minutes’ walk for him and his grandfather. The grandfather was also shocked to see this sudden change in his ward’s behaviour. He was advised to wait for a few days and watch any positive change in Raj’s behaviour and not force him to do things Raj did not want to do.
Raj’s grandfather complied with this request, kept encouraging him to take a walk around the home, near the school but not enter. Raj would only come nearby, listen to the noises inside the school premise, including those of his own classmates, the assembly and the school song. It did not take long for him to finally decide to go to class and mix up with the kids of his age, the teachers, the games, the excursion, and the kitchen crew in the cafeteria.
The story at another secondary school, located in the hub of the metropolitan city of Kathmandu, also new and relatively small, is different from the one mentioned in case One. Here, the difference is significant and meaningful although it turns out that the reason was the same and universal. It demonstrated the direction our family, society and urban culture are now heading where there is little or no chance of return.
According to information, the whole class, Class IX, had gone almost ‘wild’. Children, aged 13 to 15, were stealing things from each other’s bags, hiding books and throwing things, accusing each other for the loss of things, crying and showing extreme anger, and not listening to the teachers, including the head teachers. It looked as if the school was tired of this nuisance and did not have a way out to correct their behaviour and bring them to the right track.
The principal then entered the class and gave one major lesson on ‘good conduct versus bad’, defining these words as much as he could and outlining the need of good conduct in everyday life. A few days later, there was some positive change in some children, the majority still adamant and unwilling to change for the better. One major change that was visible was that they were willing to cooperate with the coordinator and the principal.
Once their cooperation began to come in, there were bigger chances for their overall development, including changes in their thinking pattern and respect for others’ property - big or small. This would mean that their school bags would remain safe, their pens and pencils intact and their troubled minds stay in better shape.
This has been a week of ‘wait and see’. The time may come when the school will have to ‘evacuate’ some of the highly unmotivated and destructive students to stop them from infecting their behaviours to the junior grades. This is not the best solution and not a case of success; in fact, here the school, along with the child, is a case of utter ‘failure.’
This elementary grade teacher (there are several such cases, indeed, and counting) broke her marriage after the couple had a male child born to them. The mother won the legal battle and had the boy enrolled at this school in a nice suburb quarter of the city, off the Ring Road. Out of a sense of compassion and social responsibility, the school gave her the job.
In less than a year of her victory in the legal battle, she began to hunt for another male and found one far away from her school job. Soon she carried another child, the first from her second husband. It turned out she had to cope with several misfortunes - stay away from her new husband or the job she liked, the first child in her care, and the new baby growing every hour.
Without consulting anyone, this newly-wed teacher decided to abort the foetus and save the job. When it took forever to recover from the operation, the school could wait no longer and terminated her job. The new husband learned about the ‘miscarriage’ by choice, and he and the entire family were not happy either. Every parent cheers up when a child shows existence deep inside the mom’s body. Who knows what happens next time? In this case, things were moving pretty fast but in the wrong direction. This marriage now, within less than a year, seems facing a jeopardy. A miracle has to occur to save it.
(To be continued….)