E for Examination Expectations

I usually don’t write posts in advance for it kills the thrill of writing. Today when I was brainstorming about the topic for my post, I came across a sheet of paper that got me giggling like a kid. It mentioned Assessment format on the top. The first line began as The expectation from this examination is to assess..’ and it went on for about a full page. Can you guess what examination we are talking about here?

Well, a new age school in the city that resembles a corporate house more than an educational institution had handed over this leaflet as part of the nursery admission brochure. The school still doesn’t have any board results to its credit but definitely has huge claims related to facilities and technological advancements. I am all for the holistic development of a child. There’s definitely much more to a child’s’ development than academics only and any school that encourages extra-curricular activities and sports has my support. However, when the same school has ridiculous standards of selection criteria, the hypocrisy gets too prominent. 

This particular school had two levels in the selection process – the first part involved a group discussion of parents and the later part was about interviewing the child. The leaflet spoke about the parameters on which a child was to be judged. It spoke about his knowledge of English alphabets, numbers, a couple of rhymes, his social skills, his ability to answer basic questions (glad that they didn’t mention oratory skills already) and his writing. Yes, you read it right! A three-year-old was going to be assessed on his ability to draw lines or a circle and write alphabets by joining the dots. 

Because it is his age to play, not give exams
Because it is his age to play and not give exams

I re-read this criterion thrice just to make sure that I got it right. This was the only school that had such ridiculous expectations from toddlers in the age group of three to three-and-a-half. At three, his then age, Tuneer had recently learned to hold a pencil and draw a few lines with help from his preschool teacher. That evening I decided to send a picture of this page to my father and father-in-law both. My father-in-law called it an insane and unscientific expectation while my father was glad that at least the school was very clear about being irrational, making our choice of rejecting it easy. 

Did we go for the interaction? Yes, we did only for the fun of it. I must say that they didn’t disappoint us in being so weird. While the group discussion experience will come up as a separate post very soon, I can’t stop laughing whenever I think of the interaction experience. Tuneer was taken inside a huge classroom along with five more kids. The parents were asked to wait outside though we could clearly see them through the glass windows. We saw Tuneer speaking with the teacher who was assigned to take his interview. After a few mins, she handed him a pencil and a couple of crayons probably to heck his writing and coloring skills.

My mind started screaming ‘danger’ and I had a strong urge to rush inside and save the situation. My boy loves crayons for the fact that they can be broken into pieces. He and his father both love pressing the crayons with fingers until they shatter into fragments. The teacher was oblivious to the risk that lay ahead of this interaction as I saw Tuneer looking at those two crayons with full attention. The glitter in Sr. T’s eyes at this particular moment deserves a special mention and I realized that this was going to be a lost battle.

Tuneer had already started displaying his skills on the crayons as the teacher went on trying to coax him to not break them. She tried taking them from his hands but by then the boy had successfully broken both crayons into multiple pieces. His face radiated joy and success as he looked up to see the startled face of the teacher. Not the kind to leave things incomplete, he took up the pencil and drew whatever the teacher had earlier asked him to. The interaction was immediately over and Tuneer came out with those fragments of crayons as his prize. 

A few days later when I tried talking to him about this incident, the results had already been announced and strangely, he had made it to the list. Sr. T was all praises for his son. According to him, the school had learned a lesson because of our son. “Going forward they will abolish writing as an assessment criterion because of Tuneer.” Of course, that was a father’s blind love for his only son talking making me stick to the decision of not getting him admitted in this school.

I hope this made you chuckle as much I had fun while reminiscing this incident. I will see you tomorrow with a fresh post on F. In the meanwhile, you can read the previous posts in this series here

Author: Sonia Chatterjee

Who am I? An Ex-Banker turned Blogger/Writer/Solopreneur. Any qualifications? A Postgraduate degree in Chemistry followed by Post Graduate Diploma in Management. I am still trying to figure out how and when I can connect all these dots to what I do presently. Have I done any real work? If two years in Market Research and six years in Banking (three different Banks though) as Branch Head can be considered as real work. Where do I live? After a nomadic sixteen years in Delhi, Bangalore & Mysore, I am back to where it all started from - Kolkata. My favorite things - Food, travel, books and my three and half-year-old toddler son What is this blog about? Sonia's musings is an attempt to channelize emotions through words and pictures hoping they touch a chord with my visitors.

51 thoughts on “E for Examination Expectations”

  1. Too funny. I remember a time (my son is now 45) when my son was about 3 1/2. He was in a preschool that met for only 2 or 3 hours a day. This was before all the emphasis on early learning as we have today. There was no exam – if you had money they took you. The goal of that preschool was to provide socialization group skills – not always possible in a home environment. You know, sharing, walking in a line, taking turns, good manners, etc. No academics. But he was a bright child and had picked up quite a bit at home. We took him to a doctor for his first eye exam. My husband took him. The doctor didn’t ask if the child knew his alphabet – just whipped that eye chart up with the letters and asked him to read it. As it turns out, he could – he knew his letters and a lot more – but many of his peers could not have done that. My husband shared the experience with me – with total surprise that the doctor didn’t at least ASK does he knew letters.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Enjoying each and every post to the core. It’s your distinctive style and respect to the language that enhances the experience. Let Tuneer enjoy some more for I am sure you and your better half along with reinforcements from the grandparents will make him learn the best things for his age and understanding.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love the fact that you and Sr. T are actually having fun and also visiting these schools to get a free dose of comedy show 😁
      We too were having fun, one of the schools sent an introductory email that had 5 grammatical errors. Glad they made the rejection easy!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Most schools follow such so called assessments for even kinder garden kids! I dont know if we should blame ourselves or the school. Of we dont keep competing so much for the seat, will school follow such?
    Frankly….
    Dont know the answer!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. School admissions, specially nursery admissions, are becoming crazy. So many rule, girls child, first born child, 10 km distance limit, now group discussion. I guess these people are trying to create objective criteria to include, but ending up creating ridiculous conditions. Things are still simpler in small er towns where one can walk in, kid can write a simple test and get admitted. Big cities are crazy. Despite not complying with teachers efforts, Tuneer broke the crayons and got in. So things are not as difficult, but never mind moving in the direction.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A really entertaining post. When we went for admission the school principal spoke of brain gym for my three year old whatever that may mean. I think they make these high-sounding noises because there are still people who get impressed by such jargon. Enjoying each one of your posts. Great going.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love this story. I met the people in these schools. They never cease to entertain.
    When my oldest was about six, we returned to the States after having traveled extensively due to my work. Because of our transient lifestyle, we had homeschooled him for the last few years. The school was very concerned that we had not been traditionally schooled and did their best not to openly sneer at us. They reluctantly decided to test him anyway to see if he was “smart enough” to be placed in their school.
    After the test, they had a concern about his reading ability. They told me that he didn’t even understand the sound letters should make which will prevent him from reading. My son reads very well, so I asked to see what they had shown him to read. They told me they never had him read since he didn’t even know letter sounds.
    They said for ‘x’ he just made a weird sound with his throat and when we showed him an ‘h’ he told us NO.
    I immediately knew the issue. I smiled and asked “did you explain to him what language you wanted the sounds for.” They looked confused. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you this sooner, but he speaks four languages. The ‘x’ sound he made is the correct pronunciation for Koine Greek. And he loves making that sound. He was probably thrilled to get to show it off for you. And the ‘h’ is silent in Spanish. We just moved here from a Spanish-speaking country. He was telling you that ‘h’ does not make a sound.”
    Their jaws dropped. They were already convinced he was uneducated because he had not been ‘properly schooled’ so they wrote him off without ACTUALLY talking to him.
    I am at Transformed Nonconformist. I usually write humor pieces, but I am getting serious this month. I’m writing about people who have deeply impacted my life.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Lol! Even I have came across lots of schools with these kinds of expectations from kids when I was trying to find a good school for my Kidos. But thankfully later I found one which just wanted to see if my son can cry and laugh and answer the questions asked to him and admitted him to the wonderful school he still goes to!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ha ha .. this was the cutest ever. I have to admit there really is a kind of pleasure in breaking up crayons. And I don’t blame T, or his dad one bit for enjoying it.
    On a serious note, to think that children will sit down and write when they’re three is expecting a bit too much. I hate the thought of schools turning into corporate houses with long quiet corridors and over efficient staff.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Crazy schools. I really feel sad for the kids whose parents get attracted to thse crazier schools. Honestly, we tried only one school of such kind when my kid was just 3 years old and with in 2 months into school we realized the big mistake, waited impatiently for the term to end and changed him to Montessori and now he is such a happy kid and we are relaxed parents.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. You go, Tuneer! 🙂 I would have broken the crayons too. Such ridiculous schools I tell you. I had one such experience for the elder son but then we did tauba tauba to such ‘enthusiastic’ schools.

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  11. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. But I also wonder why does a 3-year-old need to take exams just to prove their capability. This is literally insane.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I am glad you didn’t admit Tuneer to that snobbish school, Sonia. How can they imagine that a 3 yr old will be able to write? What do these schools want to prove, I fail to understand. WHatever happened to the simple times of our childhood when all we did was go to a school, get admission and then enjoy our school days!

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  13. Hahaha! Yupp, all chuckles and giggles! 😀
    “The glitter in Sr. T’s eyes at this particular moment deserves a special mention”
    Loved this line! Can imagine the look on that teacher’s face too! 😀 😀 😀
    So good that you shared this incident here!
    Find my E post @ Microwave Eggless Chocolate Cake Recipe | How To Make Eggless Chocolate Cake in Microwave

    Liked by 1 person

  14. And this is the biggest difference I see in India and schools of Poland. Never been to any other part of the world so donno about them but I’m sure things are not crazy as in India when it comes to education. Sadly

    Liked by 1 person

  15. if the child should already know how to write alphabet and number at age of 3 than parents should ditch the school and start homeschooling them because that child is way ahead of his age. its the same mentality of tuition classes around the country who only allow 90% taker, so that their result will be 100% always. really like the narration.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. That’s the sad part of our education system. How can you judge a 3-year-old for his writing skills and other stuff? Good to know the school changed their process. Creativity is the best way.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Funny quirky post Sonia, I love the lines where you mentioned how schools have started acting like these big corporate houses and have weird expectations from kids as well as parents.
    Love the Jr. T made them realize something and I was so sure he will be selected as a Yes.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. If the school was like a corporate house, Tuneer was the employee who could revolutionalise the place! This was indeed a hilarious episode. It also goes on to say that these interviews are conducted only for the sake of them. Parents and their profiles do play a big role in the admission process.

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  19. I have seen some schools here claiming to use Bloom’s Taxonomy, which is usually used in higher studies. I dont know where are we taking our kids!

    P.S. We haven’t started schooling of our kid yet. He will start pre-schooling this season. He has no idea of schooling yet.

    Like

  20. This post is definitely funny. Expectations for children and judging them at a mere age of 3 is… weird to me. The checklist was initially designed to identify if any child is different from others and help them out. With time it became another chucklesome headache.

    Liked by 1 person

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