G for Group Discussion

In my fifth post E for Examination Expectations, I wrote about a certain school following a ridiculous assessment methodology. That post had details about the final steps of the evaluation process while the first step of a Group Discussion involving the parents and decision-making authorities of the school follows here.

In his tenure of being a medical student and then working as a Doctor in various cities, Sr. T had never even heard of the concept of Group Discussion or GD, as we prefer to call it. As a B-school student, I had been part of this terrifying process twice in my life. The first time that I was a part of a GD group was to get through ta B-school and the second time happened as part of the campus recruitment selection process by a certain organization. This school was the only one who spoke of a GD and our curiosity to see how crazy things could get landed us in the school on the date of interaction.

On the scheduled day of the interview, there were a bunch of parents with their respective kids sitting in a posh air-conditioned conference room waiting for their turn. Post verification of the documents, a group of five parents and their kids were asked to walk inside a meeting room that had the Head of the institution and a child counselor already waiting for us. 

The Head welcomed the kids with a toffee each wherein she expected every child to say ‘Thank You’ after taking the toffee (later she claimed to be checking the social skills of the child). After the initial formality of introducing ourselves, she threw the forum open for discussing the old and new parenting practices. Sr. T had a wide grin on his face as he looked at me. All through my student life, I had been the kind who raised her hand first in response to a teachers question. Also, I happen to be quite an opinionated person. He knew that I was raving to go at this topic. Little did I know that the group composed of someone who was more enthusiastic than me. 

Whatever be the situation, these two can manage to have fun together
Whatever be the situation, these two can manage to have fun together

This particular father didn’t even waste a minute before taking the plunge and define his idea of how technology had helped in the evolution of parenting practices.  In no time, he was snubbed by the Head about technology being responsible for parents spending less time with children. This was an unexpected turn of events because the school boasted of its technological advancements. It led me to believe that this was a lady who believed in traditional methods of parenting and teaching but the pay package offered by the new age school had probably been too lucrative for her to refuse. The conflict in her thoughts and actions was too evident.

I took it upon next to speak about a balanced approach in parenting practices by taking the best from both traditions and technology. The lady sitting next to me had come alone for this interaction as her husband was on duty, working in the merchant navy. Her contribution to the discussion was the words ‘Yes I agree’ to anything that was anybody said. It didn’t matter if the views were contradictory. She had decided to agree to all.

Beside her, sat another lady who worked as a State Government employee. She made it clear about communicating in Bengali only because she was proud of her mother tongue(she said it!). It made me wonder why she wasn’t seeking admissions in the State board schools only instead of wasting her time at a CBSE Board English medium school.  As she gave us lessons about traditions and principles in raising a child, I wondered if I was a student sitting in a moral science class. She refused to let her husband speak a word. 

The next set of parents were a Hindi speaking Businessman father and a homemaker mother. The father was too preoccupied for this GD. He had been busy on his iPhone all through and the mother barely said, ‘A mix of parenting is good’ before moving on to adjust her Prada Tote bag on the table. The message was clear – they were wealthy enough to get the kid admitted here with or without the interaction.

The last set of parents consisted of a father who seemed to be on the border of getting an anxiety attack anytime. Out of severe tension, he almost choked while trying to convey about his upbringing in a small town and how he grew up amidst his grandparents in broken English. The worried mother kept looking at her husband hoping that they would survive this GD and she didn’t get an opportunity to speak.

Sr. T had keenly been observing the unfolding of drama until then. Realizing that the end was drawing near, he raised the first finger of his right-hand to seek permission to speak (not kidding about this pretense!). The Head who was well aware of Sr. T’s profession immediately said ‘Yes Sir, please go ahead!’ He was the only one who was addressed as Sir while for the rest of us, it was just the usual ‘Yes please.’

For the next five minutes, we had an uninterrupted session from Sr. T about the bonds that teachers shared with their students in the eighties and nineties because of traditional parenting practices. The number of nods that he got from the Head surpassed my ability to even keep a count. She kept saying, ‘Yes’, ‘Absolutely’, ‘You are so right.’ while secretly wondering if she should offer him a job on the spot (the latter part is a fabrication of my thoughts!). The GD ended because for the Head, Sr. T had already made the points that she wanted to hear. 

During this process, the five kids whose future was getting decided went around enjoying the freedom. Tuneer, by nature a shy and soft-spoken kid was seated on his chair for a while to finish his Eclairs. After that, he also walked around trying to explore the room while the adults battled it out on the table. After the GD was over, we got up to leave the room and take him to the interview room next. It was at this moment that I saw his hands holding four toffees. 

Looking at my startled face, Tuneer explained that he was had managed to locate the bowl of toffees on the table beside the counselor while playing with the chairs in that portion of the room. He had decidedly walked up to the table, taken two toffees and politely said ‘Thank You’ to the psychologist who had been too busy observing the discussion instead of hearing him. He had repeated the step once again realizing that his left hand was still empty and could hold two toffees in it. When we walked out of that room, an embarrassed me had Sr. T smiling from ‘ear to ear’ on my left and Jr. T grabbing a hand full of chocolates on my right. Both seemed to have had the most fun in this supposedly ‘serious’ discussion. 

I hope you had a great time reading this post. Stay tuned as I come back with a post on H tomorrow. In the meanwhile, you can read my previous posts in these 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.

48 thoughts on “G for Group Discussion”

  1. Again full of funny moments. And that was the best one when that lady refused to let her husband speak a single word. You described almost all the types of parents who are facing the G.D. I think you are the master, talking about school’s procedures and types of parents.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Welcome to new week. Your blog refreshed my memories during my sons GD. And there were similar characters in that room too. I remember i was feeling sometimes parents were demeaning each other thinking that will give more score to them. Like a debate.

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  3. You never fail to disappoint 😛 . I can surely feel the pressure of being ultra creative to keep up the tempo of my blogs and do justice to my readers but seems so effortless for you. The way you describe the whole scenario and paint the canvas with all the interesting characters around is terrific. Loving each and every post from you 🙂 .

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  4. Tuneer has his priorities right! He got the best of out of the deal. I was reading this with a smile pasted on my face. You have described the whole room so vividly that I can picture every parent. I am liking this series of yours!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I Love the way you describe Tuneer’s cute antics in each school. A group discussion for the parents for getting little kids admitted to the school. What next! Enjoying each and every one of your posts.

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  6. I find this so disgusting and disturbing. First, what if a parent is a great debater has to do with his child getting admitted to nursery school? Second, conducting group discussion among kids is out of question. Third, who decides which parents point is better? There may be more than one point of view. Is there an anchor who gives a chance to every parent to talk and state their point of view, and gives a toffee for the best answer? God where are you leading us to in the name of school admission of kids.

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  7. Sonia, your posts should be read by every parent looking to admit their child in school and by every parent to be. Your brilliant writing and sesne of humor helps to soften the blow these ‘procedures’ wreck on parents , entire families and of course the child in question. Hope you will be compiling these posts into an E-Book.

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  8. A good read. Group discussions these days have become the in thing. However, I don’t really like this idea. Thankfully for us, our daughter did not have to go through such a discussion.

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  9. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this one, vaise to I enjoy your every blog but thid is something I could so much relate to, as recently for my little one we were part of a similar situation. The only difference is my husband keeps mum, he feels it is kind of a loss of energy in explaining things to other so just imagine my duty gets doubled here 😃😃

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  10. I did enough of these GD sessions in B-schools and truly dreaded them. On occasion it could get nasty as people tend to take any counter-view as a personal insult. Imagining the scene of this GD though is making me laugh. Sr T sure earned a fan for himself and Tuneer got what he knows is best for him, chocolates. I’m not going to ask at which point your jaw dropped and how you picked it up! 😀

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  11. GD for parents for kid’s admission. Where are we heading to? I am really disturbed at this thought itself. What if certain parents come from Villages and can’t speak fluent English, will their kids not entitled for studying in those schools?

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  12. This is nuts. I just can’t believe it that a school actually had GD for a child’s admission. It is beyond ridiculous. Like you GD was only what I had to undergo for MBA admissions.

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  13. Now that’s why they say, a writer has to be a keen observer. And, I really don’t know how you managed to do that in such a tensed situation. I am deeply in love with your writing style Sonia. Muah!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Hahaha! A GD for nursery admissions has surpassed even my funniest admission story 😂
    In Delhi, we’ve only had to deal with parents wearing their various sporting and other medals while coming for document submission. I can’t even imagine how the GD would’ve been here.
    Too funny!

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  15. This is such a lovely series you are writing here… each post takes draws the reader into a different section of a world… we become a part of it by the end 🙂 awesome.

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  16. I had a super fabulous time reading this amusing post, Sonia! I could so visualise the entire scene through your words and especially loved your detailed account of how your hubby raised his finger to speak his mind and “how the Head was ready to offer him a job, there and then”!!! 😛
    Reading each of your posts makes me thank my lucky stars I was born in the 70s and did not have to go through this drama. Had there been a GD during my kindergarten admissions….well, let’s not go into that and let me just say, I would never had made it, but my mom would definitely have gotten a job in that school, too! 😛

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  17. I loved the way you describe the whole scene, I had a complete picture of the whole scenario while reading it. GD for parents is really new thing for me, and I am again in shock with these strange things of India education system.

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  18. I think I’m already in love with Jr. T! Took full advantage of the moment, making sure he dropped his “Thank you”s too at the right places! That is so Zen! 😀
    Find my F post @ 5 Must-Have Fitness Tools for Home Workout

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  19. Hehehe, another classic post from you Sonia. I am wondering whose admission you are seeking in schools? Sr. T seems to be outsmarting all in the school this time around.
    GD for kid’s admission, strange! We had a PI with the counselor 3 years ago for Kavya’s admission, to her they asked to answer some elementary questions and a couple of drawings. These schools cum corporate houses are pushing us toward the old ways of coming back to Home Schooling.
    Awaiting next post 🙂

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