Time again for psychiatrists, medical practitioners and counsellors to be inundated with panic calls from nervous parents and educators unable to handle the anxieties of children. But then the big question that lies before us do we have to corner it to such an extreme, can we not try or at least make an attempt to ensure that stress levels are balanced with children facing the exam monster?
“They deserve this reassurance from you for they walked into your school gates many years ago with stars in their eyes. Let them walk out of your gates with dreams in their eyes.”
In other words these board exams literally seem to me are not just a test of the students who appear for it, but is also a test of the teachers and a parameter to rate the school’s performance. Undeniably a school is today evaluated by the society on the performance chart either displayed through well embellished boards in the lobby of the school or a congratulatory message in the media or simple marketing strategies. This in turn is dovetailed by unnecessary pressures on the schooling system which is then reflected in the stress levels of children. More often than not it is noted that the issue lies with the elders who are far more anxious than the children. This complicates matters further.
A couple of years ago a friend of mine who heads a school called me to take a suggestion on what she could do to calm the nerves of students attending board exams. I told her that the best thing to do was to make use of her position and act like a pressure valve, talk to the students and parents. It is very important to have a session with parents and speak to them
and calm them. Reassure them that you and your school have given in everything to bring up the children. Tell them to have faith on the upbringing meted out by the school and your experience. Children will do well not just in the boards but also in their lives. Leave them with a message that there are a series of exams one challenging than the other ahead for children in life and parents should be their strength and not an additional pressure.
Every year schools hold valedictory functions that are very ceremonial by nature. As a ritual you have the school head who in the valedictory message talks to the graduating students. All this is invariably done from a pedestal. What I am talking about is an intimate conversation between the principal and the students. Get the students together and talk your heart out to them. Show the love and concern you have for them openly. It is your last chance to do it. Put across your expectations to them not from the perspective of the board exams, but what you would like to see of them many years after they have left your school. Let them know the fact that board exams are not the biggest test of their life; that it is but one more step in life. The last thing you should do is tell them that the name and reputation of your schools depends on their performance in exams.
Make the occasion very personal, narrate inspiring stories of your past students, how they achieved success in life inspite of all odds. Let your emotions flow, if a tear rolls down your eye don’t stop it, free yourself and talk to them. They deserve this reassurance from you for they walked into your school gates many years ago with stars in their eyes. Let them
walk out of your gates with dreams in their eyes.