Mina came home and told her mum that her teacher does not like her. “Why do you feel that way?” asked her mum; let’s call her Mandira.

Often, Mina complains that if she tries to talk to her teacher, the latter tells her off. She says, she is busy and asks her to stop talking. Mina is nine years old and is taught to speak politely at home. This behaviour of her teacher has left her confused and unhappy.

She is also buddied off with a classmate who was known for being a bully and caused Mina more unhappiness. Mina would tell her mum about how she solved some math problems that the teacher had asked them to and her buddy tore off the paper before she could show the answers to her teacher.

This time Mina explained to her mum that her stationery had gone missing; the scissors have disappeared, the pencils have been snapped into halves and some of the colour pencils from the Faber-Castell set are also not there in the box anymore. So Mina had gone to tell her teacher about this, when the teacher snapped at her again.

Experiencing this unpleasantness on a daily basis, Mandira decided to request for an appointment with the said teacher. Meanwhile, she had also made some mental notes of what needs to be discussed.
The teacher wrote back an extremely polite reply, and fixed a date for the meeting.

On the day of the meeting, Mina was asked by her teacher to be present too. Mandira was quite taken aback at how polite and friendly the teacher was, not only to her but also to Mina. She even praised Mina in eloquent terms, about her progress in class as well as for being a very well-mannered student. Quite naturally, Mina was very pleased with herself and even started preening.

Mandira took a step back to re-evaluate the situation. Was this a ploy of an extremely clever woman to cover up for her shortcomings as a teacher? Has the teacher pre-empted the purpose of the meeting?
Every time she raised an issue to discuss, the teacher tried to come up with an explanation. To top it, Mina even started covering up. When it came to discussing her buddy’s behaviour, the teacher asked Mina, “Why didn’t you come and tell me what she did with your math worksheet?”

To Mandira’s horror and surprise, Mina replied, “I didn’t tell you anything because she said sorry to be many times and told me she ripped it accidentally. She is now very polite and plays with me too during play-time.”

Mandira could not believe her ears. Is this the same child who keeps crying about how rude her teacher is and how rude her buddy is? She felt like the meeting was a waste of her time. She felt she was a victim to the clever teacher’s ploy. After an hour or so, she left the room fuming and disappointed.

On their way back home, she took out her frustration on Mina. She told her off for going back on everything she told at home. By the end of it, Mina started crying and told her mum, “For once I was happy with my teacher and tried to be nice and polite. But you still shout at me and make me unhappy.”

That shut up Mandira and left her wondering what is the best course of action to tackle the situation without hurting her child’s confidence or taking away her innocence and happiness.

Do you have a suggestion?