Parents and teachers were given a chance to interact with each other about the upcoming XII board examinations, how to reduce the stress and anxiety associated with it, and other concerns on Saturday, during the Parent Teacher Meetings (PTMs) held at Delhi government schools exclusively for XII graders and their parents.
These PTMs can prove beneficial for schools like the Government Boys’ Senior Secondary School (GBSSS) in Sangam Vihar, where the school boasts of a 100 % attendance at these meetings for senior secondary classes.
“Last year, after a PTM, some parents approached me and told me that the floors in some classes were falling apart. Based on this feedback, I was able to get those classrooms re-laid,” said Ashok Kumar Tyagi, the principal of the school.
On Saturday too, parents at the PTM were able to voice their appreciation and their concerns. “One problem is that there are no regular teachers for certain science subjects. I worry that this will affect my child’s studies,” said Radheshyam Thakur, the parent of a XII grader at the school.
Many parents said that they never visited their children’s schools or met with their teachers before. “This is a very good initiative, and I attend this every time. Earlier we relied on our kids telling us how they did in school. Now we get to know about our child’s progress and how he is doing in school, directly from their teachers,” said Rehana, whose daughter Sheikha studies at the Government Sarvodaya Co-Education Vidyalaya in Ambedkar Nagar.
Mythili Bector, the principal of the school, said that they make extra efforts to ensure that the meeting is a fruitful experience for both the teachers and the parents.
“At least 85% of our parents turn up for PTMs. One of the major benefits of these meetings have been that absenteeism has reduced significantly over the last two years. Parents have realized that they need to send their kids to school regularly. We have also been able to identify students who leave home to attend school regularly, but sometimes don’t turn up in class,” she said.
The teachers here maintain meticulous records of students in a PTM register, that provides details about the students’ behaviour, discipline, punctuality, attendance, uniform, academic records, and also features pictures of the students and their parents/ designated guardians.
Saturday’s PTM session was tailor made to address the stress and anxiety that accompanies the board exam season, in addition to questions about preparations and academic performance. Group counselling sessions for the parents about the do’s and dont’s of exam preparation were also conducted.
“Parents also get stressed during exams; this only adds to the pressure and anxiety of the students. So we discussed things like how they should not overly criticise their kids or compare them to others. Instead, we told them to encourage and motivate the students,” said Nida Hasan, the Educational Vocational Guidance Counsellor (EVGC) at the Ambedkar Nagar school.
However, just a couple of kilometres away in Sangam Vihar, GBSSS does not have a EVGC on staff.
“We have not had an EVGC since the beginning of this academic year, eventhough it is highly essential here. Our students not only face academic pressures, but they are exposed to many unsavoury things in their everyday environment,” said Ashok Kumar Tyagi, the principal of the Sangam Vihar school.
The role of the counsellor at this school was fulfilled by a trained graduate teacher, RSR Yadav, who spoke to the parents and students about it is ok if you make a few mistakes and they should not let this affect the rest of their performance. “The key is to remain positive, and keep working hard. Be confident. Believe in yourselves,” he told the groups.