Monday, February 27, 2017

Examination: An Opportunity to Showcase Your Hard Work
“The will to succeed is important, but what's more important is the will to prepare.”
Board/annual examinations are at hand. Both, parents and children are experiencing tremendous stress. In his recent speech honorable Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi postulated that examination season should infuse a spirit of festivity among parents and teachers as it is a chance to express and pen down the hard work done or the efforts exhibited throughout the year. But it’s easier said than done. The fact remains that exams are still stressful and testing for students as well as the parents. I have come across many cases where parents approach teachers seeking solutions of the problems which are mostly self created and virtual. Unfortunately, everybody becomes cautious and concerned during the time of examination but remain reluctant towards the entire process of learning throughout the year. This is true for a number of parents and students. Now, let’s try to understand the causes of this stress. 
The major cause of this stress is expectations on the part of the parents. Some of the parents expect their kids to perform beyond their limits and capabilities so that the family can boast of the intelligence of their child. The fantasy to be revered by the society on the grounds of the outstanding performance of their kids surpasses the reality that every child has his/her own capability. Any attempt to pressurize him/her beyond that will cause stress during the crucial period of examination. The parents unload such expectations in front of the children resulting in depression and frustration in them. It’s important to understand that this does not happen in a year. Such behaviour is initiated right from the day the child enters the premises of the school for the first time and in some cases even before the child is born the parents become anxious as to what their child will become in future. This brings us to the second cause of the stress which is quite related to the first one, this the strong desire of every parent to see their child perform as an all rounder regardless of his/her capacity, talents and passion. 
Interestingly, this is the peak time for commerce and we have witnessed a boom in economy. This has given birth to a misconception that even intelligence could be bought and it falls under a certain price tag. Parents thereby focus on providing as much as they can, materially that their emotional presence is overshadowed by the abundance of material stuff. Eventually, their love is measured in this material parameter. But parent’s expectations still remain unfulfilled as materials can not compensate for passions and talents. This proves the fact that our children need resourcefulness not resources. Abundance of resources hinders a childfrom appreciating the value of the things provided to them and they miss on the struggle involved in acquiring them. Therefore they fail to honourthe hard work put in by their parents. 
In theory, everyone appreciates the concept of failure as to how it teaches us to grow and learn from it but in practice no one wants their child to fail. Without mentioning any specific case I would assert that children under stress during the present times are not suffering due to personal problems but majorly due the problems created by their parents. I know a number of cases where contrary views and expectations of parents have pushed a child to a situation where the child burdened under the conflicting views of his parents has given up on himself and doesn’t want to appear in any examination where he is scared of bad performance. 
I would use a fictitious name to elaborate upon this case here. Ramesh is the only child and his parents are educated and in-service. The upbringing of both the parents had been in different backgrounds. After marriage their contradicting views became prominent. After the birth of their child their conflicting views started to work upon their child. They became more aggressive and tried to feed their child’s mind according to their set of thoughts. The child seemed to be doing alright but as he kept on encountering the opposing views, he was stressed to the level where he could not use his wisdom to decide what is good for him. Under all this stress he is completely unable to focus on studies or any extracurricularactivities. His parents would not expect anything less than what they think, individually, is good for their child. At the face of all these expectations and stress the kid tried to save himself by accusing his friends and even teachers. To get his parents approval and avoid the conflicts, he claimed that that his classmates are against him and the teachers are not ready to help him. The parents believed the same and blindly accused others for their child’s under achievement, rather than probing beneath the facts. This made the child good at making excuses and get away from hard work. The parents aspire that their child gets into a renowned engineering college without knowing his aptitude as there are many engineers doing well in the family. They have also ignored the fact that the child is capable of doing well in one of the sports and never tried to encourage him in that. It has become a common practice for the child that he pretends to be sickwhenever he is not prepared for an exam
He has been pushed to this situation by none other than his own parents without realizing that this individual can do extraordinarily well in his areas of interest, if allowed. The parents have not kept their conflicts to themselves but have let others get involved in their conflict and the act of blaming each other thereby bringing embarrassment to the child. With this the parents are failing each day in preparing the child for the challenges of life. A child needs supporting parents who could stand firmly beside him,helping him to realize his potential and faith in himself, in the testing times. 
But there is always a silver lining in the dark clouds. This statement is proved by many examples of supporting parents that I come across. Kamal(fictitious name), another student who was not able to cope up with the stress of studies and did poorly till half yearly was miraculously brought out of this situation as the parents with the guidance and support of the teachers helped the child cope up with the situation and the child did very well in the finals and was one of the high scoring students. 
I would avoid postulating what should be done during the year as the days left for the exams are few. Hence, parents and teachers should follow the following key points so as to enable the child to cope up with the stress during exam time:
• Do not waste time worrying about what hasn’t been learned yet, rather concentrate on what you are good at
• Pay more attention to the topic and chapter the student is confident in, divide the chapters as follows:
➢ Take up those chapters first in which the child is confident and cover them up (I am sure there are always certain topics in every subject with which the child is comfortable)
➢ Then take up the chapters in which the child is average and try to be more comfortable with them.
➢ Finally take up the topics the child is uncomfortable with and work smartly upon them. Children, do not try to cram them up or waste your energy on them. Look for the marks they carry and cover as per your capacity.
It’s important to keep in mind here that the topics and chapters that the kids cover themselves induce in them fathomless confidence which eventually drives out the negativity and stress. 
• The students should not be carried away by peer pressure and this could only happen when parents and their kids work as a team.
• At this crucial time the children should not be pushed to do something they are not comfortable with.
• Teachers should motivate and encourage every child by telling them their areas of strength, they can also give them some bullet points to follow
• Parents must provide them with all the possible support by keeping the environment of the home stress free i.e., family issues should not be discussed in their presence
I would like to conclude this article with the advice that the parents must realize that every child is capable of doing something extraordinary and these exams are not an end of life but a small step towards greater achievements. All children possess great potential and we as parents and teachers must help them exploiting that potential providing them the opportunities to achieve what they can by preparing them for healthy competition not inflicting unnecessary stress upon them. Finally, I wouldtry to raise the spirits of the students with this quote:
“So be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. And remember that life's A Great Balancing Act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! Kid, you'll move mountains.”