Schooling That Prepares You For Life, Rather Than Exams
School, more often than not, would strike fear in me. As would the prospect of going to school with unfinished homework, or the dreaded exams round the corner. This dread has carried itself well into my adulthood as well. Every time a work deadline looms, I unfailingly have the classic dream (nightmare?) that I’m walking into an exam room completely unprepared, either having forgotten to even buy the books for that subject or having forgotten my hall-ticket for the exam. It happened again, as recently as earlier this year. The Internet tells me this is fairly common, and I’m not the only one who has these dreams. Sometimes I wonder if this is half the reason for me to jump at the idea of a school that does away with dreary homework, testing tests, and exams. That, and the markedly different and refreshing approach to learning, perhaps.
Would I have even enjoyed my most dreaded subject — history- and not hated it if I’d been free to explore stories and see patterns, instead of being forced to memorize dates and years and names of kings and Viceroys who meant nothing to me? If art hadn’t been relegated to ‘free periods’ at the hands of an indifferent instructor, would I have been more confident about my desire to pursue art, and not taken a 15-year detour through engineering to get to it? Had I been encouraged to make my decisions for myself rather than having ideas forced down my throat, had I been taught how to think, instead of what to think, would I have spent less time second-guessing everything and turned out to be more self-assured? If the school had been a nurturing space where going down the rabbit-hole for things that caught our interest was encouraged and celebrated, instead of being forced to channel energies to the upcoming exams, I wonder how I would have turned out.
Given the current state of the world, I strongly believe that we need more rational-thinking, sensitive individuals who can choose for themselves, rather than follow the herd wordlessly. Schools that encourage rational thinking, nurture and welcome curiosity and questioning instead of mute compliance are much-needed. Imara, with its team of the most gentle, sensitive, and nurturing facilitators fits the bill in so many ways for us. Seeing my daughter excited to be back at school every day, seeing her grow in confidence day after day is a wonderful feeling. We’re seeing her grow into a fiercely independent, strong-willed young person (often maddeningly so), with whom the ‘Because-I-said-so’ argument will never fly. And we’re glad for it.
There is a quote by the famous psychologist Carl Jung – ‘The greatest burden a child must bear is the unlived life of its parents’. I guess that it refers to the expectations we project onto our children as parents, based on our desires and unfulfilled dreams. I do not want to project my unfulfilled dreams onto my daughter’s tiny shoulders, but I do want her schooling experience to be radically different from mine. I want it to be her library, laboratory, playground, and blank canvas rolled into one. I want it to be a place for her to explore and express freely and fearlessly, a place that will be a strong foundation for her to take on the world and give it the best version of herself.