We are not going to teach your kids
These days the schools provide kids with many project-works. By and large they come under the banner of activity or creativity. Which is not really meant for the kids. It is for the parents. The activity I mean. The D.I.Y. hence is for parents- hence the heading. This creativity is meant to be shown especially while celebration of any festival, or a day, say rainy day and the like. Let’s try to see how it all started.
Tracing the history:
As far as I can think, these troubles started since Aditya Chopra’s Mohabbatein (2000). I will explain. To refresh your memory- in case you have seen it. And it doesn’t really matter in case you haven’t. The long and short of it is, the movie (in my personal opinion) kick-started the celebration of each and every festival in schools. Remember the last scene? That’s how things slowly grew.
So now (as the movie envisaged), each and every festival is celebrated in schools these days. Not that this is a bad thing per se. But you see when the schools decide to celebrate each festival, they need decorations, at least the bare minimum. When they decide to decorate, the teachers cannot do it all. When the teachers do it all, they ask the kids (apparently) to be creative and bring decorative items for the occasion.
And this is the time for the kids, I mean their parents to be creative. As if the studies and homework (despite Court and Government’s instructions) wasn’t enough. It is really exhausting. Take my word. To think of something good, if not unique and different every time. I am speaking this from personal experience.
D.I.Y. Christmas Project:
Recently my niece’s school gave us a Christmas project. Bring something based on Christmas theme. By the way does anyone remember who started this everything-will-be based-on-a theme business. (Was it Ekta Kapoor???).
Anyway, coming back to the project. We finally finished it. You-tube came to our rescue. This project work does seem to be a rampant issue. Hence the D.I.Y. videos, for helping mothers finish their wards’ project. After searching a lot of videos, we were able to pick-up the easiest possible item. Here is what we made:
The You-tube is a boon for parents for sure.
Before Mohabbatein (2000):
When I was in school, we used to complain of the strictness. No festivals of course were celebrated. Parties, a small one even, within the class were not allowed. We went to school, studied and came back. Yes, there were some extra-curricular activities. But only the really zealous and active kids took part (and these were not required to be performed by parents).
But in retrospect it feels life was easier back then. Nowadays, if parents aren’t worrying for the projects, they worry for the seemingly never-ending classes. Competition is really increasing for the parents, especially mothers. Everyone is not a born artist. But the school projects, how do they say it these days, pushes the mothers for better performance. You can call it motivation, I call it pushy. But it also encourages co-operation. Say if someone’s mother has a talent in this sphere then the child’s friends (or their mothers) send their projects to her too. Too bad our upbringing and culture do not allow them to charge for this help in projects.
Our Craft Lessons:
It’s not like we never learnt craft in schools. In primary classes teachers taught us Origami, parents just helped us in doing some practice or any homework etc. It was never the other way around.
The period was called S.U.P.W. Drawing and music classes were separate.
By the way can anyone enlighten me on what S.U.P.W. meant? Everyone usually referred to the short-form. Called it either as Some Useful Period or Some Useful Paper Wasted. These definitions have been used for so many years that I don’t remember it’s real full-form anymore.
Later on, in secondary classes, hemming, knitting and cross-stitch embroidery was in S.U.P.W. curriculum. To this day I do not know hemming. Not that it really matters, as these days only gent’s tailor use hemming. The lady’s tailors have stopped giving fine finishes. To ask them to hem your neckline or sides is met with a complete lesson on how redundant these things are. But this issue deserves a separate article.
So, hemming’s over. To embroidery. I like embroidery to be very frank. But having it in sixth and seventh standard course seemed like a waste of time. Also, it wasn’t like the course was really proper or structured. Then there was knitting. Knitting, I remember was taught quite properly and all. At the end we were handed over a knitting project, which most of the girls did not finish. But to our amusement (and shame) the boys turned out quite enthusiastic about it and actually prepared beautiful scarfs, a sleeveless pullover and few other things.
On top of everything else, they took examinations for S.U.P.W. The last one was in eighth and how glad everyone was. After that we did not have either the crafts, drawing or music lessons. At least the school knew that senior classes had other burdens.
It is not just the festivals but I know schools organize fares and hand project over to parents, I mean the students, to make the fare look good. Even if the fare is actually for senior classes (science or something else) the juniors are handed over projects for extra displays. Now that’s not fair.
But, please do not construe from the above that I am completely against any celebrations of any kind in schools. After all what’s the harm in little festivities. As long as they are little. But giving art and craft homework to parents, especially when they have gladly finished schooling- that’s so unfair, just not done.
I mean if the parents were really interested in art work, they would take art-classes. Right.
Why do the schools want to teach them? That’s the question- Can anyone out there answer it?
Have you made any such activity-based projects too? Please do share your experiences.
And before going, a heart-felt thanks for all those uploading their D.I.Y. videos on You-tube. Here’s the one we referred to: