The Board Exams of your children are to start soon. I know you are very anxious for your child to do well.
But please, do remember, amongst the students who will be sitting for the exams, there is an artist who doesn’t need to understand Math.
There is an entrepreneur who doesn’t care about History or English Literature.
There is a musician whose Chemistry marks won’t matter.
There is an athlete whose physical fitness is more important than physics.
If your child does get top marks, that’s great! But if he or she doesn’t, please don’t take away their self-confidence and dignity from them. Tell them it’s OK, it’s just an exam! They are cut out for much bigger things in life. Tell them, no matter what they score, you love them and will not judge them.
Please do this, and when you do, watch your children conquer the world. One exam or low marks won’t take away their dreams and talent. And please do not think that doctor’s and engineers are the only happy people in the world.”
This directive was issued by Zubair Ahmed Khan, Principal of International Indian School in Saudi Arabia, ahead of the CBSE-affiliated Board exams.
An image of the notice went viral as soon as it was posted by a Facebook user, Faju Farook. Both parents and students in India are applauding the directive considering the high stress and pressure to excel that accompanies school or competitive examinations.
According to a study by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), one in every five teenagers in India has a mental illness, and exam pressure is one of the primary contributors.
As students of classes 10 and 12 from the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and various state boards prepare for their upcoming boards, parents and teachers must focus on ways to help the young minds cope. Even issuing a simple directive like the International Indian School can assure students that exam marks are not the only benchmark to decide their future.
Here are four initiatives that school authorities, counsellors and parents can undertake to be more supportive towards students.
1. Toll-Free Numbers for Students
Last year, the central board appointed 87 counsellors to attend to the queries of CBSE students on a toll-free number. Of the total 1,356 calls, 619 were made to seek psychological counselling, revealed CBSE Senior Public Relations Officer Rama Sharma to Hindustan Times.
Likewise, CBSE’s Interactive Voice Response (IVR) service received 1,356 calls.
Anxiety, nervousness, lack of concentration and academic pressure from parents were some of the common issues raised by the students. While it is unfortunate that students are so anxious, there is an urgent need to provide much-needed guidance to them in a professional manner.
For CBSE students appearing for the board exams this year, this Toll-Free Helpline number can be reached: 1800 11 8004. For state board students, the toll-free number differs from state to state, to be released ahead of exams.
Here are some other helpline numbers where students can get academic tips and guidance on coping with stress:
1098 – Childline (pan India)
14417 – Helpline (for students in Tamil Nadu only)
044 24640050/60 – Sneha (Pan India)
2. Counselling Committees in School
Depending on the state and board, private and government schools must have in-house counsellors, who will ensure timely mental health interventions as well as address personal and academic problems of students.
The primary job of a counsellor is to listen to the student without any judgements or impositions and give them neutral advice. As a parent and teacher, you must inform the child about the facility and encourage them to utilise the service.
If the school does not have a counselling system, then, the parent should raise the issue during the parent-teacher meetings. It can go a long way in reducing exam strain.
3. What Can You Do As A Teacher
Before each exam and internal test, my class eight teacher would give all of us a pep talk that would last hardly a minute. She would wish us the best and ask us to be our own competitors. This was her way of eliminating comparison. She would end her short speech by reminding us that marks were important but not enough to determine our future.
As a student, I’d wish all my former and future teachers to have done the same.
“Dear Parent, the exams of children are to start soon. I know you’ll are really anxious for your child to do well but please do remember, amongst the students who will give the exams is an artist who doesn’t need to understand Math,” read a letter by Kolkata’s Heritage School, issued last year.
Sharing some motivating words with The Better India, a former teacher from Pune’s Rosary International School, Sumathi Sanjay says: “Examinations are only a part of the education system, they are a means not the end. Give your best and do not worry about outperforming others. The world is full of opportunities that will come your way.”
For a student, such inspirational words coming from a teacher can be very encouraging, considering they ought to be our initial role models.
4. What Can You Do As A Parent
It is normal for a student to get scared, experience stress and nervousness during exam-time. As a parent, you must ensure it is momentary and does not become permanent.
Instead of badgering your ward to study hard or even luring your child with a present if they score the highest marks, try to resolve their issues. Pay attention to their weak areas and understand why a particular subject is difficult for them. Do not diss their problems, instead, try to find a solution. Appreciate their efforts to be better and remind them to take study breaks.
Once the results are out, do not compare their marks with those of others. Celebrate their results even if they are below average. Tell them that they have ample room for improvisation.
Featured Image Source: CBSE Champions/Facebook
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)