Death by school work

Death by school work


Death by school work
If you have kids, it is understood their school projects are your projects. From CEOs to clerks, all are afflicted with school projects if they are afflicted with kids. And whatever you do, you can never beat other parents whose projects will always be better than yours. When you are bent over, personally licking foliage on to a mini cardboard hut, your little one will inform you:

“Medha’s father removed his teeth and pasted them on her poster of ‘Our Dental Structure.’ ”

“Arjun’s mother eloped with a neighbour who was a school-project expert.”

“Naina’s parents exhumed her grandmother’s body to send it across for the project on ‘Decay’.”

“Jonah’s mother painted herself nude and went with him to school as a caterpillar.”
In the good old days, there weren’t any projects — just homework given by teachers who scratched their backs with rulers, and threw bits of chalk at us. Now there is talk about different learning styles, hence multiple methods. In our times, there was just one learning style — called “stick-on-the-bottom”.

In kindergarten, the projects are innocent and sweet — but never of the kind that kids of that age can execute. Unless those kids are some kind of midget Einsteins and Rajnikanths. As new parents, I remember how keen we were to make school projects for our kids. Sometimes we even slipped out of office to construct ‘The Greedy Merchant’s House’. A far cry from the days when we would slip out to make those very babies we are now making projects for.

Times are brutal — I know of a friend who even stole office supplies for his daughter’s moral science project.

Another recalls creating a model depicting ‘The Snake and the Mongoose’ in a shoe box.
“It took a lot of effort — buying plastic versions of the characters, building a hut inside the box, a cradle, a baby. I made it realistic by throwing in real grass, creating small shrubs, painting the ceiling before I placed the dolls inside.”

Then her face falls. “On the day of submission, I gave my child a thousand instructions on how to deliver my piece of art to her teacher without damaging it. I also prayed for its safe journey. From what I hear, it did reach the school in one piece, but the teacher was absent. The project lay orphaned in the corner of the classroom. Then the students got to it. My snake was pulled out of its perch and tossed around. My grateful merchant was decapitated, and my mongoose was crushed beyond recognition.”

While the projects have kept increasing, teachers continue to find new ways of not accepting project work.
“Get it during Geography class.”
“Get it when others have also got theirs.”
“Shall I keep it on my head?”
“Tell your father to see me.”
Where is all this headed?
“Good business,” says Raman.
When Raman figured out that he did not have much of an academic future, he dropped out of fifth grade and started making ‘school projects’.

‘Windmills, Cir-cute, Sun, Satrun..’, he rattles off the list, while scraping the insides of his finger nails with the wind gauge. He is the priceless messiah who has rescued a thousand parents! In fact, if he could clean up a little, I could consider him as a son-in-law. Just imagine how lucky my grandchildren would be!

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox