Who is to blame?
      “This is not my job; Aayammas [housekeeping ladies] are there to do it; they are appointed for this purpose,so don’t ask me to do this”- this was the reply I received from a high school student whom I asked to clean the desk scribbled he scribbled on. I was shocked! After spending significant time with him patiently, I understood that it is a learnt behaviour. And not only that, later I came to know from my colleague that he had told her that teachers salary is paid out of students’ fee, so the teachers have no rights to question students on any issue. I felt sorry for that poor boy, who has been guided in such a way!

        Coming back to the issue of the attitude of not taking responsibility for the mistake done by the student- this attitude comes in different forms such as littering the school premises, dirtying the rest rooms, not keeping back the library books in its proper place, not putting back the lab equipment, and so on-this is a serious issue to be addressed!
         Here when the students take rights to use the materials and place, they also need to take the responsibility to take care of such things. And this has to be introduced, instilled and reinforced both by the parents and the teachers. When at home, the students are allowed to take rights without assuming the responsibilities; they tend to follow the same at school. For them it is alright to be like this! Such children might follow the same while they visit their relatives or friends house. This in his later years is manifested as public nuisance, where people scribble right royally in buses, trains and monumental places. A general tendency of dissociation forms with their surroundings.
          Social skills don’t mean just socialising and mingling with everyone, it also means respecting and accepting responsibilities of public properties. For students this skill has to start right from school and at home in such a way that they use and treat the properties and people with respect. For this to happen, a separate curriculum cannot be designed! This has to be learned parenthetically, in their primary and secondary socialisation.Rights and responsibilities are Siamese twins; they do not come without another.
          And sometimes, when the parents speak ill of the teachers in front of their children, or when the teacher blames the parents in front of their students, the students understand clearly that the relationship between their teachers and parents is not so good!. This may cause discomfort in them and some students may even use this to play around to take advantage! On the other hand, when the teacher-parent relationship is smooth and friendly, and when the child feels that, the child could grow confidently and comfortably.

         And this situation is of adifferent degreein Government schools. There, the teachers’ concern is that students have no regard for their textbooks and notebooks, because it is provided to them for free. This unfortunately equates to the materials having almost no value.
So as a team, when the parents, teachers and the school work together to swap this behaviour with positive reinforcements, changes can be expected. Instead of playing the “blame game”, it has to be a coordinated effort! And most importantly, this team has to be the role model for this to materialize!
    Mrs. Jayanthi Ramesh
Corporate trainer & Teacher trainer