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What do parents want from Loyola these days? A parent whose son joins the upper kindergarten (UKG) this year shares his expectations.

Note: This is a guest post. Author name witheld on request.

Ever since my son was born, I have been thinking about his school with a firm mind that his 12+ years of schooling should be memorable. Our being in Trivandrum, close to Loyola School, I thought of getting an admission for my child there. With year-long slow and steady preparation, and without letting him know that he was going to compete for a place in school, we taught him the basics and took him through the initial process of admission, to meet the expectations of the school from a UKG aspirant; my son finally got admitted to UKG. The child having met the school’s expectations, it is now time for the school to nurture and mould him. Here are some of my expectations, as a parent, from the school and teachers.

The school should offer a highly disciplined, clean, and neatly organised environment; in only such places can great character be developed. Students should have an wholesome atmosphere in their school. If there are set rules—dos and don’ts—and if that is practised by all, it will be easy for the new entrants to follow the same. Checks on personal grooming and hygiene of students are also important. Teachers need to check whether the student is properly groomed in proper uniform, clean and polished shoes, combed hair, trimmed nail, and the like.

All teachers should be well qualified, subject-matter experts, and above all, highly trained in the way they teach. For young students, teachers are the ultimate people. They firmly believe in what they are taught. So it is important that teachers come prepared and deliver the lectures in the most appropriate way, so that students understand what they learn and why they learn. Teachers should be always approachable. Teachers should try to make themselves loved rather than feared. There should be open and constructive feedback from teachers. Every student is different, and it is important for teachers to find out the real self, interest, strength, and weakness of students, and bring them up with adequate support. Make the classroom a safe haven—a great place that is conducive to learning. Let the teachers be aware of what is going on socially among students. Prohibit name-calling, teasing, and other forms of emotional distress. The school should make students feel the importance of learning; let them feel enthusiastic about going to school every morning.

Good infrastructure is important. Students should get access to a good library, sports amenities, and the like. The school should have a lot of extra-curricular activities that can help to develop their skills. It is also important for students to learn to cheer the victor (not to over rejoice or show ecstasy like Sreesanth and tease the loser), accept failures (not to get shattered and heartbroken, but learn lessons from failures), and congratulate the winners. Ultimately, they must learn to control emotions, and playgrounds and healthy competitions can make them learn this.

Learning to read, write, and speak sophisticated English is a must, and the school should be the best place for that. Make the student understand the importance of English language and why they have to learn and speak it. Often I have noticed students speaking either Malayalam or butler English, but teasing those who speak English. This can affect the morale of a student. Elocution practice and loud reading to improve pronunciation are some of the ways that the school can adopt to improve students’ English-speaking skills. Training in public speaking will give them lots of confidence and drive away stage fright.

The school must teach students good manners—how to behave in public, respect each other, and respect others (especially women and elders). It must teach the value of society and of being a good human, the value of money, the need for compassion to the have-nots, and to be sensitive to the needs of others.

It is also important that students learn to do some physical activities other than just sports and games. Let them learn from the school to do works like gardening, cleaning the surroundings, planting trees, and keeping the library and other common places neat, clean, and organised. Let them learn and develop a sense of belonging. Let every student get a chance to be the leader of their class at least for a short period.

As Don Bosco mentions in An Exhortation to Educators, “The boys should not only be loved, but realise that they are loved.”

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Which of these expectations are likely to be met in Loyola? What has been your experience of Loyola or other schools in the past five years? Have parents’ expectations remained the same since the 1970s, 1980s, or 1990s? As a parent, what else would you expect from Loyola today? Discuss these and more.

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Photo courtesy: Loyola School website