Stop instructing kids before exam, principal tells parents

Jhinuk Mazumdar
Jhinuk Mazumdar
Posted on 25 Feb 2024
06:07 AM
Representational image

Representational image File image

Principals of several schools said that parents tend to increase the tension and stress for their children by giving them too many instructions or being overprotective before such exams

A parent accompanying his son to school for the Class X board examinations kept telling him what not to do and what to write.

The principal, who was passing by and overheard the father’s monologue, asked the parent and a few others to meet him in his office.

The parents were told by the principal not to give instructions to the children at the last moment but allow them to relax.


The parents-principal dialogue happened on Wednesday before the ICSE English language paper at Julien Day School Kalyani.

Principals of several schools said that parents tend to increase the tension
and stress for their children by giving them too many instructions or being overprotective before such exams.

During the board exam season, parents are seen “hanging around” the school for the two or three hours that the child is writing the exam.

“Instructions or advice at the last moment can harm the student and they may find it difficult to concentrate. We discourage parents from doing so and tell them that after dropping their child to school for an exam, they should not hang around but leave and return when the paper ends,” said Terence Ireland, principal, St James’ School.

Ireland said that children should know that their parents are not waiting outside school.

“We see as many parents waiting outside the school as many students are writing the examination inside,” said Terence John, principal, Julien Day School Kalyani.

“On the first day of the Class X examinations, I had to call and speak to a few of the parents because they were increasing the tension for their children by constantly telling them what to write and what not to,” said John.

Teachers say they overhear parents asking children if they had revised a particular portion or urge them to strive for a 100 on 100.

“Such remarks can only increase the stress level of the child just before the exam. Some parents feel that they have stayed awake with their children and so they
have a right to instruct the child,” said psychiatrist Rima Mukherji.

Mukherji said that parental anxiety can become a cause of concern.

“Usually, one parent is more relaxed and I always suggest that the more relaxed parent should accompany the child to school for an exam,” said Mukherji.

A child who walks into an examination hall in a stressed-out state can end up writing
a paper much worse than what his or her preparations are.

“If the child is thinking about what she has not prepared she is as it is anxious. Those who have a concentration problem might then find reading a three-page question paper an overwhelming task. Some children fail to recollect what they know,” said Mukherji.

There are parents who take leave from work for an entire month during the child’s exam and are almost breathing down their neck every moment.

“We sign applications of parents who apply for leave from their workplace for children’s exam,” said John.

Principal of Loreto Elliot Road, Jessica Gomes Surana, said that expectations of
parents were usually very high.

“They too cannot be entirely blamed because competition is so high,” she said.

Most parents, principals across the city said, “hype up” board exams.

“We constantly tell our children that the board exam should be treated as an annual exam. But we are contradicted by their parents,” said Satabdi Bhattacharjee, principal, South City International School.

Last updated on 25 Feb 2024
06:10 AM
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