suppandi responds to suppandi…

This is the second of the three email conversations. Of course it is long winding naturally! It was written by me, dammit!

But, have you read the previous two related posts to get the context please?

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Ramjee Swaminathan <…>
Date: Tue, Mar 15, 2011 at 8:48 AM
Subject: by way of an explanation
To: Aaaj
Cc: rama reddy <….com>

Dear Mr Aaaj:

Thanks for calling me early in the morning today – apologies for not
calling you last night, as I came home very, very late and was tired.
I got to see your mail to Rama now. This is my personal response to
you, based on the official discussion that  Sudha and I had with you

Normally I would not take so much time or energy to respond, but I
feel that I have to clear the air of accusations, emotion laced words
and misunderstandings. Besides, we have known each other personally
for a few years now.

I checked up with Rama for the mail that she said she sent to you a
few weeks back – and we were not able to retrieve it – the yahoo
mailing system server for school’s id had a glitch and crash a few weeks
back and we weren’t able to recover a whole lot of sent data as also the
inbox. We did not realize that her mail did not reach you. Perhaps your
mail was lost. Knowing the Internet mail system, am not sure what
really happened. But we looked at the pending tasks last weekend  and
asked Sudha (the admin) to reconfirm with you. That’s why she called
you and you spoke to me too.

You said in the mail:

> 1.  Arun doesn’t fit in in the Nammashale system

I did not say that. I said that if he had come in at 2.5 years of age
it would have been fine. I was about to start talking about planes,
normalization and stuff – but you were not willing to listen to me –
you only wanted a review. Each child is different – that is the beauty
of it.  Anjana is different and Arun is different. So there is no
standard set of rules for them. You would know this as a teacher
yourself. But, there should be physical strength and ability (to spend
24 hours in school) in the teacher, if one has to deal with each and
every child as per the needs of the child. The school does not have
the strength now, and we are actually looking at reduced and more
handleable numbers. I said, we can’t honestly take him because we are
not equipped now. I repeatedly said that it is NOT a reflection on the
child. It has only to do with our inability to handle.

You said in the mail:

> 2. If he is admitted then he will be a drain on  teacher resources

I said, each child requires special attention. And that there is a
very reduced strength of adults in the elementary now as it is! So I
said it will be difficult for the adult to handle more new children,
especially when we are curtailing / pruning down the numbers. Indeed
it makes no sense to decrease and increase the numbers at the same time.

I said, if your child gets in because of your pleas – it will not do
justice to the child, to the adults and to the rest of the children.
The ‘drain’ is because of these three reasons – and the child Arun
will not have to be blamed for this. I said it is not AT ALL a reflection
on the child. Besides I personally know the child to be ‘smart.’

In the call you made five different observations.

  1. questioning the competency of a non regular teacher to observe a child
  2. nammashaale is acting like casteists (hinting at a hidden,
    despicable agendas)
  3. the bad treatment meted out to a parent in respect of
    communications – not replying.
  4. If it worked for Anjana, why not for Arun.
  5. References for how a child admitted at 6 wont work in a montessori school

I will handle them one by one.

1. Please note that every teaching adult in nammashaale has the
requisite montessori qualification and expertise – excepting perhaps I
– and I did not observe your child. Besides, if you are questioning
the competency and the professional integrity of the teachers for a
regular thing/process such as observing the child, how can you be
comfortable in entrusting your child to them? If I were in your
position, I would not even bother, leave alone asking for a review or a rereview. I think there is a cognitive dissonance here.

2. Hmm – this really sets me thinking. If I really think that
nammashaale is casteist or showing caste like ‘narrow’  tendencies,
may be I would stay away from it and not ask for a review. But if you
had said it in the heat of the moment, I would understand you, but
definitely not agree with you. (personally, I feel that many of us
don’t understand caste at all! – we think that it is despicable, based
on some random knowledge that we have. I don’t think so. But, that’s
my opinion, not that of the school)

3. I said nammashaale mail id gets a humongous amount of mails – there
will be slippages. Besides (in our opinion) mail response was sent to
you – but there were followup calls from your side. We are really
sorry that we currently do not seem to have the energy to repeatedly
deal with issues. I would say that your point is valid. But think
about this, I said clearly about the response from school – which was
based on a previous internal discussion – you didn’t want a no and
wanted a review – so I promise to talk to Rama for a review – I did
talk to her – I then conveyed it to you – and again you want a rereview
and come up with all kinds of hints… What does one do if issues do
not get closed or the message is not clearly received (by both sides).
All of us seriously need to think. We do not seem to like ‘sorry’ as
an answer at all. Why isn’t a very considered and genuine ‘no’ is not
acceptable at all? Would you want us to be dishonest with you and
weakly accept the child and not deliver on it? Woudn’t this be a gross
injustice tp the child, to us and to you??

4. I am happy to here that you are satisfied with this aspect of
school – that it worked for Anjana. IMO, it did because there was no
major strain in the teacher resources at that point. This delicate
balance continues as of now – the next year will be difficult. So we
are not allowing ANY lateral entry now at the elementary level because
of the strained and stressed nature of teacher resources. Surely you
want all children to be as happy and as developed as Anjana?

5. There are the books written by Montessori which deal with the
concepts of normalization, sensitivity periods – there are a zillion
of them. You can go thru them at your leisure. But my point was more
from the management perspective. How does one pay individual attention
to a fresh, lateral entrant child, if there are not enough adults
likely to be available to manage the existing strength. As it is, the
adults work between 8.30 AM to 3.15 PM every day plus a minimum of 2
hours at home plus weekends plus handling parents’ calls at home,
checking emails, finding the money, dealing with haggling parents –
while drawing only a ‘basic living’ compensation.  I also agree that
all these are parts of the package. So we should find ways to deal
with this, while retaining our sanity. We are all plodding along in
our lives, voluntarily, of course.

Teaching in a small school with a heart, is not  at all like teaching
at higher levels and in other schools; I would even say that these
places are rather cushy and can put up with a lot of indifference and
incompetence from teachers, leave alone dishonesty – surely, you know
and appreciate that, being a good teacher that you are.


You have a right to your opinion about 1) competency 2) narrow
mindedness and 3) irresponsible nature of the school. In fact, your
right to your opinion will be defended by me. But I would also frankly
agree that I was disgusted at some of your thoughts and hints, and am
really sorry I slammed the receiver down – I was also groggy – not
enough sleep and you called at 6AM – which does not normally happen.

I really understand your anxiety and the fact that Arun going to the
same school as his sister would have helped in terms of logistics too
– apart from your perceptions of quality education etc etc.

Again I would reiterate that the decision is NOT about a particular
Arun – but because of the school’s current inability or the bandwidth
to handle many children – with same quality and care.

I wish the very best for you, your children.


ps: I have copied the mail to nammashaale yahoo id, and  I consider
the matter closed, which please note.


Next:  Mr. Aaaj exposes ramjee aka suppandi… (*gasp*)

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