Memoirs of an Educator: Report Card for Parents

Book Excerpt: Insights on Life as an Educator Spanning Four Decades

Mohan Dallumal

About the Author

Mr Mohan Dallumal is a Senior Lecturer at Dika College and the author of
Memoirs of an Educator. The Memoirs feature 169 short stories passionately
penned to capture accounts and insights that span over forty years.

Mr Mohan continues to inspire many with his endearing personality and love for
the teaching profession.

“Report Card for Parents!” is the 100th story in the Memoirs. Enjoy the read.

Report Cards for Parents!

I was on my way to Dika College in Puchong one morning to invigilate an exam, when I noticed a man, a woman and a little girl attempting to pass through some barriers placed on the road. The man was contemplating his move when the little girl demonstrated how to get through the barrier. The man then followed the technique and was able to get through the barrier. I am assuming that the three were a family, because soon after, they were happily having breakfast at the restaurant across the street. This incident made me realise that children are capable of being positive examples to their parents. 

Parents and teachers are good at giving report cards to children. I think it is high time that our children gave report cards to their parents and teachers. I believe our children will do a remarkable job in giving us the grades we deserve. We may be oblivious to this, but children actually notice our thoughts, feelings and mannerisms. They see us, hear us and speak to us every day. This puts them in quite a good position to give us feedback that we can use constructively to be better parents and teachers, if only we would allow them to. They are able to relate it to the dynamics of the day, place and time. I believe it will be invaluable in helping us enrich our parental and teaching roles. 

My daughter, Reshma, often reminds me to be less concerned about others and to take care of myself. She knows I worry about my family members, colleagues, friends, students and even my dog Sonu, when he was alive. She has studied me well and was able to give me the right medication for the betterment of my wellbeing. So these days, I take heed of her “prescription” and try to take better care of myself. In the same way, I am of the opinion that we should ask our children for their feedback in reference to our parenting or teaching roles. We should be open to their assessment and evaluation, and based on their feedback, conduct a self-assessment. I am sure that this will help us improve our day to day roles as parents and educators. 

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“I believe our children will do a remarkable job in giving us the grades we deserve.”
Mohan Dallumal

A child’s feedback on our mannerisms, our behaviour, our roles, our attitudes, our communication style, our commitment and discipline, and even our availability, can teach us so much about ourselves. Children have deep insight into their parents and teachers, and they give this feedback innocently and without malice. 

I remember some time ago, an organisation did a report card on parents in Malaysia. The response was obtained from teenagers throughout Malaysia. The results were quite telling. Mothers got an “A minus” and fathers got a “C plus”. Many young people felt that their fathers were absent while their mothers were doing a good job. 

As such, report cards for parents and teachers are invaluable, timely and essential. We have so much to learn from our children, who have so much to teach us. It is time that we receive a report card from our children. 

“Children are mirrors, they reflect back to us all we say and do.” Palm Leo

“Our children teach us what life is all about.” Angela Schwindt. 


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