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Dear classmate,

I feel lost sometimes. Don’t get me wrong, I love your company along with 60 of our other classmates. I love that we can laugh about teachers’ weird pronunciations, silly mistakes and at really dumb doubts. But sometimes, I am scared that this isn’t enough. I fear that I won’t learn as much as I am supposed to. I am scared that when I have a dumb doubt, you would laugh right back at me. I see you hurrying along writing notes to the teachers accelerated speed, but all I see in my books are missed lines and hurried scribbles. I see you nodding away to trigonometry, but I have no idea what to do with my sinA.

You make it seem so easy with your hands raised in the air each time the teacher asks a question.

But what you don’t see, while spelling out your answer, is the cluelessness on my face as I try to decipher. I feel like I spend most of my time catching up. Even when we’re giggling about one thing or another, I always have my textbook under my bench trying to match up to you.

The rat race people keep talking about is real. Something I realised when you agreed with the teacher, when she asked if she could erase the board, and I was still struggling to write everything down. I thought about blaming you, I thought maybe it would be easier to blame it on the smart kid, but then I realised we were in the same boat.

You know when I realised that?

When I saw you looking with despair at the classmate who got to perform all the lab experiments. When I saw you looking disappointed as the teacher picked another student to answer her question. I saw you struggling to catch up, the day you came back to school after you’d  been home with the flu.

And as you approached me for the notes you’d missed, I realised we weren’t very different, infact all 60 of us were peas in a pod.

We walk to school with bag full of books that weigh us down, we compete with each other for the teacher’s attention, we struggle to stay afloat as heads bob in false understanding. We’re all too embarrassed to clear our doubts with a deep seeded fear of being ridiculed.

All we crave is one thing, a common remedy called, personal attention.

A world where the teacher didn’t take a month to learn your name. A world where you could ask a doubt at anytime, anywhere, with no giggles or insults. A world where we could learn at our own pace, without being pushed to match up to the smarter kids. A world where someone could figure out our weak areas and help us practice to be better. A world where every single one of us was the centre of attention and learning.

I just want to tell you, dear classmate, I don’t blame you, but I blame the system we’re a part of.

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