Many of you ask me questions regarding joining a dummy school and so I decided to dedicated a post to this subject.
I will in detail mention my own experience and that should assist you to decide whether to join a dummy school or not.
Here is a link to the video
Here is a link to the video
I was the student of Dr. Virendra Swarup Education Center (ICSE Board) from class 6th to 10. Dr. VSEC is arguably the best school in Kanpur. 75 of us out of 150 scored above 90% in class 10th - the best in the city.
I had initially planned to leave the school after class 10th for JEE preparation. However, 4 days before my board exams began, my (real) sister's marriage was scheduled and so, my parents weren't able to focus at all on my future planning (coaching, school, etc) and so, the only option I had was to join FIITJEE (which was newly opened in Kanpur) and continue with the previous school.
I went to talk to a couple of schools to allow me to join the school without attending. However, all I had was my class 10th pre-boards marksheet - 80.83%. That was the highest in all 4 sections (yes, we have very rigid marking in the internal examinations), but still, I could not convince them that I was the topper. Seeing just 80%, all of them denied admission.
However, finally when board exams results were announced, I managed to top the school again (97.4%) and this time the same schools were all ready to take me. However, they demanded that I must attend the school at least 2-3 times a week, for which I was not ready and so, I decided to continue with Dr. VSEC (along with FIITJEE).
Most of my friends joined Kakadev coaching (which is a huge coaching hub in Kanpur). Even I was told to join Kakadev coaching, but seeing the amount of crowd (1200 students per batch), I decided to join FIITJEE rather (30 students per batch).
In school, I had to face enormous pressure. The teachers knew me (because I was school topper) and so, they had expectations from me. They expected me to attend the classes regularly, which was very difficult for me because I had to go to coaching in the summer heat, which was 10 kms from my home. Moreover, Kakadev coaching was teaching the students well in advance and so, they knew several topics which I was unaware of. So, when I used to ask questions in class, they used to make fun of me - "Aur FIITJEE jao, board exams top kar ke ud rahe hai".
I least cared about what they said. However, this wasn't the end. I used to ask questions in class (out of curiosity) and the chemistry teacher failed to answer them. So, a complain to the principal madam was done saying that I ask too many "rubbish" questions in the class and waste the time of the class.
This really made me irritated and I finally decided to leave the school. A close friend suggested me a dummy school. The next day I went to that school with my father and seeing my 10th class score, they immediately completed the admission formalities and agreed on my terms.
My father went to VSEC to get a TC (transfer certificate) and migration certificate. After too much of haggling and listening to principal madam's sarcastic comments, he was given both of them.
In the words or principal madam - "Goel sahab, mai jis bachche pe haath rakh deti hu, uska IIT me selection ho jaata hai."
However, this time my father really supported me a lot and he silently listened to those sarcastic remarks of principal madam. I really thank him for being so supportive.
However, trouble had no end. Another problem was yet to come to my home - my class 10th class teacher. She brought some random IIT Delhi guy (who was doing some management course at IIT Delhi) at my home to convince me that it would be disastrous for me if I leave school.
Since I was too close to her, she came personally at my home to meet my parents with that guy.
I did not know then that IITs have management courses as well and so I doubted that he was an IITian.
Anyway, she was successful in convincing my parents that I should not leave school else I will be doomed.
In her own words - "Aman, you have to get 90% in class 12th, otherwise they won't allow you to sit for IIT exam". The guy beside her nodded in agreement.
However, at that time the new JEE pattern wasn't announced and the only criteria to be eligible for JEE was to get 60% marks in +2 exams and so I really did not trust her. However, since I respected her a lot, I did not say a word to her and silently agreed.
In her words again (to my parents) - "bachcha hai, abhi samajhta nahi hai, life barbaad kar lega apni, aap hi ise samjhaiye".
Things were really going against me because my parents really were convinced by the words of my teacher.
Again in the words of ma'am - "Aman, we were told that you will be the school vice captain for the next session, and you will rule the school".
Me - "Ma'am, I don't want to rule the school."
She (to my parents) - "ise 80,000 per year ki scholarship dilwa denge, wahi jo akhil ko mili hai, aapka load bhi nahi hoga and iski 4 saal ki padhai ki kharcha bhi nikal jayega easily".
With all her energy, she managed to convince my parents and my parents were almost firing against me for my "childish" decision.
However, I was really passionate for a top 100 rank in JEE. From the day one, I wanted a 2 digit rank. I remember my friend's brother got AIR 125 in JEE 2010 and I told him the same day - "Abhishek bhaiya se achi rank layenge hum dono."
Things were going completely against me when something good happened. My mother told ma'am to give me 2 days to make an informed decision. YES! This was really really useful for me!
Ma'am could do nothing, but agree and she left.
After she left, my parents fired on me and tried hard to explain me that I might be on the wrong path.
However, I knew my academic potential, I was very confident of my own self.
I will mention a part of my conversation with my parents :
Mom - tujhe abhi itni akal nahi hai, madam ne kai bachcho ko dekha hai successful hote hue, tu unki baat maan
Me - nahi sun raha kisi cost pe kisi ki baat, mai school nahi continue karunga.
Me - agar meri baat nahi maani gayi, to mai padhai likhai karna band kar dunga, kar lo jo karna hai aap log (this was a really bold statement, but I was in my senses and I knew what I was saying and to whom I was saying)
Listening to that statement, my parents had nothing to say. All they could do is simply follow what I said.
The next day my mother called ma'am and told her that I am not ready to listen and so, I cannot continue the school any more.
Finally, I continued FIITJEE + a CBSE based dummy school.
Why a switch from ICSE to CBSE ?
Well, almost all competitive examinations (be it engineering or medical or commerce), essentially follow CBSE curriculum. Moreover, ICSE English is too hard - Shakespearean stuff, which I felt was useless in life, random poems (I hate literature) and long long stories.
CBSE was relatively easy. I took Physics, Chemistry, Maths, English, Hindi and Physical Education as the 6 subjects.
Why 6 subjects?
Well it was compulsory to take 6 subjects in my new school.
Why not Computers?
Well, I initially took computers, but later changed it to Hindi because I feared that CS might need a good chunk of my time. Also, I was taught a great deal of programming till class 10th. I knew object oriented programming by the end of class 10th (check ICSE syllabus if you doubt my words) and so, I really thought that taking computers will consume time.
Why Hindi and not something else?
Well, the school was too lame to offer more subjects. I had scored 94/100 in Hindi in class 10th without much effort and so, I thought it would be easy. Moreover, my mother could also help me with Hindi (thanks to her that I scored 78/100 in Hindi in class 12th, else I would have failed :P )
How was the dummy school experience?
Well it was dangerous :P
I used to make notes in an executive diary. It was such a village type school that the batchmates were amazed to see an executive diary.
Anyway, I and my friend both joined the school together and so, we used to go together when needed. Moreover, we became friends with a few people. One of them helped us keeping updated with school events and examinations.
Since we had bribed the school, they also used to call me and inform me of the exams (LOL :P)
Did I appear for the exams?
Well the school as I said was lame.
Class 12th preboards - gave Physics, chemistry and maths exams. 3 more were left.
My friend and I met at the usual place (we used to go to school by public transport - 12 kms away). It was too cold - December time, freezing cold, temperature approaching 0 degrees in Kanpur.
Me - yaar bohot thand hai
He - ha yaar jaana to padega hi
Me - agar na jaye to kya ukhaad lenge?
He - hmm
Me - abey ditch na, ghar chal, kuch na kar paye ye log
He - pagal hai kya?
Me - chal ghar chal chup chap
And we both went back home :P
Result: scored 43% (based on PCM score only :P) and ranked 3rd (friend was 2nd :/)
What about practicals etc?
Well, the guy whom we became friends with, gave us physics and chemistry practical notebook. 1 day and we copied all of it :P
Of course, we knew all the concepts and so, nothing wrong in copying (come on, be practical :P)
Well, they asked us to make a project on a particular sport. I was a huge fan of cricket and so opened wikipedia and copied the summary of all IPL events :P
Physical education practical?
Ahh, that was horrible. They made us do sit-ups, push-ups, and what not.
But something amazing happened. There was also an event of short put throwing. I don't know how, I managed to threw it the farthest :P
All my batch mates, who were super strong people were stunned!
Aman rocked, class mates shocked B-)
What about board exam preparation?
Well, I have written a post on that, please search it in the "all posts" section.
What was my reaction when JEE Main system was announced?
Aha! Now that's a good question. Well, by the time the system came, I had performed relatively well in a few tests of FIITJEE (scoring center rank 1 inspite of getting 153/240). Never mind, parents were happy and so they did not bother me ever for my studies throughout my JEE preparation and so, they did not doubt me about this new system as well.
I always used to assure them that I will manage to be in the top 20 percentile and most of the time, they used to be convinced (except a few times when the aunty next door used to confuse her :/)
Did my temperament change when I heard about the new system?
Not at all. being in the 20 percentile was a piece of cake - and I knew that. I had immense faith in my own self. I was very confident about myself. I rarely trust anyone except my own self (and few others) :P
What to do now? Dummy or not?
Well, I leave that up to you. No one supported me. I was alone and my parents + teachers were against me, but my self confidence helped me to convince all of them. I really have no advice for you all here. I told my story in detail. Now you should decide what suits you. You may show this to your parents to convince them if you want. However, "no advice from my side". So, please do not comment below asking if you should join dummy school or not. Just imagine - when my parents, who were so close to me did not know my potential at that time, how do I know about you ?
Interesting ending -
What happened to the class teacher?
Well, she never picked up my phone when I called her after JEE results were declared.
That's not all.
I went to school to distribute sweets to teachers (of course most of them loved me and were very happy on my success and I am in contact with most of them), principal madam told a peon to tell me and my father that she is ill and so she can't meet us.
Aha, there is more to it.
We both could see that she was chilling in her cabin as usual (I knew everything about the school and went around her office to see her from her office's window :P)
More more interesting stuff! Don't run, read on.
Summer 2014. I went to my sister's home to drop her. As I was driving, I saw my class 10th class teacher. I stopped the car, did a namste respectfully and told her to wait a minute, I will park the car aside and come back. She agreed with a smile.
I came back and boom! Magic!! She vanished!
Ok aman, end this long article now.
There is more interesting stuff.
She met my mother recently in a mall and silently bent her head and went away after making a moment eye contact with my mom :P
I really do not want to criticize anyone with the sarcasm in this article.
I want to highlight a few points:
- Parents must trust their children. I understand that today's generation is particularly spoiled, but parents must give a chance to students. I understand a parent's concern and I understand that they want our best. But, they must give a chance if they do not have a knowledge here. My parents did not even know the full form of JEE. They had least idea of IITs, engineering or anything. My father is a businessman and mother is a housewife. I do not belong to some highly educated or qualified family. I know that same is the case with most of the parents in India and so, I request the parents to give a chance to your children.
- Self confidence is the key to success. You should learn to stand by your decisions. You should make wise and informed decisions and stand by them, no matter what.
- Teachers can at times fool you. Yes, the school authorities just want board exam results and so, they will focus primarily (or solely) on that. No one in school cares about your IIT result. All they want is a large fraction of students who score 95% in board exams.
- Do not be sentimentally attached to school. Life is indeed a race and if you don't run fast, you will be like a broken egg (3 idiots :P). Learn to move ahead. A few of my friends who had great potential to do well but who did not leave school because they were sentimentally attached to school, could not do well in JEE. Understand that if not after 10th, you will anyway have to leave school after 12th.
- Do not get attached sentimentally to school friends. Yes, that might be offensive for many of you. But note that this is my own opinion. I am not enforcing anything on you. I am just presenting my own opinion and if you find it offensive, skip this point and read relevant stuff. Now why did I say that? Well, remember the people who said to me - "Aur FIITJEE jao". That guy somehow arranged my contact number and called my up after JEE to ask - "Yaar 1 saal FIITJEE join kar lenge to IIT me ho jayega?". Note that there were 3 of them and I am glad to say that 1 of them managed to get a rank in JEE 2014 (yes, I am really glad - no hatred, what he said was just to make fun)
To make this post interesting and to show you how people change, here is something for you:
I hope this long post gives you some motivation and helps you to decide if you should join a dummy school or not.
One more thing. Many of you ask me: "bhaiya, please tell me so and so"
Me: "its there on blog"
You: "I did not find it"
Me: "Check comments on so and so post"
You: "I still did not get it"
Well, note that I cannot help here. I cannot answer same questions again and again. Since YOU post wrong comments on wrong posts (asking about board exams in an olympiad based post), its your responsibility to scroll through the comments and search it.
My job is to help you by writing articles. Its your job to do the rest, I hope you will agree :)