behaviour, education, health, love, nutrition, parenting, teaching, TEEN

Why did brilliant Shweta need to rest every fifth period?

Shweta Wagle was my student  in the ninth standard.   When year after year we teach so many students,   some children manage to take a special place in our hearts and Shweta was one of them. She was  very   tall  like her other girl companions,  but for her age,  she appeared  rather a bit too thin and  frail. She was brilliant in math,  and as I taught, her eyes never left my face. Generally,  my maths classes used  to be always  in the first four periods,  in most of the classes. (The principal believed that Mathematics is a tough subject and students should learn it when they are fresh in the morning!!)  But  only  on two days in the week,  I used to have Swathe’s class in the fifth period,  which falls immediately after the lunch break.

To my surprise, Shwetha showed less interest in my lessons whenever it was in the 5th period, mechanically taking down the sums  or sometimes just wasting her time without writing the sums. Naturally,  this caught my attention,  because she was a good student and  it was weird to see her exhibit two opposite types of behaviour. After a month Swetha started trying to sleep in my class by putting her head down on the desk.  Again,  I ignored her, understanding very well the problems of  these young girls, when they just enter puberty and start menstruating, all that cramps  and pains they suffer. But when the situation continued for more than fifteen days I decided to look into her matter.

After the class, I called her outside the class and asked her“What is wrong  with you Shweta? Why are you sleeping in my class in the fifth period? Don’t you getcute-mother-pain enough sleep in the house?” Swetha licked her lips nervously and said,  “Madam I am not sleeping. I am trying to hide my painful cramps which I get every day.”   I was  now shocked.   I asked in a worried tone,  “ You get cramps every day in the fifth period? That is  half an hour after you take your lunch? It happens to you,  day after day,  without exception?” She said,  “Madam, originally the pain was not so much and bearable. But  now it is increasing every day and I am not able to put up with this pain”  I asked,  “Do you  also get the  same pain  after dinner  when you are in the house?”She said, “Yes Madam, after dinner also I get these cramps”

I asked,”Have you told your mother that you are getting the pain in the school every day after lunch?”   She said, “ Just one or two days I did tell her that I got the pain after eating. She told me that maybe,  I  would have tried to eat lunch very fast and that may  be giving me cramps.  She told me to eat slowly. “I stared  at the girl unable to believe this. I told her,  “ Please ask your  mother to come and see come tomorrow in the school  without fail”  she nodded her head and went to her class.

Next day, Shweta’s mother came to see me at the school during the recess.   we sat in the library and I told her about the regular cramps  of Shweta and asked her whether she is aware of these episodes. To my surprise,  her mother did not look much affected  but looked a bit confused as if to say why was I making a big issue of  this minor cramps          She said , “ Yes Madam Shweta does get some cramps once in a while. This age you know all girls get pains. Plus,she got this bad habit of gulping the food very fast  to finish her food. So maybe this causes some cramps for her.  She is otherwise a healthy girl and has no other problems. She is doing well in her studies also , isn’t she? ” I ignored this dismissal of my concern and persisted “What about  at dinner? Have you noticed if she is getting any pain after her dinner?” She looked at me blankly and said,  “Immediately after dinner she rushes to her room for homework and studying . So actually I don’t know … but  I don’t think she gets any pain”          dr chek

I told  her, “Mrs. Wagle I feel Swetha is definitely having some problems with her digestive track. Just for my sake, take her to an expert and get all the test done. If nothing is serious I would be too happy. But please do this … I don’t think  it is a regular pain”  She  half-heartedly promised to do so and left the school still wondering why I am blowing up a small stomach pain , rather than give her advise on her academic issues..

Swetha went on leave for two days for her various tests. Then her class teacher told me that she had applied for fifteen days leave on medical grounds,  as she had to undergo   an  abdominal surgery.

I waited for two days till the surgery was over  and then visited her in the hospital.  Swetha was frail and  looked white as a sheet  and was connected  to IV.  Her mother sitting near her was pleasantly surprised to caringsee me. Shweta’s face  light up on seeing me and she smiled at me faintly unable to talk. I patted her cheeks and said,  “Don’t   worry Shweta. You will be fine. Once you return to school I will explain to you all those lessons you missed in my class. Get well soon” I took leave and came out.


Swetha’s father ran out and caught up with me outside the room and said, “Thank you so much,  Madam, for saving our daughter’s life.   We did not know, that many time Swetha had starved herself keeping herself half hungry  so that she could study without falling asleep. This had  lead to ulcers   in her stomach and they had increased day after day. We were absolutely not knowing anything about her getting cramps in school and we did not take her to any  doctor. Actually,   the doctor said that the ulcer’s had grown so large, that suddenly one of them could have burst at   any time and she would have died immediately and…..…” His voice choked.

He folded his hand and said, “ Madam how will I ever thank you?” I myself was stunned  and thanked my “gut” instinct that had kicked in at the right time. I said, “Mr. Wagle, once you send your child to us in school, we are also an equal parent  to your child  as  much as you are. Hence it is our responsibility to take care of them, not  just  their education but also their well-being. ANYWAY THANK GOD THAT WE DETECTED THE PROBLEM IN TIME AND SAVED HER”Though  Shweta  had  to  miss nearly 40 days  of  her school, luckily this happened in the ninth standard,  and Swetha passed her tenth with flying colours with good health.

Dear parents,  when children are small we take great care to feed them right. As they grow up, I am sure we still serve them good food , but  the focus is mostly on the academics.  You get them the all the needed  books , admission  at  right classes or engage  a good tuition etc.  True puberty brings in a lot of physical changes and pains, but don’t be quick to dismiss any pains. Brilliant students like Shweta , coming to higher classes, try to cut down on food  so that, they can study more time without feeling heavy. Some other girls do it to become slim and look beautiful. Eating disorders often raise their ugly heads in this ageTeens often start a new diet, exclude certain food groups, and over time it morphs into a real problemHence it is the parent’s duty that they give them correct, nutritious food, and a number  of times , even if small quantities, Good-Food-Good-Mood so that they would never go hungry,  and  at the same time never feel too full or sleepy. Give them a lot of fruits and fruit  juices  and  also monitor if they are taking it.

While gynaecological causes are common with teen stomach cramps, it is important to check for other causes of digestive issues, such as inflammatory bowel disease, peptic ulcer disease or other anatomical causes of abdominal pain.(Read m0re here) Your child writing their first board examination  is  an important academic milestone event, while you help shape their academic success, make sure  you have  you have paid special attention to the teen’s health and diet.

Dear teachers, on your part of as teachers, as and when you teach  a  class, whatever be  the class size, you should have a   good observation of  every child.   Any illness, repeatedly happening  for any child,  should be brought to the notice of the parents for further investigation. Children spend all their day in school  with us teachers. Sometimes, they run straight to classes  and go home late in the evening and the parent doesn’t have so much interaction with their children,  as much as we do. Doing this duty, taking care of all round development  of our children is  the gift of our noble profession.




4 thoughts on “Why did brilliant Shweta need to rest every fifth period?”

  1. As a teacher I have also had to handle girls and have literally taken up an entire period to create awareness among them… it gives me great satisfaction when the girls themselves approach me for help and counsel during their turbulent times… Teachers are definitely responsible for the overall well being of the students… Very nice maam.

    Liked by 1 person

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