Coaching for Success?

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To coach or not to coach

I am not one for coaching classes. Especially if one is a dedicated and disciplined student.

However, the recent tragedy of the coaching class in Surat, brought back memories of my own tryst with them.

My younger daughter Anna Shetty left a perfectly good school in Class 10 ( after the ICSE) to join a perfectly good college. Her logic was that children from ICSE schools didn’t get time to study for the medical college entrance examinations hence it was better to go to a regular college. Further, she argued the system was not geared for ‘scoring’ in the entrance tests.

But having joined the college she needed to go for coaching classes because only coaching classes ensured good scores.

So began the search for good classes.

There are millions of classes in Mumbai – classes for almost everything. And they are all over the place.

But how did we choose a good class? After all, apart from the assurance of good scores, we also had to take location and personal safety into account.

Boylogy class

A class to learn about boys ?

No! Stupid ! I could imagine the teacher telling me and spelling it out for me : B I O L O G Y boylogy!

The class was in a posh locality but in a run down building .

When I went with Anna Shetty to check out the class Mrs D proudly claimed that every prominent doctor in the city had coached with her!

I was relieved to hear that. No hitch so far.

However, four classes down I was horrified to hear that the classes weren’t exactly above board .

In order to deal with the contingency of a raid, the children were to ‘hide’ in the adjoining room behind the cupboard. She even had a mock test just to ensure that the children knew the drill.

“How would she explain a roomful of desks and chairs though?” I asked Anna Shetty .

“Oh ! Teacher will explain that this was her set up for the babies she often baby sat.

Luckily there was no raid the year that Anna Shetty was with her.

Adding numbers

Even though maths wasn’t exactly a subject for qualifying for the medical entrance tests, the PCMB score was important.

There was one maths class at one end of Bhaji gully but the teacher was rude and insulting to the boys and a creepy lech with the girls . So this naturally ruled him out .

Luckily we found Mr B, a kindly Parsi gentleman who gave private tuitions.

Chemical Bonding

Just off Bhaji gully in a dilapidated building was Mr K’s Chemistry class . It was next to a chicken shop and during the rains when Nana Chowk would flood up, Anna Shetty had to wade through waist high water avoiding the floating claws and chicken heads.

Physical training

By the time she found her physics class I was prepared for another hole in the wall. This one was on the third floor of an old building with a rickety staircase and hanging wires. The locality was pretty dodgy so I would insist on picking her up especially when it got dark.

In conclusion

That one year was harrowing for me as a mum. The classes would sometimes end at as late at 10 in the night and Hubby Dear and I would fetch her .

Of course , she did become a doctor but I doubt the coaching classes had anything to really do with it .

So for medical college I refused to send her to coaching class and my decision was proved right.

Eventually a coaching class at best ensures just a mark or two extra if all, so is it worth the risk ?

I don’t think so.

My heart goes out to all those parents who lost their children in the Surat Coaching Class tragedy. And I shudder to think of what PTSD the survivors are going through.

I only hope they achieve their dreams and put this horrific incident behind them .

What is your opinion on coaching classes?


Image for Unishta

Author: Unishta

A granny who always sees the humour in life and tries to do things differently. When others make cupcakes, this granny makes banana fritters. When she’s not busy chasing her grandchildren who love making her run around, she indulges in her passions of reading, writing, meeting friends and watching movies. And somewhere between all this she enjoys travelling and cooking!


  1. This coaching thing has become so all-pervasive everyone I know of is going to classes. That hiding behind the cupboard sounds scary. Oh and lecherous teachers are just worse.

  2. Enjoyed your humorous take on coaching classes even as I am deeply saddened by the Surat tragedy.My girls went for Math tution to a lovely woman who took four kids at a time. They didn’t aspire to Medical college but journalism, cinematography and archeology and all three have achieved their goals. The archaeologist is a PhD student at Cambridge University.

    1. Wow ! You must be a proud mum indeed ! It’s a relief to have them grown up and out of these rackets going on in the name of ‘education’

  3. I read that news in the papers and wondered what the families of those who lost their children must be going through. All their dreams and hopes for their kids shattered!
    As for me, I attended classes for Maths when in the 10th grade. it was nearby and the teacher was a family friend. But, I found it utterly boring as maths wasn’t a subject I particularly enjoyed studying.
    But, I feel, that if a student puts in his/her 100%, then he / she doesn’t really need to attend extra classes. Peer pressure is often the reason why some children join the classes even when they don’t need to.

  4. Woa didn’t know that coaching centers can be set up in dodgy places too. I loved how brave and determined your daughter was to wade through chicken feet and attend her classes. With that kind of sincerity she would have made it without the classes as well.
    I did engineering without going to coaching class, but I don’t know how difficult it is to get into medical without coaching. I just read about the Surat incident. It breaks my heart to think how thr parents must be feeling now.
    Rajlakshmi recently posted…Pregnancy, fitness, and disappearing eyebrowsMy Profile

    1. Yes I told her that she didn’t need a class but she thought I was being ‘cheap’ because these classes are cheap either . And she not only braved the chicken legs she changed three trains through rain and shine , terror attacks for FIVE years and today is enjoying the fruits of her labour. You young girls of today are made of different stuff !

  5. I don’t know if I would be okay with coaching centers that stay up till 10 pm. beyond a point, the stress of learning so much in just one day… my own experiences decades ago were not so good. I was happy to eventually leave the center and study by myself… and well, I’m now into my second decade as a doctor.

  6. I never understood the coaching class mentality – back when I was at school, I went for maths and science tuitions till from grade 8 to 10 because I genuinely struggled with those subjects. Once I finished school and was rid of them, life became so much easier. I understand tuition for those who have learning difficulties/struggle with certain subjects but otherwise it makes no sense to me.
    Sanch @ Sanch Writes recently posted…Coffee ritualsMy Profile

    1. Precisely! And yet they thrive and multiply preying on these young kids’ psychology. Perhaps the parents too feel that they have done their bit to see that their child becomes a doctor/ engineer

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