Don't make things tougher for teachers

Having been an active volunteer in my children's schools for the past 10 years, I can understand why the school involved in the mobile phone incident with one of its student had to act and not budge from its stand (Parent sues school over confiscated mobile phone; June 7).

Teachers today have hectic teaching schedules, and their lives are made tougher by parents who set exacting standards for both their children and educators. But the teachers' lesson plans can easily go awry if students in their class misbehave.

It is not uncommon to see it happen. Some students start to distract the class even before the teacher has had a chance to begin teaching.

Perhaps it is their way of trying to stall, in the hope that the bell will sound by the time the teacher starts to get into her lesson.

This is why schools need rules and need these rules to be enforced strictly.

School authorities would have learnt by now that they need some clear rules when it comes to mobile phones and their usage.

They are also smart enough to spell out clearly the punishment for breaking these rules, and these are made known to students and parents at the beginning of the school year.

Respect and honour the rules, and the student gets to enjoy the use of his mobile device at the end of the school day and at home.

But if the student chooses to defy the school's authority and disobey the rules, then no one should be surprised if the student is punished.

The student should then just accept the punishment handed out.

As a parent, I find that I need to put my faith in the school and trust the teachers, the principal and the school system.

I have to believe that the teacher will do her best to engage my children and that she will provide instant feedback if they misbehave.

It is very trying to rein in individual "characters" in each class to get the lesson going.

Rather than get into altercations with teachers, I hope to be able to partner with my children's schools to bring out the best in each of my three children, be it academically or in the area of character building.

I urge more parents to speak up for teachers and schools, and not let these educators lose heart in what they have set forth to do: teach and impart passion for lifelong learning and knowledge acquisition in the future generations of Singaporeans.

Esther Chan (Mrs)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 08, 2017, with the headline 'Don't make things tougher for teachers'. Print Edition | Subscribe