Teachers the backbone of our education system

As a student studying overseas, I am proud of Singapore's world-class education system.

Whenever I say I am from Singapore, my peers immediately assume that I am well educated and intelligent because I come from an education system that creates student achievement levels they can only dream of.

I am grateful to the policymakers and staff at the Ministry of Education for their astute judgment and foresight in creating and continually refining a robust education system, from which I have benefited tremendously.

This Teachers' Day, which is tomorrow , I dedicate a special "thank you" to the teachers I have met over the years.

Teaching is, fundamentally, a calling. Even with the best infrastructure and most rigorous curriculum, the success of the system ultimately lies with the teachers who man the classrooms.

When I was a student in a government school, it was not uncommon to see teachers give up promotional opportunities in order to stay in the classroom to do what they do best: teach.

When I later worked as a relief teacher, I started to better understand the huge sacrifices made by teachers.

Teachers often have to deal with demanding parents, yet, when there is a lack of parental guidance, they often have to fill those shoes.

I have met many teachers who are in the office at six in the morning or go on house visits late at night, just to help their students get through a difficult phase.

These teachers were not just doing their jobs, but also fulfilling their mission as true educators, and they deserve our utmost respect.

It is impossible to quantify the impact of good teachers, but their life-changing influence is palpable.

Benjamin Goh Chun Wei

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 01, 2016, with the headline 'Teachers the backbone of our education system'. Print Edition | Subscribe