Accord teachers due recognition and respect

Beatty Secondary School students learn about circuits with their teacher, Mr Michael See in April 2018. Teachers are at the front line of education and play a major role in shaping the values, knowledge and skills of our children.
Beatty Secondary School students learn about circuits with their teacher, Mr Michael See in April 2018. Teachers are at the front line of education and play a major role in shaping the values, knowledge and skills of our children.PHOTO: ST FILE

Having teachers work fewer hours but teach more may not necessarily address the need to look after the welfare of teachers and help them teach more effectively and efficiently (Teachers work fewer hours now, but teach more: Poll, June 20).

Teachers are at the front line of education and play a major role in shaping the values, knowledge and skills of our children.

They are pillars of the nation-building process because they help to mould the next generation of Singaporeans into responsible and productive members of society.

Unlike others in most jobs, teachers are invested in human lives, making it comparatively harder for them to detach themselves from their work.

They may carry concerns for their students even after school hours.

They may also be subjected to undue expectations from demanding parents as well as the public.

These pressures may affect their work performance, as well as the learning outcomes of their students.

I propose that the Ministry of Education reword its oft-quoted "Every Teacher, a Caring Educator" value statement to read "Every Teacher, a Valued and Caring Educator".

This expands on the value of teachers and accords them due recognition and respect.

At the same time, highlight the importance of looking after teachers' well-being so as to enhance their productivity and their impact on students.

This will send a stronger signal to the public that teachers are members of a respected profession and are vital members of our society.

Patrick Liew Siow Gian (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 22, 2019, with the headline 'Accord teachers due recognition and respect'. Print Edition | Subscribe