Recognise hidden costs in teaching

I read with disappointment the announcement that teachers will have to start paying for parking in schools soon (Teachers to pay for parking in schools from Aug; March 27).

I left the teaching service about four years ago and am currently working in an organisation where staff have to pay for parking.

However, it has never crossed my mind to begrudge my former colleagues for the "hidden perk" of free parking because, for most teachers, driving is a necessity.

Many teachers have to transport large piles of worksheets and books to and from school, simply because marking often cannot be completed in school.

In addition, lesson preparation and administrative work have to be done on bulky and heavy official laptops.

Constant standing, walking multiple flights of steps to get from one classroom to another and, for some, running after recalcitrant students have caused many teachers to be afflicted with knee and leg problems such that they have no choice but to drive.

For those with children, it is near impossible to take their children to school and be able to reach their own schools before assembly without a car.

If public servants can be reimbursed for their transport costs because they are considered essential to the job, shouldn't the same be applied to teachers in terms of driving and parking costs?

If we do not compensate teachers for the "hidden costs" of uncountable red pens, markers, reward stickers and gifts bought out of their own pockets, why are we so calculative with this so-called perk?

I seriously hope the ministries will reconsider this decision.

Peh Hui Peng (Miss)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 02, 2018, with the headline 'Recognise hidden costs in teaching'. Print Edition | Subscribe