Respect teachers - they shape our kids' future

Preschoolers from My First Skool walking under the shelter as their teacher leads the way back to their centre.
Preschoolers from My First Skool walking under the shelter as their teacher leads the way back to their centre.PHOTO: ST FILE

I agree with Ms Jane Ng that one of the biggest challenges teachers face is difficult parents ("Not too late to say 'thank you' to a caring teacher"; Monday).

Instead of working together hand in hand for the benefit of the children, some parents often hinder the teacher's work.

When a teacher calls up a parent to highlight a child's problem, say inattentiveness, the parent may ask the teacher to seat the child in front of the class.

To the parent, this will solve the problem. Yet, even in the seating arrangement, the teacher faces constraints.

Children may be placed in mixed-ability groups to facilitate peer learning in group work, or there may be a buddy system already in operation; not to mention a well-behaved child may be sacrificed to offer a "choice" seat to the inattentive one.

Teachers need parents to reinforce what they are doing for the children in school and not sing a different tune.

A group of teacher friends I met recently mentioned that it was hard to promote good penmanship in school. Many children did not even know how to hold a pen properly.

My friend, being old school, considers good penmanship as reflecting acceptable work attitude, and brought it up as an area of concern to a parent.

The reply? "No need to have good handwriting. Everyone types nowadays."

What an uphill task teachers face.

There are some parents who excuse bad behaviour from their children as long as they are doing well academically.

So, inconsiderate action, anti-social behaviour and bad handwriting are brushed aside during parent-teacher meetings to give way to queries, such as "Why is this answer not awarded full marks?"

There are also parents who prefer to write to the press, post comments on Facebook or even write to the Ministry of Education.

The teacher's authority is often undermined. If parents take such a stance towards teachers, it is no wonder that there are disciplinary issues that teachers cannot resolve, for they do not get much respect from students.

I am glad parents like Ms Ng take the time to explain to their children what the teacher is doing. This will instil a sense of appreciation and understanding towards the hard work put in by teachers.

I often see signs put up at service counters urging the public to respect the organisation's staff. Parents need signs to remind them, too: Respect the important people that shape your children's future - teachers.

Evelyn Chan Wai Yee (Madam)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 28, 2015, with the headline 'Respect teachers - they shape our kids' future'. Print Edition | Subscribe