While the role of a teacher has been secure and accorded high esteem for a very long time, the profession is now facing some challenges.
The first is that of technology, with the organisation, retrieval and production of knowledge made accessible and convenient.
Online learning is a fabulous tool that can accelerate learning for motivated and mature students.
A young boy with the utmost diligence and necessary guidance has the option of being home tutored, and can achieve stellar results. This could increasingly become a more popular option.
The second challenge is that of a more human one, that of the burgeoning tuition industry.
In the past, we gave due recognition to teachers who organised extra classes for students.
But increasingly, parents prefer sending their children for tuition, as these sessions provide a smaller teacher-student ratio and more individualised attention than a typical school classroom environment.
Taking exams is a lot about mastery of knowledge and compensating for your weaknesses. So, it is not surprising that when students are made aware of gaps in their knowledge, they will generally improve.
In today's crowded class of 40, I wonder if it is possible for classroom teachers to attend to each and every child's particular needs, especially when it comes to grading essays and helping students improve in these writing assignments.
I salute school teachers who have worked tremendously hard, because they care for their students and find that educating the next generation is indeed a worthy pursuit.
I extend this commendation to tutors of all ranks, for they, too, have an undeniable role to play in many children's lives these days.
Ong Yuan Jun