Ensure professionalism of relief teachers

Often, relief teachers are placed in schools during times of manpower crunch.
Often, relief teachers are placed in schools during times of manpower crunch.PHOTO: ST FILE

My encounters with relief teachers in the Ministry of Education (MOE) schools have deepened my doubts about their professionalism and responsibilities.

In September last year, I gave feedback to my daughter's primary school that some relief teachers used Crimewatch videos as a way to "babysit" the class.

On one occasion, a Primary 4 class was shown a Crimewatch episode on "sextortion".

This contained suggestive scenes that are not suitable for viewing by primary school pupils.

I find it appalling that such videos were shown to primary school pupils during school hours, with no learning being done after the videos were screened.

The school informed me that the relief teachers had been counselled, but I remain deeply concerned about how much freedom relief teachers have in terms of the materials used in class, and how they conduct themselves.

They are not supervised and if students had not informed their parents on what had happened in class, their activities would have gone unnoticed.

While MOE has a code of professional conduct for all educators, including relief teachers, to adhere to, I am curious about how the schools that engage them ensure that this professionalism is shown.

Often, relief teachers are placed in schools during times of manpower crunch.

Supervision is, therefore, almost impossible. And this may ultimately have a detrimental effect on young minds.

Whether a student learns the right or wrong values can all come down to the teacher.

Madeleine Chang (Madam)