Letter of the day

Acknowledge teachers as front-liners too

This may not be a novel perspective, but I hope to shed some light on how teachers seem to have been overlooked as Covid-19 unfolded over the past 18 months.

Let me begin by speaking on behalf of a close friend who works as an early childhood educator.

Since the start of the pandemic, many teachers have been asked to take learning online and ensure minimal disruption to students.

However, due to the unique nature of early childhood education, many pre-schools have been kept open to accommodate parents who work from home. As a result, pre-school teachers do not have an option to take learning online.

However, few incentives have been given to teachers or pre-school centres to thank them for their dedicated service throughout this entire period.

Teachers are tired and exhausted, but they hardly ever take time off.

I am an educator in the private sector and thankfully, I have had the privilege of taking my classes online.

While learning centres are provided with assistance if they qualify, many do not receive any form of grants or waivers.

Many parents are scrambling to sign their children up for tuition, fearing that online learning provided by schools is insufficient.

Amid a staff shortage, teachers have had to cope with the rising demands of parents while juggling a very heavy workload.

This brings me to an important question - are teachers not considered front-line workers?

Do we not deserve the same incentives that healthcare workers have received - such as the one-month bonus for front-line personnel last year?

Teachers are exposed to the dangers of Covid-19 the moment they step into their classrooms.

Their interaction with many students certainly qualifies the job as one that is high-risk.

We should be thinking about rewarding teachers.

After all, just like doctors and nurses, an entire nation relies on them.

Dhurrgah Mathivanan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 15, 2021, with the headline 'Acknowledge teachers as front-liners too'. Subscribe