In responding to the issue of teachers' overwhelming workloads, while some called for the removal of non-teaching tasks (Remove CCA responsibilities from teachers' workload, Sept 15), others suggested those duties can be beneficial to teachers (Teachers gain by learning soft skills, Sept 27).
However, such dichotomous perspectives may only distract us from focusing on the core issue of teachers' workloads.
With consistent evidence suggesting teachers are overworked, the primary objective is to find ways to make teachers' workloads more manageable.
To keep non-teaching duties as they are so that teachers can learn transferable soft skills misses the point. With constant overwork, new teachers may leave before they develop these skills.
Also, many have chosen the teaching profession because they genuinely wanted to play a part in developing and nurturing the future generation, and not because they can learn transferable skills so that they can be job-mobile.
Similarly, I believe many teachers are not calling for the complete removal of non-teaching duties. They do see the value in those duties, which can help to build better teacher-student rapport and help teachers to understand their students more holistically. Teaching and non-teaching duties can play complementary roles.
Perhaps it would be more constructive to think of ways to make teachers' workloads more manageable so that they can carry out both teaching and non-teaching duties effectively.
Perhaps we could explore how to make use of technology to reduce time spent marking students' work, or automate certain routine administrative tasks.
Or, we could recalibrate the priorities set between teaching and non-teaching duties to prevent burnout among teachers.
Wong Wan Hoong (Dr)