Forum: Flexi-adjunct teacher more effective without administrative, CCA duties

I refer to the Ministry of Education's response (Positive aspects of taking on CCA responsibilities for teachers, Sept 23) to Mr Peter See's suggestion on managing teachers' workload (Remove CCA responsibilities from teachers' workload, Sept 15).

Few people would argue against the positive aspects of co-curricular activities (CCAs) and taking on CCA responsibilities.

However, both sides may be missing the point regarding teachers' workload.

As a flexi-adjunct teacher, I can see how overwhelmed my full-time colleagues are, juggling classroom teaching, committee duties, administrative tasks and CCA responsibilities.

Without administrative, committee and CCA duties, I have become a more effective classroom teacher than I ever was. The freed-up time lets me focus on lesson conceptualisation, preparation and delivery, not to mention marking.

Even during my first stint as a flexi-adjunct teacher from 2007 to 2009, I shared with the then senior parliamentary secretary for health, who was interested to find out how and why I was able to deliver results during the then pilot programme for academically at-risk students, that I simply had more time to tailor lessons to those students.

Unfortunately, my voice and those I echo seem to have gone unheard.

An opinion piece by Straits Times associate editor Chua Mui Hoong asks whether Singapore has a culture of overwork (Work-life balance: Every worker's right or a reward after decades of service?, Sept 23). For teaching, it is a resounding "yes".

Perhaps it is time for the ministry to revise teachers' workload to better balance teaching, CCA and other responsibilities.

Teachers are now dealing with more parents who are much more demanding, and students with more and greater needs, including special needs.

Regarding CCA responsibilities, perhaps we can learn from the example of a top girls' school which recently posted an opening for a CCA teacher.

Siew Yee Kit

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