SINGAPORE - Teachers in Singapore need to be role models for their students, from how they react to fake news to how they approach lifelong learning.
They also need to genuinely care for the welfare and development of their students, said Education Minister Ong Ye Kung on Wednesday (July 11).
He was speaking at the National Institute of Education Teachers' Investiture Ceremony, where 381 graduates received their Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees and diplomas in education, art education, home economics education, music education, physical education and special education.
"Be a role model, bearing in mind that for some of your students, you may well be the only role model they ever have in their growing-up years," said Mr Ong. "There is nothing more authentic than walking your talk."
He added that families entrust what they value most, their children, to teachers for guidance, which is a privilege no other profession has.
"You hold the hopes and dreams of many in your hands, and so you have to handle it with extreme care, and discharge that responsibility with wisdom, patience and determination," said Mr Ong.
He shared that his late mother was a Chinese teacher, who taught at Ngee Ann Secondary School and then Zhenghua Primary School.
When he grew older and whenever he went out with her, strangers would come up to introduce themselves as her students. Mr Ong described those encounters as "very heart-warming".
Teachers should also remember to continue learning through professional development opportunities such as higher degree programmes, said NIE director Christine Goh.
"Although you will have many duties to perform as a teacher, it is important that you remember your own learning needs."
A total of 885 new and returning teachers will receive their certificates over two ceremonies on Wednesday and Thursday.