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What can make our teachers happier and less overworked? - A Singapore Perspective.

Teachers feeling overworked and burnt out is a perennial issue in Singapore. Parents play a big role in this — be it in terms of disciplining their child, intervening with how teachers carry out their lessons, or expecting teachers to be "surrogate parents" or "babysitters".



SINGAPORE: Every week, Sandra (not her real name) lugs a small suitcase from her workplace back home. She’s neither a flight attendant nor a fashion designer — but a teacher bringing back her students’ papers for the weekend.

“We joke that we’re like air stewardesses, bringing our luggage back home after a long flight,” said the primary school mother tongue teacher.


“Because there’s so much to do in school that isn’t part of the classroom curriculum that my students’ homework has to be marked on the weekend. It’s easier to lug their exercise books than hand carry since there's up to 120 books.”

Like the other teachers who spoke to TODAY, Sandra joined the profession as she saw teaching as a noble job, allowing her to shape a future generation.


However, having to spend hours clearing administrative work, planning co-curricular activities (CCA) and handling parents have tired these teachers out.

All the teachers interviewed spoke on condition of anonymity, as they were not authorised to speak to the media.


“By the time the day ends and I’m done with meetings, I’ll have barely started on marking homework or might be in the midst of preparing for the next class,” said Sandra, who has been teaching for four years.


Beyond the heavy workload, secondary school teacher Mandy also struggles to draw the line when it comes to her working hours.

“Sometimes, there are children who need someone to speak to, and it can be a life or death situation. We’ll chat into the early hours of the morning, and while draining, I’m glad I can make a difference,” said the teacher with 20 years of experience.

“But other times, parents are contacting me over menial things like homework past my work hours, and expect me to respond almost instantly. It does take a toll because the line between my work and my life is blurred, I can’t just shut off.”

Teachers feeling overworked and facing burn-out is a perennial issue in Singapore, where there are high public expectations of the role that schools and teachers play in a child's life.

Just last year, a letter to the Straits Times' forum page penned by a husband of a teacher went viral when he called for teachers' workloads to be relooked so his wife could have more time with their family.



"How can we stop teachers from being exhausted and burnt out? They are already entering the school before sunrise and leaving only after sunset. The marking and calls to be answered continue at home," he said.


Read the Full Article via the link below.




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