Advice to teacher friends to stop doing the following in light of having to pay for parking charges in schools

By Ben Tan

Coming from a husband of an ex-teacher………… since the Auditor-General’s Office deemed it fair for teachers to pay for their parking at their own expenses, I guess I can advise all my teacher friends to stop spending money and effort on the following since it’s “fair wages policy”:

1. Children’s day gifts, class prizes, motivation prizes, class treats, encouragement cards, motivation posters to spur students to better themselves.

2. Additional study resources, revision notes created out of their own free time during endless nights, weekends and holidays.

3. Class charts, decorations, motivation posters, photos printed and paid for out of your own pockets to foster a more positive learning environment in the classroom.

4. Script marking marathons, lesson planning, research done at night, weekends and your own “protected time” during school holidays. After all, these should be done during your working hours in school right since the Auditor-General’s Office wants everything to be so clearly spelt out in black and white and also considering the fact you are not being paid overtime (OT) wages?

5. Answering parents’ messages, e-mails and phone calls after your slated working hours at 5pm. Oh yes, don’t even utilize your own internet and mobile data to do so since the Ministry of Education (MOE) DID NOT CONTRIBUTE A SINGLE CENT TOWARDS YOUR UTILITY BILLS. Doesn’t matter if any of your students suddenly faces an emergency or life and death matter within the family. It’s fair wage policy remember? Must be fair to you.

6. Additional remedial/supplementary lessons/consultation sessions held after school to help students who are weaker/taking key exams etc.

7. Giving your students pocket money/buying them food and drinks if they have financial difficulties or going for excursions. After all, it’s their own fault if they can’t afford to bring snacks for long trips right?

On top of that, teachers should stop doing the following unless a fee is paid for these non-teaching duties and services rendered:

1. Bringing students out for overseas trips/SYF/rehearsals/community events which often fall on weekday nights and weekends, in the process sacrificing your precious personal time which could be spent with friends and family.

2. Coming back on weekends to conduct workshops for parents to help them better assist their own child in coping with his/her learning. Come on, from teaching the child to teaching the parent as well? And all for free ??? Fyi private tuition centres charge anywhere between $50 and $100 an hour for such workshops!

3. One-to-one meetings with parents to deal with their child’s issues. Not forgetting having to endure scoldings and getting shouted at for no good reason on occasion. Mind you counselors in private practice charge hefty fees just to sit down and talk things out.

4. Planning and securing budgets for various projects, writing proposals, getting quotations, as well as other administrative stuff carried out in relation to procurement matters. After all, these are not done during official teaching hours right?

There are so much more unseen and unheard sacrifices that parents and students will never know, much less some people at HQ who only know how to blindly implement policies and yet never take ground feedback into proper account. While the amount is small, it is a signal from the top management that perhaps, the teachers should learn to be more “fair” to themselves and I fear that the ones who will really lose out will be future generations of children. In any case, I’m glad that my wife is no longer in the system; she is presently working in a less stressful and happier profession as a tutor. Truth be told, the remuneration is pretty good too.


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