03 October 2007

Single-session schools: Compensate teachers


I WELCOME the prime minister's call for more protection for schoolchildren (NST, Sept 25). He has suggested that schooling hours be extended to 4pm.

As a teacher, I have no qualms about this but then, what do we get in return?

Are the teachers going to be given extra pay for becoming the new “amahs” (nannies)? It is only fair that we be given some kind of gratification. A pay increase or some sort of extra allowance should be considered because our working hours are going to be increased quite significantly.

There is no logic for the government to increase our workload but pay us the same.

In fact, we need a better, revamped scheme for we are the worst treated and lowest paid among the lot in the professional group.
We started as teachers knowing very well the demands and heavy responsibilities that come with it. Our job does not end at 1.30pm or 2pm.

Many positive things could be achieved by extending the schooling hours, especially when it comes to extra classes, homework, co-curricular activities and, of course, the safety of the pupils.

To be more effective, I would suggest that the working hours of parents be streamlined according to schooling hours.

What is the point of starting school at 7.30am when parents only go to work at 8am or 9am?

School will finish at 4pm but parents will still be at work, whether government servants or in the private sector.

This will definitely defeat the purpose when our main agenda is the safety of the children.

Who is going to take care of the children from 4pm till the time the parents come to fetch them? Teachers, again?

Besides considering the extension of schooling hours, also consider that teachers are also human beings with families just like other working parents.

We also have children waiting at home for our attention and love.

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