Taken from The Star, letter section, by Vincent Teh.
I HAD the privilege of being a temporary teacher at a primary school in rural Selangor, but I left feeling truly honoured to have had the experience of being a “cikgu” even if it were only for two weeks.
I am amazed at the amount of work that teachers put in to mould and mentor their young charges and totally agree that it is indeed a noble profession.
Teachers, traditionally, are supposed to teach and educate the young.
They also need to inculcate good moral values in youngsters so they can be better people.
Their focus is not only to teach. They also have to train their students for numerous sporting competitions.
This is not all, they have to single-handedly deal with the organising and preparation involved in getting the medals, gifts and certificates.
What’s more, they attend courses and meetings during school hours and at the same time have to keep up with the syllabus.
As if this isn’t enough, they are bogged down with paper work which involves the filling in of forms and writing reports about the extra-curricular activities.
Looks like the Education Ministry is trying to convert teachers into office workers!
What is the role of the school clerk then? Or have they been given other jobs?
I am told by a teacher that most of the paperwork, like the reports for the extra-curricular activities, is unnecessary and is just done for the sake of pleasing senior officials in the State Education Department and the Education Ministry.
No one actually reads them, and the documents either collect dust or are eventually thrown away. Isn’t this is a waste of time, money and resources?
Based on my observations, the teachers already have a packed schedule and countless books to mark.
They also have to prepare teaching materials before entering the class, but it is worth their effort because it is for the sake of the students.
However, the non-teaching chores take too much time and they are unable to devote enough time to teach their pupils.
Every time when there is degradation in the major exam results, the government will quickly blame a certain policy for failing to achieve its objectives, but has anyone thought that the heavy workload that teachers have to put off with might be the underlying reasons for students to be unprepared for their exams.
I have some suggestions that may be of help to reduce the paperwork that teachers are burdened with.
Â·Increase the number of clerks in the school as this will reduce the workload of teachers. It will increase job opportunities for those keen on clerical services.
Â·Train more PJK (Physical Education) teachers, so they can replace core-subject teachers and be specially in charge of training the students and bringing them to participate in the sporting competitions.
Â·Courses should be conducted during school holidays.
This will enable teachers to complete the syllabus and leave them with considerable time to carry out revision and extra classes for weaker students.
The government has to listen to the people. There is a Chinese proverb which says that sincere advice always sounds harsh to the ears, but it must be acted upon, if we want to see the results.