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Taking excessive load off our teachers

  • The authorities must do their utmost to address the teachers' problems and not to crush them under unbearably heavy workload

Sin Chew Daily

Suicides involving school teachers were recently reported in SJKC Sungai Chua and SJKC Sungai Way, sparking tremendous public concerns about the well-being of our teachers.

Engineers of the human soul, teachers not only convey valuable knowledge to their students but also sculpt the students' characters and personalities.

Consequently, they have a very heavy responsibility to shoulder and the society generally has very high expectations from them. With education increasingly common and overall standard of education on the rise, parents have even higher expectations from teachers now than ever.

We cannot deny that the responsibility upon the shoulders of teachers is getting increasingly heavy nowadays. Unfortunately, as we look to them to groom star performers in public examinations, we often overlook their workload and tremendous stress they are subjected to.

To some, perhaps the teachers' only duty is to teach, and thanks to long school holidays, they are making good incomes with plenty of leisure time without realizing that their work involves also endless administrative chores and excessive mental challenges that come with the government's education transformation agenda, in addition to imparting knowledge to the students, putting them under unprecedented stress.

According to the the National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP), complaints have been received from teachers almost on a daily basis of their excessive workload, showing that this issue does not just happen to a handful of teachers but the entire teaching community.

From what we understand, they need to submit large numbers of reports and handle all kinds of chores such as helping raise funds for their schools, among others. As a result, they have to work longer and longer hours.

In the meantime, the constantly changing government education policies have forced the teachers to make rushy adaptations and adjustments, indirectly adding to their already heavy work pressure.

Do bear in mind that teachers are ordinary human beings, and not everyone can take this amount of pressure and workload.

Some of the teachers have reportedly sought medical assistance and are on the brink of mental breakdown, attesting to the fact that they are indeed under huge pressure.

Teachers play a very crucial role in the country's education system. If they underperform as a consequence of poor mental health, the teaching quality and students' progress will invariably be impacted.

The authorities must do their utmost to address this issue and not to crush them under unbearably heavy workload.

Both the education ministry and school authorities must closely monitor the teachers' mental status, and set up counseling units to help them overcome the pressure.

Most importantly the ministry must tackle the issue from its root by taking away unnecessary non-teaching duties from the teachers so that they only need to concentrate on teaching.

 

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