REFER to your cover story “Teachers in a trap” (Star Education March 28), and am totally dismayed at the amount of work that teachers are burdened with.
This is obviously why they cannot give their best since they are performing clerical duties.
Teachers in my daughter’s school are complaining that they have been bogged down with unnecessary duties like filling up forms with irrelevant data that the school district requires.
More often than not, the data which needs to be computed is never done, and the forms just gather dust.
Sometimes information like this is requested by school heads who may want to impress their superiors at the state education departments or the Education Ministry.
While I empathise with teachers for being bogged down with these extra chores, I am equally alarmed at school heads and the authorities concerned for allowing teachers to attend courses, especially when they cannot find teachers to replace them.
Parents have said that their children have on many instances missed lessons over a considerable period of time because their class or form teachers were busy attending kursus or courses to hone their skills and knowledge. This is an issue I want addressed.
Sometimes there is no teacher during the period, and pupils are left to their own devices.
Findings have proven that a teacher’s presence in class has a positive effect on pupils. Very young pupils in particular need to read and see the teacher’s expression, as well as hear what the teacher is saying.
In many schools, relief teachers are supposed to take over from the topic the subject teacher had last taught.
However, the relief teacher is often not qualified to teach the subject. The problem is further compounded if the subjects concerned are examination subjects like Mathematics or Science.
These are important subjects and students without a teacher’s guidance can quickly forget and lose interest in the subjects.
I don’t understand the necessity for teachers to attend courses when the school has a shortage of staff members or when there is no arrangement made to get relief teachers.
Can’t such courses be held during the school holidays?
Then there are teachers who are forced to take on subjects that they are not trained to teach.
Your article quite rightly pointed out a teacher whose option was English, but who was asked to teach History and even Mathematics under the PPSMI (the Malay acronym for the teaching of Mathematics and Science in English policy).
I understand that many teachers are also uncomfortable and have complained that they have no time to come up with lesson plans and even less time to develop their skills.
It is a no-win situation for all parties — parents, students and teachers.
Also, politicians should stop using education for their own political gain by changing policies for their benefit. There is a need to have coherent education policies and plans that will bring about positive changes for all concerned.
TRAPPED PARENT Kuala Lumpur
Source : Education Sunday April 4, 2010