FOR the 2014 academic year, schools were directed by the respective state Education Departments to have their staff and administrative meetings during the year-end 2013 school holidays.
State Education Department officers visited schools during the first day to check and ensure that lessons began.
During the holidays, the officers visited schools to reprimand headmasters who did not make preparations for the new term.
Schools were reminded that timetables should be ready and lessons should begin on the first day.
For this to materialise, teachers were recalled to attend school meetings during the school holidays.
Some schools with over-enthusiastic headmasters went overboard by holding marathon meetings over a whole week, from 8am to 4pm.
Teachers were sent emails and SMSes demanding them to return to school during the holidays to attend the meetings and prepare for the new school term.
Many teachers had to cut short their holidays or reschedule their plans to attend the meetings.
Since most of them were held during the last two weeks of December, many Christian teachers celebrating Christmas had to endure a stressful time.
Back in the old days, teachers were hardly recalled to school during the holidays.
They only returned on the first day of school and there was a lot of camaraderie and goodwill among them and the headmasters who had not seen each other during the holidays.
Staff and other academic meetings were held on the first week of school during or after classes.
Books and stationery were dispensed to the children during the first week.
The pupils were given much free time to mingle and talk with one another during the first week.
They would have so much to share with one another of what they did during the school holidays.
Children were also given space and time to share their experiences.
Formal lessons would only begin on the second week. There was so much fun, and it was a wonderful feeling for both teachers and children.
Today, there is so much stress placed on teachers and children in schools.
The report "Teacher dies in school" (NST, Jan 2) detailed how a kindergarten teacher collapsed and died in her classroom.
There is no fun in going back to school anymore. It is all structured and rigid. When lessons begin on the first day, it is not surprising to see small children yawning and falling asleep in class.
Bring the back the fun in school for both teachers and children.
Samuel Yesuiah, Seremban, Negri Sembilan NST Opinion Letters-to-the-editor 08/01/2014