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Saturday September 7, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Saturday September 7, 2013 MYT 7:30:53 AM
I AM a 35-year-old Mathematics teacher at a government school. This year marks my 10th year as a teacher. I was happy to go into this line as teaching was my dream job.
But today, all I look forward to are the holidays so that I can go back to my hometown to rest and rejuvenate myself before returning to my dreaded job as a teacher.
Yes, my life as a teacher is indeed dreadful. I just cannot remember when I started feeling this way, but I do know that it has got worse these past few years.
Apart from our normal teaching duties, there is a huge amount of additional work we are forced to do.
Though my working hours are from 12.30pm to 6.45pm (afternoon session), I am required to come in earlier to attend meetings or co-curricular activities at least two to three times a week during certain periods.
In addition, I have a list of duties and also hold the discipline portfolio, which requires me to ensure that students are in class on time and do not skip school.
From 12.30pm to 1.30pm, I have to wait at the school gates under the hot sun and “welcome” the students.
In between these duties, I will have to conduct school and district-level programmes throughout the year.
We also have to attend many meetings to plan and prepare for all the school events.
We must prepare minutes and reports. Most of the time, I struggle to juggle all these duties. I wonder how do teachers with a family and children cope with this excessive workload?
How can I plan and prepare activities that are interesting to students?
I spend every spare moment doing work for the school. Sometimes, I feel like a data entry clerk whose only purpose in life is to key in the minutes of meetings, reports and diagnostic tests as well report card marks.
When I get home, I am either marking papers or filing a report.
Another task we have is to take down the attendance of students and we are required to write a letter to the their parents if they are “missing” three days in a row.
I confess, due to the crazy workload, I sometimes forget to write these letters.
Two years ago, the Education Ministry implemented School-Based Assessment (PBS). This is taking up a lot of teachers’ time.
I have to prepare worksheets, mark and file them into each student’s individual report. Absentees have to be assessed on another day separately.
We have to fill in forms stating how many of the assessments the students have cleared and lastly, we have to input all this information into the online system.
This really takes a lot of time and
energy. With all this work I really do not have time to check in detail when students go missing.
Sometimes, even if teachers have seen the students outside school, they really do not have the time to take further action.
Inadequate facilities at school is another problem.
My school has two labs, but none of the computers are working. So how can I or my colleagues plan and prepare interesting
teaching and learning materials without the proper tools?
As long as teachers are overburdened with paperwork and schools lack basic infrastructure, it will not be possible for us to become better educators and inspire students to want to learn.
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