As much as everyone know about the importance of work-life balance, it is actually not that easy to achieve, given the super competitive nature of our society.
Among my friends, more and more are shunning the teaching profession (and that includes myself). Parents are demanding more and more, and kids these days know their rights (in a bad way).
With that said, I got to take my hats off to all the teachers here in Singapore. You guys are the unsung heroes that I could never be.
And it's one of the social price that a society pays to be on the top of international academic rankings.
Work-life balance? Here's one day in the life of a teacher
I AM often told how the Ministry of Education is easing teachers' workload, but I see little evidence of it.
My husband has been teaching in a neighbourhood school for several years. Despite the mantra of work-life balance, I see little of it in the lives of teachers. Here is a typical weekday routine for my husband:
* 5am: Wake up and prepare for school.
* 6am: Leave for school.
* 7am: Arrive at school and perform morning duty (in a sense, 'guard duty').
* 7.30am to 1pm: Regular teaching duties (including extra games for students who need more exercise during recess, which is part of the Holistic Health Framework that replaced the Trim and Fit scheme).
* 1 pm to 1.30pm: Prepare for remedial lessons.
* 1.30pm to 3.30pm: Conduct remedial lessons (my husband's school believes that to improve students' results, remedial lessons must be conducted daily).
* 3.30pm to 5.30pm: Be present for the co-curricular activities he is in charge of.
* 5.30pm to 6.30pm: Administrative work like keying in remarks on students for the mid-term report book).
* 6.30pm to 6.45pm: Pack 36 books and piles of worksheets to take home and mark.
* 6.45pm to 7.45pm: Travel home.
* 7.45pm to 8.30pm: Eat dinner and rest.
* 8.30pm to 1am: Continue with administrative work, such as marking books and worksheets, reviewing examination papers, and preparing programmes for the June school camp and Youth Olympic Games activities.
Weekends are hardly restful. I often ask him if the endless work is because he is singled out. That is not so, he tells me. His colleagues face the same punishing workload.
As I am writing this letter at 10am, my husband has developed a fever. But he is unable to seek medical attention as there is an oral examination in the afternoon.
I understand there is a need to be accountable to students' parents. But in this case, who is answerable to a teacher's family if anything happens to the teacher?
Aishah Quek (Ms)