Wake up call for MOE and Teachers

I was commenting on Mr Brown’s post on Facebook and decided to make it a blog post because too many things to say! This post showed up on my feed and the troll inside me decides to share my thoughts or more so to vent the frustration my ex-teacher husband faced before he left the service.

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Good teachers do not mean no need for tuition.

The average class size in a Primary school in Singapore ranges between 30-40 students to one teacher and it is very difficult for that one teacher (or even if there’s a teacher-aide) to make a real impact to all the kids in class. For classes with good or smart kids, most do alright in school and is able to follow the crazy packed curriculum MOE and the school planned out. Some good students still need tuition to reinforce their learning, because there is just not enough one-to-one attention in school to help those who need that extra push to do well.

But the weaker kids that need a lot of coaching and guiding get lost in this crazy curriculum chase. Not all teachers are suitable to take up a challenging and weaker class. This class of 30-something kids need a lot of help and often before they can fully understand the topic, some of the teachers move on without helping the kids learn because must-cover-all-the-syllabus-before-exam!

Then there’s the book and file checking by the Head of Departments (usually conducted twice a year) to “check” that the teacher is doing their job and covering what is necessary to be done in class. Sadly this is also factored into the assessing and ranking of the teachers for their yearly performance and promotion. How can one assess the ability and quality of teacher with what his/her class of 30-something can or cannot complete?

Because teachers get MARKED for not delivering what is necessary during these books and file checking, what do they do? They rush through syllabus and do worksheets and activities for the seek of submitting all that is necessary to the HOD to avoid being marked. When the class falls back in time, instead of going through the mistakes in details and helping the kids understand, the teacher simply provided the correct answer and get the students to record the answers in the blank. WHAT? Where is the learning?? The weaker kids fail to do well in exam because there’s no teacher to provide them with the model answer.

My husband was tasked to teach the weaker class in his ex-school because of his experience and he is happy to do so. He loves teaching and working with the weaker students because he can relate to them well since he was once a very weak student in school too.

With 6 years teaching in a none mainstream school where teachers focus only on the students, academy, and their well-being, freed from admin work, freed from unnecessary interschool competition, doing things to bring-glory-to-the-school and the what not, my husband knows what will work and how things can be done better to help these weaker students in his P5 class in the mainstream school. So he carried out lessons in slower pace, moving at the pace of his class ensuring his students know what they are learning before proceeding on to other topics. Doing worksheets that will help build up the students’ fundamental and not loading too much just for the sake of completing everything he was told. He really just wanted the kids to understand and learn. In the end, the files he submitted for checking where a third/ half of what the other classes did. He got questioned. Rooting to his core and believe, he kept silent and continue to do what was necessary and focused on the well-being of his class.

He got ranked a ‘D’ for raising his class exam results. While the rest who spoon-fed kids with answers get better ranked. For the record, during his previous 6 years of teaching in the other school, he was among the better ranked and recognised teacher.

Tired from what he saw happening in the school, and seeing how the management in his last school choose to ignore his suggestions and feedback, he left. Marking the end of his 15 years of teaching journey in school.

Now a home-tutor earning only a fraction of what he used to but happier cos he gets to focus on helping his kids improve and learn. His pool of students now is makeup of his ex-P5 students taking PSLE this year, and some who stay around us. Often his students will complain feedback how so-and-so teacher isn’t teaching and just giving answers, or so-and-so teacher just ask them to do their work while he sits and do his in class….

The level of stress, long-hours of work, unrealistic objectives, the lack of support from the management in school, and many other factors led to good teachers leaving the service. They are not tired of teaching. They are tired of teaching in a mainstream school. I’m waiting and watching to see how the recent change in PSLE is going to affect this – in a good way or it’ll only be worst?

Seeing how teachers are struggling, school management not being supportive, the kind of “teaching” happening in his ex-school and how uncertain the future of our education is going to be, I’m worried. Well at least I know one thing for sure – which school NOT to register my eldest girl for next year during the Primary 1 registration.

SchTutors Tuition Hunting – For Parents and MOE Trained Teachers

Tuition, to have or not to have? It is almost not necessary for most children to have a tutor but other factors may push Parents toward searching for the right tutor for their child. Like for those whose child is picking up knowledge and skills slower than the other kids in school, or parents who are not confident enough to teach and guide their own child academically; then tuition is probably necessary. Then the next question is where do find the right tutor?

As an ex teacher in a primary school, and with my husband still in service in a mainstream school, we see the big gap among students within the same level in all the school we have taught. Usually the biggest difference between the top student and the lower bottom of the level is that one has got either very good family support or has got extra help from tuition or enrichment outside of school. And as for the other side of the spectrum, poor academic results may be due to the lack of support from parents and who has no means to support child for any form of tuition. Or probably academic is not the child’s forte and the child is probably better in other areas.

For those who can afford tuition, where do you find the right one for your child? How do you know if he/she is qualified to teach your child or if you prefer a trained MOE teacher for example? When I was introduced to SchTutors.com, I was rather skeptical and thought oh it’s just another tuition agency trying to link students and tutors of any kind. Well first impression of the website to me is “Not very professionally done up leh, sure they are authentic? Can trust or not?” So I surfed on and read more about them.

  • Schtutors is the only tuition agency in Singapore that recommends only MOE current and ex-school teachers to parents. They also ensure that a tutor do not teach a student from the same school as it will violate MOE guidelines.
  • Schtutors guarantees that the tutor is a current or ex-school teacher. If not, the administrative fee will be refunded to the parent. They verify by requesting all registered tutors to provide their MOE email address and NIE certificates for verification. And they will remove all tutors who are not an MOE teacher or ex-school teacher from their database.
  • Schtutors has got a comprehensive listing for one-to-one home tuition (listed on behalf of parents) and group tuition assignments where teachers can list their available classes for parents to select and apply for.
  • Schtutors is established in 2008 so if you are wondering if they can be relied on, well they are authentic and probably doing the right thing, else how can they continue this agency for so many years?

You can read more about the frequently asked questions on their FAQ page.

Schtutors is the place for parents and tutors to connect. Parents get to find a suitable and qualified tutor from Schtutors and those looking for tuition assignments can register themselves and be matched with potential children.

Comprehensive Listing of Available Group Tuitions, searchable by level, location and pricing.

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Schtutors open and available home tuition assignment for tutors

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Check out Schtutors.com, the only home tuition agency in Singapore that specialises in recommending only MOE teachers for home tuition.

This post is sponsored by Schtutors.com.