I REFER to letters by Ms Christine Chen, 'Preschool teaching is about standards' (Nov 5), and Ms Marissa Teo, 'Quality of preschool teachers: Blame the vague job description' (Nov 10). I am writing as a concerned parent who is worried about the standard of preschool teachers.
I agree with Ms Teo. I spoke to some preschool teachers and they revealed other tasks on the 'hidden agenda' in the job of a preschool teacher. Besides organising and running the curriculum and other routine tasks like feeding and bathing children, they must:
Clean their classroom or outdoor area (if the cleaner is not around or does not start work early).
Work more than 12 hours a day if, for example, another teacher is on medical leave.
Handle a class with more than the required number of children when another teacher is on MC (as it is considered too costly to hire temporary staff).
Sometimes, teachers do not have time to take a proper lunch as they must take care of the children while they take their own lunch or take a nap.
To resolve these issues, the Government should provide childcare centre operators with more financial assistance so they can employ more support staff.
It requires a lot of passion and enthusiasm to become a preschool teacher and stay in the profession. Unless the Government steps in to help teachers by raising their pay to make it commensurate with the work and effort they put in and increase public awareness of the importance of preschool education, the professional standard of preschool teachers will remain in the status quo and good teachers will leave the industry.
As quoted in the article, 'Push to give cleaners contract' (Nov 11), 'garbage cleaners in Australia earn around A$2,000 (S$2,040) per month', which is more than most preschool teachers earn in Singapore. Does this mean preschool education is low-skilled? I beg to differ. Most preschool teachers have a basic diploma and more pursue a degree or even a master's and some have been in the field for more than 10 years.
How Weng Kong
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