6 pains of being a S’pore teacher that students won’t know

To a student, the teacher is a prime target to band against especially when they receive a volley of homework and tests. To the parent, the teacher is a punching bag that they can rain blows on when there’s something wrong with their child. There are many more pains of being a teacher in Singapore that their students won’t know about.

Every piece of homework they give you is a pain.
If you thought your moans and groans were bad, your teacher has it worse. When teachers give you a worksheet, they mark 40 copies. Now multiply that by 6, because that’s probably the number of classes your teacher teaches in total. And if your teacher is an English or Humanities teacher, imagine the number of words they have to read every time they give you work. Now you know why your teacher gives you multiple-choice worksheets all the time.

Every nerve in their legs and lower back is in pain.
While students are happily seated down and can’t wait to stand up and move around at any chance they get, teachers are on their feet all the time and can’t wait to sit down and collapse at their desk. Most teachers teach around 14 – 16 hours a week, and that’s not including relief classes, remedial classes, CCAs and school events. Every school should have a chiropractor in addition to the counsellor they have for students with problems.

Colleagues can be a pain.
While most fellow teachers are pleasant, a joy to work with and become friends for life in an industry that is supposed to be nurturing, there will always be the few who are there just to earn a living and actively run away from duties and responsibilities. There are also superiors who either micromanage teachers so much they probably have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or those that don’t tell their teachers anything but chase them down like a bloodhound when the shit hits the fan. Good teachers are not necessarily good managers.

Students come with parents that can be a pain.
While most parents are appreciative, thankful and treat teachers like normal human beings, there are a select few who can totally destroy a teacher’s day. From the nosey parent who asks for updates on their child’s progress every week to the tyrannosaurus rex type parent who chomps the head off the principal, vice-principal, heads of department, subject heads, teachers, office staff and even the poor security guard, parents can cause real pain for teachers.

GeBIZ is a pain.
When teachers need services from other businesses such learning journeys, excursions, workshops, camps, food catering and publishing, they cannot simply go to someone they know and trust. They must go through the government’s tender system or GeBIZ and wait for companies to come and bid for the job, and they often have to go through length explanations to explain why they did not accept the cheapest offer which would probably result in disaster. They also have to wait for weeks before they can actually get it done, and in the case where they had no choice but to accept a bid from some random company, deal with the cock-ups that come with it.

Going out in their own neighbourhood is a pain.
Teachers are usually posted to schools that are fairly close to their homes, depending on demand. This is a double-edged sword; teachers don’t have to spend too much time travelling, but often find themselves encountering students at the neighbourhood shopping centre, mall or simply downstairs. And when you just woke up with your hair in a mess dressed in a singlet, FBT shorts and flipflops, the last person you want to meet is a cheeky student who will take your picture and post it on Facebook and Instagram.

I think teachers should be given complimentary injections of morphine.

This Singapore love story set in the 90s shows you why you should never wait for tomorrow. Watch it without crying:

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