Teach or do corridor duty? Chan Chun Sing on need for ‘shared expectation’ of educator role


The work of a teacher is noble but tough and we, especially parents, can do our part to reduce undue stress on them. 

Speaking in Parliament on Monday (12 September), Minister for Education Chan Chun Seng said that parents play a critical role in supporting the well-being of their children’s teachers. 

“For example, by respecting teachers’ personal time and minimising non-critical communications with teachers outside work hours. Parents and the public can also work closely with teachers to establish positive partnerships and set appropriate expectations on teachers’ responsibilities for our children’s development.”

Teachers deployed for “corridor duty” in case students fall down in school

The Ministry of Education communicates to parents a set of guidelines on what constitutes the responsibilities of a teacher. By and large, not all parents are difficult, he said.

However, just one difficult parent can take up a substantial amount of a teacher’s time.

Minister Chan gave an example:

“…once I met a principal, and she told me that she has to deploy her teachers on corridor duties…she said that well, just in case the child falls down…the parents want to know what happened. So we must be around to see, otherwise, the parents might be quite upset.”

“So I think we need to have a shared expectation of what we expect from our teachers, and what we should not expect our teachers to do,” said the education minister who stressed the importance of creating a school environment that nurtures “independent, resilient, and creative” children. 

He also took the opportunity to pay tribute to excellent examples of parent support groups which play an active role in helping teachers: 

“Admiralty Secondary School, Crest Secondary School, Fuhua Primary School – they all have very strong parent support groups who worked with the teachers to bring about a better outcome in our schools.”

Range of MOE support for teachers’ well-being

The Government also supports educators in a variety of ways. Minister Chan mentioned that aside from providing competitive remuneration, the ministry pays close attention to the well-being and work-life balance of its teachers.

MOE have streamlined certain administrative processes such as attendance-taking and given schools greater flexibility to pace the implementation of new initiatives in order to allow teachers to focus on student-centric work. 

MOE teachers are also afforded flexible work arrangements such as holding virtual or hybrid work meetings and the choice to leave school earlier when they are done for the day. 

School staff also have access to more resources that cater to their well-being, such as additional welfare funds, well-being workshops, online resources for self-care, and professional counselling services. 

“MOE will continue to work with school leaders and the public to keep workload manageable for our teachers and to support their well being,” he said. 

“This will ensure that teaching continues to be a meaningful and fulfilling career and that we can continue to attract and retain good teachers to help mould the future of our nation.” 

Cover photo credit: Chan Chun Sing/Facebook