Parents Must Have Realistic Expectations Of Teachers’ Responsibilities & Respect Personal Time: Chan Chun Sing

Parents Should Respect Teachers’ Boundaries & Have Shared Expectations

On Monday (12 Sep), Education Minister Chan Chun Sing touched on the importance of maintaining a healthy partnership between parents and teachers.

Both parties, he said, should have shared expectations on the responsibilities of teachers in guiding students. This will create a conducive environment to facilitate the growth and learning of children.

In addition, he emphasised the need for parents to adhere to guidelines and respect teachers’ boundaries. Not doing so may, in turn, harm their children’s development.

Parents and teachers should maintain shared expectations

Speaking in Parliament on Monday 12 Sep, Mr Chan said parents should have realistic expectations of the role of teachers.

Expecting too much of them can prove an obstacle to the development of their children’s capability to face challenges and be resilient, he stated.

Source: MCI Singapore on YouTube

He was responding to a question Marine Parade GRC MP Seah Kian Peng had posed on whether Ministry of Education (MOE) could draw “clear boundaries” on which matters parents can or cannot bring up to teachers. He added,

… it is useful for us to take a step back and ask ourselves what is the kind of environment we want in the schools in order for us to bring up our children who are independent, resilient and creative.

Source: MOE on Facebook

Removing all uncertainties and difficulties, he noted, may not be the best way to nurture a child’s development.

Addressing questions on the issue of managing teachers’ work-life balance, Mr Chan said MOE has streamlined certain processes to ease their administrative burden aid in better managing their time.

Guidelines on communication with teachers already in place

Mr Seah additionally stated many teachers had reported facing direct and indirect expectations from parents. This was apparently one of the factors causing them stress.

Source: MCI Singapore on YouTube

In response, Mr Chan said there are rules and guidelines for all schools on the issues parents can contact teachers about. Furthermore, schools do communicate these guidelines to parents.

Mr Chan noted that while not all parents violate these boundaries, a “fair share” of them still do.

“One difficult parent can take up a substantial amount of time from the teachers, which then makes it unfair for the teachers to take care of the rest,” Mr Chan said.

He noted that there are parent support and alumni groups that help facilitate positive relations between parents and teachers. Even so, a few of them still do not adhere to the ministry’s guidelines.

“Some of these negative examples would be going after the teachers for the slightest of issues which require the teachers to spend an inordinate amount of time to try to answer those questions,” said Mr Chan.

For instance, one school had teachers patrolling corridors to keep a lookout for children who fell down. This was to ensure they could inform the student’s parents about the exact circumstances of any accidents.

He thus reiterated the need to have clear expectations for the responsibilities of teachers, as it would help to foster healthy relationships between parents and teachers. In addition, it would also help teachers better manage their time.

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Featured image adapted from MCI Singapore on YouTube.

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