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MOE: Training and help for teachers to cope with stress in dealing with parents

Acting Minister for Education (Schools) Ng Chee Meng said that teachers in the country are supported with resources such as a Parent Engagement Guide and are also given training in parent engagement skills to help them to cope with stress.

This is the response to Mr Muhamad Faisal Abdul Manap from Aljunied GRC who asked the Acting Minister for Education (Schools) what services or mechanisms are available to teachers to resolve disputes between parents and teachers, how does the Ministry address work-related stress faced by teachers, and what services are available to teachers that cater to their psychological well-being.

The Minister stated that schools seek to establish positive and mutually respectful partnerships with parents. In cases where teachers need help in engaging parents, they can seek advice and guidance from their school leaders. When needed, school leaders will engage the parents directly.

He also said that with regard to work-related stress, measures have been put in place to support and guide schools in teacher work allocation. We also regularly review resources provided to schools, including manpower support, to ensure that schools are able to implement their programmes well while keeping the work assigned to teachers manageable. In addition, teachers are provided with protected vacation time to enable them to rest and recharge.

According to the Minister, teachers are strongly encouraged to share and discuss their concerns about workload with their supervisors and school leaders. Should they need emotional and psychological support, there are dedicated professional counsellors within MOE who provide counselling support to individual teachers. These professional counsellors also conduct workshops for teachers in areas such as managing difficult conversations and work with the teachers on stress management.

“The well-being of our teachers is important and we will continue to support them in managing their work and workload,” he said.

Teachers have been complaining that other than the administrative and CCA duties, teachers also need to stay connected with parents. A teacher shared his story that teachers who has been in service long enough would have a story to tell about parents they need to deal with.

An article, written by Neurotic Ramblings said, “Parents are neither ‘clients’ (technically our clients are the students) nor part of the school nor experts in the teaching profession – but just speak to any teacher who has been in service long enough and almost every single one of them has a story to tell about insufferable or unrealistic parents.”

The article said that in every line, one has to deal with unreasonable “customers” – those who will threaten to send complaint letters to your boss, question your professional judgement (and in a teachers’ case, undermine your authority over the child) and never, ever admit errors made on their own end.
It said that teaching is no different in this aspect. Yahoo News has described a typical modern Singaporean parent as ‘pushy, unreasonable and self-entitled‘.