So you want to be a teacher? Do you have enough passion and energy to deal with demanding parents and restless children?
Do you enjoy marking exam papers and coping with tight deadlines? Do you have the tenacity to go on even if you are not appreciated for your hard work?
Do you have EQ (high IQ in emotional skills and social savvy to handle your pupils, their army of relatives, your teaching colleagues, officials from the Ministry of Education, and everybody else who wants to poke their nose into your work)?
And as you struggle with your increasing workload, do you remember to smile at all times bearing in mind that you are also a role model and hero to those under your charge?
by Jennifer Yeo
Phew! If the answer is yes, you may have what it takes to be a teacher. It’s more than a fallback job for young people or those thinking of mid-life career switch just because they can’t find work elsewhere!
After seven years as marketing communications manager with Meritus Negara Hotel (now known as Pan Pacific Orchard), Alex Choo gave up his glamorous job to be a lecturer in a local polytechnic.
Now in his late 30s, Alex has been teaching for three years now. He says he wants a change of environment after being in the hospitality industry for almost a decade. Stability was another factor that made him switch to lecturing. The fixed hours allow him more time with his family.
According to Alex, the best thing he likes about teaching at the polytechnic is the fixed working hours. He works a five-day week from 8.30am to 6pm daily. He doesn’t need to put in very much extra hours unlike his previous job in the hotel where he had to work about 10 to 12 hours a day.
“Initially when I started as a lecturer I had a bit of a culture shock,” says Alex. “People do not work late here. Many of the staff leaves office by 7pm.”
Teaching also gives him personal satisfaction. When he was in junior college, he enjoyed helping weaker classmates in subjects such as Mathematics. Now in poly, he is happy when his students improve in their studies.
Requirements of a teacher
To be a lecturer in a polytechnic, you would need a recognised degree and at least four years' work experience in a related field. For example, if you wish to lecture in hospitality, you will need to have worked at least four years in a hotel or resort.
Other qualities include personality (a lecturer must be hardworking and helpful), passion, articulation and eloquence. Good general knowledge is also important.
The salary for lecturers range from $4,000 to $10,000, departing on qualifications and experience. An aspiring lecturer can apply online in the career section of any polytechnic’s website.
Thank you, teacher
The best part of being a teacher is when students come back to school to thank her after graduation, says Connie, 33, a full-time teacher in a primary school.
Connie who didn’t want us to mention her full name, says she has been teaching for more than nine years. “I feel touched when my students come back to show their appreciation, particularly the naughty ones!” she adds with a laugh.
Teaching in a primary school is of course not a bed of roses for Connie. Sometimes, she may feel demoralised when she is not appreciated for her efforts. Parents may blame her if their children did not perform up to expectations.
Often, she has to counsel children from broken homes or who have abusive parents and siblings.
As a primary school teacher, Connie works nine to 10 hours from Monday to Friday. She starts her normal work day at 7.20am and finishes at about 5pm.
To be a teacher in primary school, you will need to have a degree from a recognised university and a post graduate teaching diploma from the National Institute of Education.
The salary for primary school teachers range from $1,500 to $7,000, depending on qualifications and experience.
So you want to teach? Log on to http://www.moe.edu.sg
The above article has been reproduced with permission from MyeCitizen (http://www.myecitizen.sg), a one-stop lifestyle portal featuring personalised eService offerings from the government and the private sector.
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