In Singapore, education is placed as one of the top priorities which can be inferred from its rank of 2nd out of the total expenditure of the government as compared to other ministries (Department of Statistics Singapore, 2011). Education possesses many roles in the perspective of different realms: the nation, the school, the teachers and the students. At different levels, different objectives are set. Over the years, we have seen several radical changes and transformations of our educational objectives according to the dynamics of the globalised world.
On the national level, Thinking Schools, Learning Nation (TSLN) was adopted in 1997 while a new pedagogical approach of Teach Less, Learn More (TLLM) in the year 2004 during the inaugural National Day Rally speech by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was made to guide schools and teachers. Last but not least, the vision for the teaching fraternity came in 2009- Lead, Care and Inspire.
Clearly, we can pin-point a top-down approach that the government has integrated in the different levels over the years to shape our education system. With such teacher-centric developments flowing in, we can see that the emphasis is now on the stake-holders of the system – the teachers. From my perspective as a trainee teacher, the vision is achievable, however in some instances; I foresee an addition to the countless dilemmas that I would face as a beginning teacher due to the contradicting objectives of the different management levels. It is too simple to pass one-size-fits-all policies and assume it may be carried out in the same way in different schools due to the dynamic nature of schools and students. This essay will be a reflection of determining my role as a teacher and also to look at some of the challenges which I feel that I might face in attempting to attain the three elements in the vision for the teaching service.
Self-reflection of the role as a teacher
What does it really mean to be a teacher? What is my role as a teacher? These are some of the questions that I have been asking myself ever since I have had the goal to become a teacher. By using a simple analogy, I would like to present my idea of the role of a teacher. A teacher is just like a gardener, while students are the seeds that he sows in the field. Fertiliser and water are essential to the growing plants just like how the knowledge and skills that we impart to students are essential for their growth. However, the flowers that may bloom may vary in shape, size and colour which signify the diversity of each and every student. With each type of flower having different needs and coming from different environments, we need to cater to each of our students’ needs. Owners of the garden represent the top management who may set unrealistic targets and directions for the gardener.
Our abilities are tested through hazards; we must stay strong to see the flowers blossom one day. We may not always be there since it is just a short...