Please wake up.
January 7, 2012, 12:28 am
Filed under: By Rachel Zeng, Singapore

When I made the decision to accept a huge paycut by becoming an early childhood educator, it was because I wanted to contribute to social change through teaching. I lost my peace at home for awhile because my parents thought that with my qualifications, I should teach in a primary or secondary school instead of little children. Many other people thought so too and it did not help when many parents treated me like a high class nanny who clean their shit for them, especially those who used to throw their sleeping children in my arms, dripping diapers included and laughed or “Oops!” with a smile on their workaholic faces as they ran away to their shiny and expensive cars.

Together with my fellow early childhood educators, we are subjected to eternal lectures of how important passion is by MCYS, the Government and sometimes, our employers, who forget that we are human beings who have people to feed/ support too, besides ourselves. They have sometimes forgotten that we also need leisure and rest in our lives too, especially MCYS, who made a requirement that childcare centres must be open on Saturdays til 2pm. But we continue to stay in this sector because we genuinely believe in the importance of early childhood education and its role in shaping what the society in future might be like.

However I think that if educators continue to be unappreciated, abused and treated like uneducated nappy changers, then perhaps in 20 years, there might no longer be new educators joining the early childhood sector anymore.

(Note to early childhood educators: Time to call for a salary increment and better treatment as a sector!)

By the way, socio-political activists in Singapore are working towards a better and more caring society with no care of not getting a single cent for their work. They have also lost their privacy, thanks to the media and people who were hired to follow us. Some of them face very negative and sometimes violent reactions from their families, as well as the possibility of being suddenly asked to leave their companies. They also face constant harassment by the authorities because they choose to stand up and speak up against the system. Yet they continue doing what they do with the passion and hard work.

So honestly people, who have you voted to SERVE YOU – politicians who are genuine, or the ones who think that they should be paid higher because they are holier than thou?

(Note: I have no issue with the Ministers’ wee pay-cut, that is if they continue to review it annually.)



10 Comments so far
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for info, the selection criteria for Singapore govt school teaching jobs are stringent. many applied but few get selected.

Comment by news - johor

Thanks for the info, I am very aware of it. So your point is?

Comment by rachelabsinthe

Rachel, thanks for. Putting thngs in perpective. Sometimes, with the half baked statements from the so called A team. I could get muddled up and confused and can not be sure what is balck and what is white, the right and the wrong. Thanks for putting them in order.

Singapore is extensively augmented artificially, it has lost it’s uniqueness and characters at a supersonic rate. Sad.

Comment by Hsq

[…] Educate Our Youth – Where Bears Roam Free: Pre-tests at tuition centres – missing the bigger picture – lovelivfe: Is results really the most important thing in life? – Rachel Zeng’s Blog: Please Wake Up […]

Pingback by Daily SG: 11 Jan 2012 « The Singapore Daily

PAP is digging it’s own grave….let it be !

The new normal in politics here is one where real talent with passion to serve will be disinclined to be associated with PAP….”don’t ka-chiau me” is standard response not because of pay but because of the brand of “PAP” ! Gerald Ee interpreted otherwise. He is wrong.

The PAP now is different from the PAP I used to admire and help over 40 years ago as a youth. Folks like Mr. Lim Kim San, Goh Leng Swee & Hon Sui Sen were indeed selfless politicians that non in present LHL Cabinet can match !

It’s sad.

GE 2016 will not be just a watershed in politics here but an avalanche of political change where the groundswell of resentment over the Ee’s Committee of 2011.

Comment by William

I am speaking from the view of a husband.

My spouse had always wanted to be an educator. However, she didn’t scored well during her ‘O’ Levels English, and had not been able to pass the NEA criteria. Some time back, she completed her Diploma in Early Childhood under the sponsorship of NTUC membership schemes but she hold on to it while while working as a IT help desk in a US Bank for few years (more than 10 years of experience).

A friend of mine talked to me about a rare job opportunity in one of the top pre-school as a teacher during a casual chat. I encouraged my spouse to fulfill her dream with a 40% pay cut although we belong to the “fine line above low income family” group. I even paid out the one month wage compensation to her ex-employer as the pre-school needs her “immediately”.

What I do not know is she had to work more than 15hrs a day (including at the centre and paper work at home) and she spends more than 3hrs on public transport everyday. On top of that, she had to bear with the favoritism of the “site management”, and petty “politics” among the peers. She managed to join a nearer centre not long after on recommendation of her ex-classmate but that only helped with the transport issue.

My wife, a simple-minded person, is determine to do her job well, and it was my worst regret in life to see her cry in sleep, struggling with the amount of work stress, desperateness to spend time with our children, not to mention with me. We got into heated arguments more frequently now and our family balance had been totally compromised all for a puny pay.

Its been two years now since she switch career and not much improvement were seen. She even have to take part-time “O” Levels examination now, hoping for a B4 due to the requirement set by MCYS not long after (unfortunately had not been lucky last two times).

PS: I am surprised how “systemless” many pre-schools are in Singapore and the way they try to cut costs are disgusting especially on the “role of a teacher”.

PPS: Pardon my bad English as I do not belongs to the more educated group.

Comment by Regretted Hubby

I can totally relate to your spouse’s situation. Pls let her know that she can make a difference elsewhere in the same industry, should this job affecting herself adversely! Reality is her passion and contribution for the field is hardly highly regarded, to be exact it’s assumed that she is expected to do so (just ask any preschool teacher in Singapore). Pardon my thoughts, but I do think that Early Education is no longer a nobility, it is an outlet /business for those employers to make money.

Comment by in similar predicament as your spouse

I bet with you that twenty years down the road, if you do not want the job, other cheaper foreign labour will be dying to fill the gab. By then you will price yourselves out of the market.

Comment by yandenyair

Then let them take the job if they can handle the shit. By the way, I don’t think that foreign ECE teachers will take the same shit willingly too. Trust me, I have already met a few.

Anyway they are usually paid much higher than locals in our case. Reason: their accomodation needs to be covered.

Comment by rachelabsinthe

nice article!!!

those parents are the products of the so called ‘A’ Team … smart without compassion

Comment by Alan Lau

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