Minister of Education Chan Chun Sing spoke in Parliament on 12 September and addressed the importance of parents and teachers working together to build a healthy partnership in the education and growth of students.
He said that parents should have realistic expectations of the role that teachers play, and if they expect too much from the teachers, it can prove to be an obstacle to their children’s development and capability in facing challenges and their resilience.
Chan was answering a question posed to him by Marine Parade GRC MP Seah Kian Peng, who asked him if MOE could draw clear boundaries on what matters parents are allowed to bring up to the teachers.
Chan said that “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.”
And by removing all difficulties for their kids, it may not be the best way to help a child develop.
Seah added that many teachers are facing direct and indirect expectations from parents, which is one of the factors causing them stress.
Chan answered that the schools have guidelines and rules on the issues that parents can reach out to the teachers about, which are communicated to the parents.
He also added that although not all parents are crossing these boundaries, a fair number of them are still doing it, explaining that “one difficult parent can take up a substantial amount of time from the teachers.
Chan said that there are parent support groups that help facilitate positive relations between the teachers and parents, but some parents are still not following MOE’s guidelines, with an example being teachers from an unnamed school patrolling the corridors to watch out for kids falling down, to make sure they can inform the parents of the exact circumstances of accidents, should they occur.
He added that there is a need to have clear expectations of the teachers’ responsibilities, and it would help them manage their time better.