Ex-MOE teacher recalls ‘dehumanizing’ experiences of trainee teachers
Posted by temasektimes on June 28, 2012
I have seen one attempted suicide during my stint in NIE. Very few people are aware about the dehumanizing experience of being a trainee teachers, especially during practicum.
During my practicum many years back, I was forced to write at least 16 pages of lesson plan each day. Many of my classmates have gone through the same thing. That is to say, you have 1.5 hours for each page of lesson plan provided if you stay awake for 24 hours everyday. I have heard horror stories of even much worst practicum supervisors.
Very often, a practicum students are taken by HODs, who use them to reduce their already very little teaching hours. HODs are generally the more noxious staffs in a school. They will use whatever ways to put somebody down. My HOD taught 4 hours a week after he has given me his class. His monthly salary is close to $10,000. So that make his hourly rate $625.
MOE is atrocious enough to know that many people will quit given the system sucks big time. So every teachers are indentured to MOE for 3 years. If you break bond right after you complete NIE, most likely the penalties today is greater than $50,000 if you are a graduate. A few NIE students may find despair and hopeless given the above obligations. This may be a significant reason trainee teachers choose suicide.
The HOD can fail someone with no reasons at all. I knew people who failed even after interventions by NIE supervisor and school co-supervisor. Of course, HOD will pull in the support equally noxious principal or vice-principal, who will collude willingly. Going back to NIE after practicum, those who have failed will meet a certain “A” (years back). Officially she is supposed to understand what is going wrong. Actually, the meeting with her is a sickening rebuke where she will sing praise of the whole system and put all failed candidate down, even if everyone know there is serious institutional problem in MOE.
*The above was first posted as a comment on The Temasek Times.