Ex-HOD defends NIE curriculum
Posted by temasektimes on July 2, 2012
I was a teacher which meant that I went throught the NIE and schools route. I left after being appointed as a HOD but that’s a different story. (I can attest to that a HOD is no where close to 10k.)
I must say that studying in NIE wasn’t a breeze, practicum was a challenge, writing lesson plans tiring. However, it is exactly because of these lesson plans that I improved as a teacher. I spent hours on them, but reaped their returns when I taught my classes and saw how much they enjoyed the lessons. Teaching is not an easy job and we teachers need to spend time on it, going into teaching with the mentality that you get paid just by talking off the cuff is wrong. It is often very clear to me who in NIE were there for the wrong reasons, exactly those who whine about long preparation hours and badly behaved students and just about everything else. For me, teaching is a passion and when it is a calling, you will spend time and effort on your work. Thinking that you’ll just breeze through is not doing yourself nor your students justice. I think the writer got into education for the wrong reasons.
2nd, a HOD is usually assigned to a trainee to help them improve. Even though the HOD might not be teaching the class, he/she is ultimately responsible for the class once the trainee leaves. What the writer fails to mention is that for every lesson plan he/she wrote, the HOD had to read it through and discuss with him/her on how to improve it. The HOD also sits in on the class to assess the trainee. It is really not fair to tarnish the supervisors like that. You may have gotten an irresponsible supervisor but there are many around who take their work very seriously. Sometimes, it is also up to the trainee to put in the extra effort.
I enjoyed my practicum, had very little sleep, learnt a lot from my mentor as well as the NIE assessor. What was more important was that the feedback for my classes is immediate. A teacher walks out of the classroom knowing that he has done well simply from the reactions of the students. Nothing else matters more. But before anyone jump and suggest that I had an easy time, I did my practicum in a neighbourhood school, a rather notorius one. I did rather well for practicum too, I was lucky as the effort put in could be seen by all but most of all it was the bonds that I formed with my students that I hold true till today. Even till today, my practicum students remember me and greet me when they see me in the streets. That always bring a smile to my face.
I’ll just end by saying that teaching is not for everyone and that one must enter because you want to teach and want to make a difference in shaping the lives of youths. (not because you can’t find another job because of the economy or that you think that the starting pay is high which is so not true.)
*The above was first posted as a comment on The Temasek Times.