Teaching used to be a noble profession and people held it in high regard.
In fact, teaching used to rank alongside law and medicine. This is not to be debated, since all three professions maintain the social order of society. Education provides hope for the masses through enabling them to be self-sustaining, while laws maintain the social integrity of societies and doctors save life and improve one’s quality of health.
Education is, and still remains, one of the primary tools where one is able to sustain one’s livelihood and eke out a living. This is also the reason why Singapore has recently set up NorthLight school, Assumption Pathway School, Crest Secondary School and Spectra Secondary school to cater to students who may not be academically-inclined, but are talented in other areas. Over the years, there are more students in Singapore who are graduating from school with at least a basic level of education.
The fragmentation in perception among the three professions seems to begin when money enters the equation. While law and cosmetic surgery seem to command stronger earning power, teaching seems to remain the only profession among the three where pay does not seem to be on par with the increasing responsibility being entrusted to the educators over time. Of course, one can attribute this to the fact that teaching is never a profession but a calling. But it seems the number of individuals who attribute an equal dose of respect for this profession as compared to the other two are also dwindling rapidly.
The media is not helping much since education is not a section that most place much emphasis on. Just surf any media websites, look for the main online hyperlinks, and see for yourself.
Education cannot afford to fall, considering that it is one of the main pillars of any state. Should it collapse, the very foundation of the state gets shaken to the core, affecting not only its economy but the very social fabric of its people.
There are many challenges facing educators today: an imbalanced work life balance, high workloads, communication issues with parents and students, and even monetary remunerations for some (specifically for those who freelance or work on a part-time basis).
In the years to come, I hope that education can come to the forefront of society and shine – once again.
And educators are once again, proud to call themselves educationists.