Teachers And Preschools

Personally, if I were to compare local teachers and China teachers on apple to apple basis, China teachers are on average more than 50% better than local ones (their 3 to 5 years full time early childhood training in China is 400% better than the locals). Having said that, not all China teachers are good of course. Maybe out of 10 China teachers, 7 China teachers are good; out of 10 local teachers, 3.5 of them are good. That’s my estimate base on experience.

About branded preschools, agree that it doesn’t mean if a centre has a brand means it is good coz it really has to depend on the teachers that are needed to manage the kids and to carry out the curriculum. Having a good curriculum is just a start and the rest will be application. I would say it is quite impossible to find a preschool where you can have 10 good teachers out of 10. The rate of good teachers in a school probably is around 30 to 70% and the rest are so-so ones only. Whether branded or non-branded preschools suffer the same problems due to the general pool of poor quality preschool teachers available in Singapore. One of the common issues with parents is they hope that the good teacher who is taking their children’s class this year will be promoted to the next level together with their children. Such is not possible many a time coz a teacher maybe good in teaching at nursery level but do not have the skills in teaching the kindergarten level (generally, more ‘loving’ teachers are allocated for lower level children while at kindergarten level, teachers posted are ‘more firm’ type, and such will then be further translated into the no-nonsense 40 kids per class at P1 level. Having a ‘soft’ teacher in a kindergarten class may not be ideal in a way…).

Talking about theory vs application. Similarly, a degree trained preschool teacher is not necessary better than a intermediate trained one if the former fails to translate theories into practice…

PS: So there are a few possibilities of a preschool:

  1. Good curriculum + All Good Teachers (good for all levels but don’t think you can find it here)
  2. Good curriculum + Some Bad Teachers (good only for levels with competent teachers)
  3. Bad curriculum + Good Teachers (good for the child emotional well being but may not be good for academic preparation. BTW, good teachers generally won’t stay long in a centre without a proper curriculum coz it is detrimental to children’s academic devt and should be against conscience)
  4. Bad curriculum + Bad Teachers (Bad teachers enjoys this kind of place coz nobody bothers about curriculum. Good luck on this!)

See: Forum thread.

A day in the life of a preschool teacher

It pains me to see and hear parents complaining about issues that they (parents, and not the children) are unhappy with, and often they take it out on the teachers who are restricted by policy and the expectation to remain professional. 

In choosing a preschool, it is important to consider what your expectations are; is it academics or are you more concerned about your child’s social development?

It is also worthwhile to note that the minimum teacher-child ratio given by the governing body is very high; for us teachers, it is simply impossible as every child develops at their own pace, and every child’s behaviour is different. One teacher to a group of 8 toddlers able to understand instructions is vastly different from one teacher handling 6 out of 8 who are kinesthetic learners. 

It is not easy for companies to retain good staff because some of us are working against our conscience/beliefs, which is why we leave. Indeed a degree-trained teacher is not necessarily better than a novice teacher if the former fails to translate theory into practice. Because the degree-trained teachers are neck-deep in paperwork (lesson planning, teaching preparation of lessons etc) daily, hence less time to spend to fully understand each child, and design appropriate interventions. 

And I have seen my fair share of parents who do not stay active in their child’s preschool activities, yet they expect miracles to happen in school just because teachers spend more time with their child every week. 

I can’t vouch for all teachers, and there are definitely black sheeps, but I write to give parents a better understanding of A Day In The Life Of A Preschool Teacher. 

Dear Parents, please remember that we are also humans, and the basis of all education (moral and academic) begins from home. So please also do your part as we can only support you from our little table in school.

 

Sincerely,

A Preschool Teacher

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