Why being a teacher is not that easy

Being a teacher has never been easy and will never be easy. However, despite the reasons listed below, we still love our jobs and students so much because the joy that results from a students success is irreplaceable!

1. Endless marking and paperwork

Our job doesn’t start when we see our students come in to school and end when the same kids leave school for home. Oh no no. We have lessons to prepare for, and review of our lessons after they are conducted. We mark homework. A piece of homework which takes 5 mins to mark for a student can easily take up 3 hrs of our time, assuming a class of 40. Now multiply that by 5 classes

2. Extra curriculum activities

Like students, teachers take on CCAs in school too! This ranges from volunteering to be the IC for school activities and CCAs to organizing school related events or even coming up with initiatives! While we can opt not to do it, it severely affects our KPIs and performance assessment!
3. Naughty students

Oh the huge headache when we deal with difficult students. Not only do our relationship with our students get affected, we waste precious teaching time if our classes are disrupted or even precious marking time if we have to follow up after our lessons. More often than not, we are left wondering if our follow up actions allows our students to learn from their mistake and grow wiser

4. Exasperating parents

As if our workload isn’t enough, parents can wear us out with their endless barrage of questions. While questions are more than welcome and constant communication between parent and teachers are needed, some parents take a step further. They berate teachers for their teaching styles and instruct teachers on how to conduct lessons. To keep us sane, teachers have to know for sure that the ultimate intention is to benefit the child. A fine example would the most recent case of a parent threatening to sue the school for confiscating his son’s mobile phone due to his misuse devict during school hours. Indeed, gone are the days where a teacher and their rules are fully respected in this day and age.

Despite all the hard work and problems associated with teaching, we still love our jobs and nothing in this world is more joyous to us than seeing our kids grow up to be the future leaders and have them make a mark in this world

Tips to score in your PSLE Math Exam

Believe it or not, our world revolves around mathematics. A simple act of taking out your wallet to pay for groceries has so many mathematical implications if you really stop to think about it! From taking out your wallet, which is crafted to a certain size so that its ergonomic shape fits snugly in your pockets to pass out the $10.00 dollar note to pay for a $2.50 can of drink and counting the change once you receive it.

And if Mathematics has such a huge role to play in our lives, we should then do our utmost best to appreciate the subject and express this view in our exams! Here are some of the common difficulties our students face when doing math problems

                                                                                                   I don’t understand problem sums

All questions, no matter how complex and long, ultimately fall back on concepts that are taught in school. The number one tip I always give my students is my first step

STEP 1: “Read each sentence word for word, and understand what useful information you can draw from the text by converting ENGLISH to MATH”

What does it mean?

Example: The difference between 256 and a number is 250. What is the missing number?

This can be simply broken down into 256 – ___ = 250 à This is what I mean when I tell my students to convert English to Mathematics

More often than not, students are too lazy/unmotivated to read the chunk of text. By breaking it down into manageable bite size pieces, it will be much, much easier to handle! Amidst all that information, how then does all the information come together?

STEP 2: Draw models and incorporate ALL information in that model so much so that the question itself is in the model

Information is king. And by encompassing all information, including what the question asks for, students have a much thorough understanding of what is required! These 2 steps are pertinent in solving any math problems!


                                                                                                 I always make careless mistakes


The one tip that school teachers never teach is how to reduce careless mistakes. Most educators only preach about not making careless mistakes, but how do you go about not making them!

Method 1: Sanity Check

A sanity check would mean that the final answer is logical. For example, I cannot have a fraction if I were to find the number of apples John has or for the total number of students in the class. Similarly, the number of fruits Tom Dick and Harry has cannot be less than then number of fruits Tom has.

This is the number 1 tip I give my students who are prone to making careless mistakes

Method 2: Testing

To ascertain if ones answer is accurate, I always tell my students to double check if possible by working backwards! If my student is unable to get the original value that is stated in the question, there is a high chance that a careless mistake has been made. This is also one of the sure ways to ensure one minimizes their careless mistakes

Method 3: Double Check

While teachers will always tell their students to double check for errors, I do too! However, I advise them to double check later and move on first. There are a few reasons for this

  1. Students are unable to take fresh perspectives on the question and are prone to skimp through their workings. This might defeat the purpose of double checking.
  2. Students might be under tight time constraints. Even if a student gets the question wrong, method marks might be given. However, method marks are not given if the question is not even attempted. To bypass this problem, I always advise my students to come back to the question later                                                                                 I think I know but I actually don’t know                                                        

After explaining concepts to my students, my students will always seem to ‘understand’. I proceed to test them by asking them to redo. More often than not, they will be able to get the answers, but their steps are jumbled up!

True understand is achieved when students are able to understand concepts, not questions. Only if a student can get a correct answer when facing different questions which tests similar concepts do I deem that they understand. If not, the only way is to keep doing, and keep practicing

With that, I wish all my students the best for their exams and hope that these tips can help those who are not currently my students!