Collaborating on Teacher Wellness

By Ramesh Subbaraman

When the Ministry of Education (MOE) announced the merger of some junior colleges (JCs) in April this year, the Singapore Teachers’ Union (STU) swung into action to look into the area of teacher wellness.

In June, STU conducted a talk on ”Managing the Change, Preparing for Transition” for the affected JC teachers to help them prepare for the changes ahead.

STU General Secretary Mike Thiruman pointed out that all this was only possible due to the close ties the union has with MOE which run the public schools in Singapore.

Teacher Wellness Outreach

“Teacher wellness is critical for the creation of a positive teaching and learning climate and culture in the classroom. We cannot overlook or underestimate the importance teacher well-being on student well-being. Teacher well-being is student well-being and essential for student success,” emphasised Mr Thiruman.

Teacher wellness is a major focus for STU in the coming year and it will work with MOE and the schools to champion more initiatives in this area.

Strengthening Labour-Management Relations

Mr Thiruman said progress has been made in strengthening labour-management relations in recent years with MOE and the schools.

From 2015, the Schools Division has been represented at the MOE Quarterly Dialogue with the various teachers’ unions including STU and the Singapore Chinese Teachers’ Union, Singapore Malay Teachers’ Union and Singapore Tamil Teachers’ Union. In the past, only the ministry’s HR representatives were present at such meetings.

“The presence of the Schools Division representatives allows STU to understand issues that school leaders face, and at the same time provides the Schools Division with the feedback from the union members’ perspective”, added Mr Thiruman.

STU has also been inviting ministry officials to sit in its “Teacher and the Law” school talks for teachers where they are given advice on areas like social media policies and law issues.

This article first appeared NTUC This Week , and has been edited and re-posted with permission.