Today all public schools are closed in Singapore, all in appreciation of their teachers: they are celebrating Teachers’ Day. It is custom to give your teacher a thank-you card or present around this day. Stores are full with ‘Happy Teachers’ Day’ cards, chocolates and cookies right now.
While there is a lot of pressure on teachers and education in Singapore, I do think there is also appreciation for them (provided things go well) as they are consequently a large part of the child’s life. It is a completely different culture and mindset than from where I was raised. Students start taking enrichment classes (like at the centre I work at) outside of school from as early as 4 years onwards. Already in primary school there is the pressure to perform well. Many of these students will have to study at night and get up early again, maybe only getting 6 hours of sleep.
Throughout the week students have been giving their teachers at my work presents to thank them for teaching them. (Since I haven’t started teaching my own classes yet, I unfortunately was still left out in this ritual). However, since off days are the perfect time for students to do some extra studying, we don’t have a day off like the public schools. So for now, what better way to celebrate teaching in Singapore than by actually working today!