KOH: I refer to the story Young Lives Wastefully Lost to Careless Leadership: The Mount Kinabalu Tragedy that Could Have been Avoided.
Teachers have to go through tedious admin work before the learning journey can take place?
Tedious financial processes, selection of vendor (ensure that the program suits the objective of trip and the vendors have a good track record), Risk Management Processes (RAMs)(Do you know how thick this document is???), promotion of the event to students, selection of students (conduct interview when necessary), providing information to parents, collection of passports (checking for validity and requirement of VISAs for certain nationality), providing information to MFA, pre-trip preparation for students, issuing and collecting consent forms, post-trip review.
Do you know how many man hours is spent doing this?
– Teachers do not enjoy these trips.
Contrary to what some armchair critics are saying about teachers taking these overseas trips as a ‘paid holiday’, teachers do not enjoy themselves at these trips. How to relax when you are responsible for the safety, well being and enjoyment of the students who are all precious darlings of their parents. Looking after your children is one thing, having to look after other people’s children is another.
How enjoyable can it be when you have to constantly ensure that students cross the road safety, lock their hotel doors, sleep in their own rooms, follow lights-out timing (which is almost impossible), follow safety precautions, are warm/cool enough, drink enough water, follow the group closely, do not quarrel among themselves, be sensitive to locals, learn from teachable moments etc etc…..
– Teachers sacrifice their holiday and family time when they go on such overseas trip.
Many leave their young kids in Singapore so that they could fulfill their duty of providing their students with a meaningful education experience. We do not take the safety of the students lightly, NEVER!
– Students learn much more when they are out of the classrooms.
Check out any educational website and they will tell you the benefits of experiential learning. Constantly challenging the students helps them to see their own potential. Always working within the safe comfort zone for fear of risk will only produce more strawberry generations. As long as there is detailed planning, possible risks are assessed and managed and teachers are vigilant, outdoor activities can be safe.
It deeply saddens me when people who do not know how these trips are organised point fingers at schools and teachers when things go wrong.
It is demoralizing for the many teachers who are dedicated and always putting their students first. If you cannot improve the situation, do not make it worse.
To the family of the decreased, may you be strong during this difficult time.
Our thoughts and prayers will be with you always.
Thank you Koh for this letter.
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