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Monday September 24th 2018

Trainee teacher fails Maths practicum and may commit suicide to pay MOE $130,000 bond using insurance

Hi Zul,

I graduated from Hwa Chong (8 distinctions), has honours degree from NUS in Engineering, and had 3 years’ experience as a corporate trainer prior to joining MOE as a trainee teacher.

Like your daughter, I also failed my practicum and was asked to pay $130K (i.e. Monthly $2000+ installment payments over roughly 6 years).

The primary school math teacher who supervised me during practicum initially gave me a Pass, then 2 weeks later downgraded that same assessment into a Fail, without giving any reason. Principal also told me being “smart” doesn’t mean I’m fit to teach primary school Math.

I’ve brought evidence of these up to MOE but they’ve brushed it aside. Because of the failed practicum, I ended up jobless for 13 months. At age 40, I was retrenched recently from my job in 2018.

But MOE doesn’t care about all these bread-and-butter issues, and still wants me to cough out $130K. I have a life insurance which was meant for my aged parents in case I were to die prematurely. If MOE pushes me to the brink, the only solution is to end my life so that MOE can get its $130K from my insurer.


Editor’s comment: This article is retrieved from a comment posted on our site.

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7 Responses to “Trainee teacher fails Maths practicum and may commit suicide to pay MOE $130,000 bond using insurance”

  1. God says:

    O Charlie,

    Please spare a thought for your aged parents! Commit suicide will not solve the problem.

    Your parents will be heart broken if you chose to die your own way. ok

  2. Practical Pessimist says:

    Don’t commit suicide.

    1.) insurance doesn’t cover = no money to pay debt. Check your insurance properly

    • Charlie Eng D. says:

      Hi Practical Pessimist,

      Insurance clause reads:
      “Death from suicide within one year from the Issue Date or date of reinstatement, whichever is later, whether the Insured is sane or insane, shall limit the Company’s liability to the return of premiums paid without interest.”

      Suicide is claimable after one year. And my policy has been in force for over 10 years, i therefore assure you it is claimable.

      I’ve worked hard my whole life to be an exemplary student/son/colleague. But still, my life can so easily be sabotaged like this during my practicum by teachers who were “supposed” to guide me but apparently didn’t, & one even downgraded (at her whim) a previously ‘Satisfactory’ result of an ALREADY assessed teaching observation.

    • Charlie Eng D. says:

      Practical Pessimist.
      Wrong. Insurance does cover, as long as it’s more than 1 year after the policy came into force. And my current policy was bought more than 10 years ago.

  3. Misaki says:

    Choosing to end your life will not solved the issue.
    The issue will be carry forward to your family.

    Money is a Number game.
    Negotiate with the Dean of Programme at MOE HQ.
    There are many ways to resolve the crisis.
    One can extend their bond period as an administrating staff instead of working as an educator.

    Mental health come first.

    Prior to signing any contract bonds with the institution, one must be aware of its consequences and actions taken if the offer failed to meet the expectation.

    Be wise and sensible.
    Seek support from mental health & financial counsellor from the social enterprise / VWOs family service centres.

    May you focus on recovery and healing and overcome this hurdle of life crisis.

    Health comes first.

    Health is wealth.

    Money can be planned, controlled, manipulate

    Written by a peer mental health advocate, age 27.

  4. Charlie Eng D. says:

    I went through 2 years’ training at the National Institute of Education (NIE) and did extremely well, getting A’s and B’s for all my theory & practical courses, including:

    *ICT for Meaningful Learning (A-)
    *Teaching and Learning of Primary Mathematics (B+)
    *Anatomical & Biomechanical Foundations of PE (A-)
    *Curriculum gymnastics (A)
    *Instructional Strategies in Physical Education (A-)
    *Track & Field (A-)

    NIE also selected me to attend an immersion programme in Denmark to learn about the Danish teaching curriculum & their Folkeskolen. In fact, during NIE, I was told to “just be myself and I will make a great teacher!”.

    Then, things took a drastic turn – During the 10-week teaching practicum in my 2nd year, everything changed, including the following which have happened:

    1. The “mentors” who were assigned to guide me never did.
    2. One teacher even assessed me as a ‘Pass’, then 2+ weeks later, downgraded her same assessment of me into a ‘Fail’ without giving any reason at all.
    3. Until today, I still do not know why was I failed for my final practicum.

    I asked many questions, including:

    [1] During the entire 2 years of my life spent in NIE, every teaching staff gave me glowing feedback & no one ever highlighted my teaching deficiencies (if there’s any). Why?

    [2] One of my “mentors” downgrading her assessment of me late into the final weeks of the practicum, changing it from Pass to Fail, without providing her reason. Why?

    [3] Those “mentors” never guided me during my 10-month teaching practicum. Why?

    MOE never enlightened me on any of the above.
    Instead, all the above were brushed aside & the straightforward conclusion was: The system didn’t ‘pass’ me, so I’m to pay back $130K to the system (in addition to a 5.5% annual interest).

    But… I’ve already sacrificed 3 years of my life BOTH in contract teaching & as a NIE trainee teacher, only to end up with NOTHING at the end of these 3 years.

    Believe me.. to lose both my working years and all my life savings in this way is WAY WAY DEPRESSING. I am just a mere citizen, who am I to argue against the big & powerful MOE ?

  5. Speakomania says:

    Nowadays, don’t say distinctions…so many scholars. Don’t even know where to put them. Raffles or Hwa Chong or whatever makes little difference already. How many thousands come out every few years. Where to find thousands of positions for these people?

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