Time, tech and health among reasons teachers retire early

17 Jun 2023 12:19pm
Picture for illustrative purposes - FILE PIX
Picture for illustrative purposes - FILE PIX

SHAH ALAM - Time, technology and health are on top of the list why teachers in Malaysia are making the decision to retire early.

Former English teacher Marhaini Ahmad, 54, is one of the many who had decided to retire as earlier as six years before the mandatory retirement age.

Marhaini said that she had served for 25 years, and took the decision because she could not stand it and was stressed by the country's education system.

According to her, teachers not only do their essential duties as educators, but are also entrusted with other tasks such as updating student information and reporting classroom assessments.

"Based on experience, I would always wake up at three or four in the morning because I want to complete a report requested by my superiors which is very tiring. I'm not the only one, other teachers also experience ths

"If the language subject has four skill tests, namely writing, listening, reading and speaking, they must be completed one by one," she said on Friday.

Marhaini added that the situation could cause teachers to burn out.

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Burnout is a term for emotional, mental and physical exhaustion caused by prolonged excessive stress.

"Sometimes I go to class, but I don't teach because I'm busy preparing a report that is urgently needed by my superiors," she said.

Former Science teacher Jaafar Khamis, 57, admitted that burdensome additional duties are the main reason teachers apply for early retirement - FILE PIX
Former Science teacher Jaafar Khamis, 57, admitted that burdensome additional duties are the main reason teachers apply for early retirement - FILE PIX

Meanwhile, former Science teacher Jaafar Khamis, 57, made the choice to retire early because he wanted to rest and have time for himself.

He found that his career as a teacher caused his movements to be somewhat controlled that he did not have time to do things he likes.

Jaafar said he could not run away from thinking about school administration and students even during school holidays.

"I had been planning to retire early for a long time. In 2022 when I was 55 years-old, I decided to take a break from teaching.

"When I was a teacher for 27 years, I was bound by time. Even during holidays, I was at school. Not to mention that I was an administrator. There was a lot to be done," he told Sinar.

Jaafar however said that he never felt burdened by the tasks given.

"But when I retired, I can do what I want without being tied to work," he said.

On the other hand, most senior teachers are stressed out of keeping up with the latest technology employed at school from time to time.

Former teacher Hamidah Mustafa, 60 - FILE PIX
Former teacher Hamidah Mustafa, 60 - FILE PIX

Former teacher Hamidah Mustafa, 60, said that as they get older, most teachers cannot keep up with new changes made by the school.

According to her, teachers who are quite old find it difficult to adapt to technology nowadays causing them to lag behind and eventually feel pressured.

"Old teachers not only lack knowledge, but they don't even know about the technology employed in the current education system. I want to learn it, (but) it's quite difficult because I got old," she told Sinar.

Apart from that, Hamidah said that health factors was also one of the reasons many teachers decided to retire early.

"When we retired, we are no longer stressed by the workload we have to deal with every day," she said.

Hamidah had served in the teaching field for 32 years.

Former Malay teacher Norhayati Sulaiman, 63 - FILE PIX
Former Malay teacher Norhayati Sulaiman, 63 - FILE PIX

Notably, former Malay teacher Norhayati Sulaiman, 63, said that although she found it hard to leave the education world, she decided to retire early due to health factors.

According to her, she has a health problem such as knee pain every time she walked up the stairs.

"I have a knee problem and it was hard to walk up the stairs to some classes. Instead of causing trouble to others, it is better for me to step down and give opportunities to young teachers.

"Therefore, I decided to retire at the age of 59 after more than 38 years being an educator even though I still loved the job," he told Sinar Harian.

Norhayati added that during her tenure as teacher, she only thought about work, so she had no time for herself and her family.

"Besides the health factors, I also wanted to make time for myself. When there is time, I can go to the mosque, attend religious classes and do things I like.

"Back when I was a teacher, I only thought about work," she said.