The New Paper covered a story on the Singaporean primary school teacher blogger "Gwen" who posted photos of herself in mini bikini at her blog. This stirred up a debate in online forums on whether it is right or wrong for an educator to post such pictures.According to I.Z. Reloaded, there was a NTU Assistant Professor who also posted bikini photos of herself in her blog. Although both "Gwen" and this NTU A/P were prompt to erase their blogs, their photos were already in circulation.
I remember my primary school teacher asking about our opinion if we visit bars or pubs and see our teachers in there. Her argument was that as an educator, there is an unmentioned obligation to keep an image that is appropriate for a role model.
I agree with her views. As educators, it is undeniable that students would tend to look up to them and subconsciously treat them as role models. When educators reflect a character that is in big contrast to how they carry themselves in school, a sense of betrayal and disappointment occurs in students.
It is true that teachers should also have a private life of their own. However, they are still bounded by the factor of accountability to parents. Nowadays, students spend more time with the teacher than with their parents. If parents need to set good examples for their children, teachers must set even higher standards. But what is good and what is bad?
Indeed this is debatable. Cladding bikinis cannot be said to be good or bad -- it's a freedom of choice in this free society. But if we were to consider the culture, then there might be a social norm where various behaviours are judged. Singapore is still a conservative society, and Confucian values give teachers greater pressure to conform to code of conduct.
I believe the infusion of younger teachers would gradually change the dynamics of education. Teachers just have to continue to be conscious of their private lives in the meantime...