Posts Tagged ‘Education Department’

I Also Had a Student Hold a Toy Gun to my Face

February 17, 2013


This story is vaguely similar to something that happened to me in my first year of teaching. Whilst I was teaching a maths class, a student from another class barged into my classroom and aimed an uncannily genuine looking toy gun at my face from the close range. He then joined in the hilarity that ensued when I covered my face with my hands, obviously petrified by the ordeal.

The student later got a measly one day in-school suspension for the prank.

I sympathise with the teacher who had a similar experience:

A VICTORIAN teacher who had a toy gun pulled on her by a pupil in a misguided prank is claiming hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensation from the Education Department and the former student.

Suzanne May Tyson, 54, claims she may never work again due to stress after believing the $2 plastic gun pointed at her by then 16-year-old Mooroopna Secondary College student Adam Tyler Dorsett was real.

On March 4, 2009, Ms Tyson was teaching in the library when Mr Dorsett held a replica gun to her head in close proximity and pulled the trigger, a writ filed in the Supreme Court earlier this month states.

The court document alleges Mr Dorsett fled, but then returned to the library and verbally threatened the terrified teacher.

Ms Tyson allegedly suffered post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression as a result of the incident, and has been unable to return to work.

The writ states she was rendered incapable of any employment, perhaps indefinitely.
There will be some who disapprove of Ms. Tyson’s lawsuit. Some will accuse her of gold digging and question if her conditions could possibly have occurred from such a mild incident. Whilst I have neither suffered post traumatic stress nor depression from my similar experience, I wouldn’t recommend it to my worst enemy.

Click on the link to read Who is Going to Stand Up For Bullied Teachers?

Click on the link to read 12 Tips for Managing Time in the Classroom

Click on the link to read If Teachers Were Paid More I Wouldn’t Have Become One

Click on the link to read Different Professions, Same Experiences

Click on the link to read Our Pay Isn’t the Problem

The Era of Protecting the Criminal and Leaving the Victim High and Dry

October 30, 2012


A scandal erupts where a child care worker allegedly rapes a young child. Were the parents who send their children to this center informed?

Of course not!

That would be acting transparently and we can’t have that! Fancy putting the interests of the victim over the welfare of the accused:

POLICE reject claim by Education Minister Grace Portolesi that they advised against telling parents that an out-of-hours school care program staff member sexually assaulted a child in his care.

Mark Christopher Harvey, of Largs North, was convicted in February this year of unlawful sexual intercourse with a young girl in 2010 while she was attending his out-of-hours school care program in the northwestern suburbs.

However, a mother of children who also used the program – who did not want to be named – has said parents were never informed.

Ms Portolesi emphatically told Parliament yesterday the decision to keep the information from parents had been “on the advice of SAPOL”.

However, a statement released last night by SA Police said the principal of the school involved was “advised by police that she should consult with DECS (the Education Department) to formulate a method of advising the school community what had occurred”.

Ms Portolesi refused to respond to the statement and stood by her earlier comments in Parliament.

The mother who spoke yesterday said her two children only told her there was a problem after a school friend saw Harvey on the TV news.

Her children were interviewed this year by police after raising their own concerns about Harvey.

At no time since his arrest had the school or the  notified parents oEducation Department apologised and no counselling had been offered, the mother said.

“I just want to know why we weren’t advised,” she said.

“I think it’s our right. I feel like a failure as a mother because I was not advised of this and was not able to help my children from the start.”

In Parliament, Ms Portolesi said that Harvey’s employment was “immediately terminated” on discovering his offence.

Opposition education spokesman David Pisoni told Parliament Harvey had been employed by the department for a month after his arrest.

“Why has the community not been officially notified?” he said.

Click on the link to read Just Wait a Minute! This isn’t Madagascar!

As Long as Teachers are Unhappy, Students Will Be Too

July 21, 2012

Too many quality teachers in the making are having their spirit crushed, their confidence eroded and their love of teaching taken from them:

SWAMPED teachers who quit the classroom say their passion has been “killed off” and they feel “overwhelmed and undervalued”.

And the profession has been described as “toxic” with a possible “crisis” looming.

The damning descriptions are part of exit surveys of 261 teachers and staff who resigned from the Education Department between January 2011 and January 2012, outlined in a report obtained by The Sunday Times this week.

The report also shows:

* More teachers blame poor work-life balance and workload pressures for their decision to quit, with those reasons cited in 13.4 per cent of resignations.

* Eleven per cent cited family reasons and just under one in 10 said they wanted to pursue other interests.

* Health issues were blamed by 8 per cent of those who quit in the past year.

* Staff said the department’s methods for dealing with disruptive students needed the greatest attention.

* Seven out of 10 teachers leaving the department said they would consider returning in the future, indicating most were generally happy.

There are many teachers who have not quit but are literally going through the motions. Our students require teachers who enjoy what they do. Any changes to our failing education system must address this.

Click here to read ‘5 Tips for Stressed Teachers’.

Click here to read ‘The Overwhelming Responsibilities of the Modern Teacher’

What is the Punishment for Beating up a Teacher?

July 17, 2012

The only thing worse than the statistic that more than 5 teachers are being assulted by students in public schools every day, is that nothing seems to be done about it.

Putting the obvious pain factor of being assulted aside, can you imagine how humiliating it would be to be kicked and punched by a child in front of your own students? Can you imagine what that does the teacher’s authority and self-respect?

ALARMING new figures show there were 1062 assaults on teachers in the state’s public system last year – an average of more than five every school day.

Education Department figures, obtained through a Freedom of Information request, also show 144 were classed as “critical” incidents.

In 2011, teachers lodged 46 compensation claims for assaults by students aged between 5 and 15 – an increase on 38 claims in 2010, and 40 in 2009.

Education leaders say teachers are at greater risk of being assaulted because students have “much more complex problems”.

I’ve been hit by students before (albeit very young students) and I’ve had objects thrown at me. There is nothing much I can do about it. I would rather get a black eye from a student than jeopardise my career by restraining him (if restraining him required force). But should I even have to ponder such a scenario?

This frightening statistic is due to 2 factors. Firstly, there is a lack of respect for teachers among all quarters of society. This lack of respect filters down to impressionable students who see how badly their own parents treat their teachers and think that tormenting the teacher is fair game. And secondly, there is a complete lack of deterrence to send the message that assaulting a teacher is unacceptable.

This whole excuse of students having more ‘complex problems’ is garbage. The truth is, schools have become soft on this sort of behaviour. They tend to be  more interested in keeping the parent body happy than keeping teachers safe.

Click here to read, ‘Teachers Stripped of the Ability to Give Punishments That Work’.

Enough With the Soft Penalties for Bad Teachers!

April 6, 2012

I am sick of reading about terrible teachers getting whipped with a feather for grossly unprofessional and immoral behaviour. Why they can’t be given their marching orders makes no sense to me. Some of these offences are awful.

Who would want their child exposed to these people?

A health teacher at a high school in Manhattan, joking about life for homosexuals in prison, forced a male student to bend over a desk, lined up behind him to simulate a sex act, then quipped, according to an Education Department investigative report, “I’ll show you what’s gay.”

A high school science teacher in the Bronx who had already been warned about touching female students brushed his lower body against one student’s leg during a lab exercise, coming so close that she told investigators she could feel his genitals through his pants.

And a math teacher at a high school in the Bronx, investigators said, sent text messages to and called one of his female students nearly 50 times in a four-week period and, over the winter holidays, parked himself at the McDonald’s where she worked.

The New York City Education Department wanted to fire these teachers. But in these and 13 other cases in recent years in which teachers were accused of inappropriate behavior with students, the city was overruled by an arbitrator who, despite finding wrongdoing, opted for a milder penalty like a fine, a suspension or a formal reprimand.

As a result, 14 of those 16 teachers are still teaching and in contact with students, on either a daily or occasional basis. The other two were removed from their positions within the last month when new allegations of misbehavior surfaced against them, according to the Education Department. The department released records of the 16 cases, including reports compiled by the department’s special commissioner of investigation and the arbitrators’ rulings, under a Freedom of Information request.

The subject of teachers behaving inappropriately has suddenly emerged as a pressing concern, given the arrests of at least seven school employees on sexual offenses involving students in the last three months, including one Tuesday of an assistant principal in the Bronx who was accused of groping two girls.

In two of those cases, the employees had a history of behaving improperly around students, but simply moved to another school and kept working. So in February, Dennis M. Walcott, the schools chancellor, ordered a review of all substantiated cases of misconduct. After the review, he fired four aides and began proceedings to fire four tenured teachers.

But as the 16 newly released cases show, they will not be easy decisions. As in many states, New York law grants tenured teachers the right to a hearing in front of an arbitrator before they can be fired. Teachers can also appeal an arbitrator’s ruling to a civil court.

“As I was reviewing these cases, I said, ‘Huh? How could this person go back to the classroom?’ ” Mr. Walcott said in an interview Thursday. “It’s very frustrating. Definitely my hands are tied because the arbitrator made a ruling, because I would not have put these people back in the classroom.”


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