Teacher banned from seeing own daughter coming to teach yours

Ok, that’s a slightly misleading headline – I only have so much space to work with.  But the essential problem remains:  the Family Court has ordered supervised visits only.  If you can’t even trust mum with her own child, how do parents feel about her teaching theirs?

Anna Leask explains

The woman is due to graduate with a teaching degree at the end of the year, and intends to work as a classroom teacher.

However, because of a Family Court order prohibiting unsupervised contact with her daughter, concerns have been raised about the appropriateness of her working as a teacher.

Family Court rules prevent the publication of information that could identify the parties involved in the case – including the woman’s name, where she is studying and the schools where she has undertaken work experience as part of her teacher training.

I understand we don’t want her hung, drawn and quartered.  Family Court battles can get very ugly.  But what I’m interested in is the Teachers Council process in cases like this.  It seems whatever University she attended was happy enough to take her money and to inflict her on a number of schools for multi-week Placements.  

People who know the woman recently emailed the Ministry of Education, Teacher’s Council and the university where she is enrolled about the situation.

They told the Weekend Herald it was highly alarming that she could be allowed to teach.

“We strongly believe this is now a matter of safety, and not morally right for [the woman] to have access to children, especially not in an authority position,” they wrote.

“We are urging everyone not to allow her to take such a role as a teacher.”

The university concerned refused to answer questions about the woman.

“The university says it doesn’t discuss individual students publicly, but if it does become aware of any issues, the university raises them with the New Zealand Teachers Council.”

Surely the whole process of becoming a teacher isn’t just an academic one?  Why hasn’t the University dealt with this?  Too hard basket?  Just in it for the money?  Hand the hot potato to the Teachers Council?

Surely this is indicative of a systemic failure?

Council spokesman Peter Lind said before any teacher was granted registration, they needed to demonstrate they had been satisfactorily trained to teach, were likely to be a satisfactory teacher, were of good character as evidenced by a police check and were fit to be a teacher.

“Therefore, before [the woman] can be provisionally registered, she will need to demonstrate to the Teachers Council that she is of good character.

“The onus of proof rests with the applicant,” he said.

“Any graduate from a teacher education programme is required to apply for provisional registration before he or she can be employed in a teaching position in either a state, or integrated, or independent/private New Zealand school.”

A Ministry of Education spokeswoman said schools were expected to do appropriate background checks before employing staff.

“Our first priority is the safety of students,” she said.

I don’t know about you, but this seems to be a process of handing responsibility on.  The University takes the money – never mind this potentially unsuitable person has spent close to three months with other people’s children already as part of her course requirement.  Then the Teachers Council is made aware and they say “nothing we can do, she passes her course, she’s a teacher – it’s up to the school to decide if she is suitable.”

Wouldn’t the schools reasonably expect teacher training to not just cover academic suitability?

Why is the Teachers Council not taking responsibility when the community expresses concerns?  Aren’t they supposed to be the guardians of our children by sitting in judgement of the non-academic suitability of teachers?

Nice to  know the Principals and Board of Trustees are picking from candidates that are already known to be potentially unsuitable by the Teachers Council, but those candidates could conceivably pass the interview stage without disclosing relevant information.

Something is rotten here.  Who is going to stand up and put the children first?


Source:  That nice Anna Leask at the NZ Herald, with additional reporting by Cam Slater

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.