Teach­ers’ ur­gent plea for help

The Bay Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - BAYLEY MOOR

Fed up with be­ing hit, kicked, punched and bit­ten, Far North early child­hood teach­ers are band­ing to­gether to sup­port each other and seek help from agen­cies.

Chil­dren un­der five are in­jur­ing teach­ers and scar­ing other chil­dren, says one lo­cal teacher who could not be named.

‘‘Chil­dren who have wit­nessed this be­hav­iour be­come trau­ma­tised,’’ says the teacher.

‘‘I know preg­nant teach­ers who have been punched in the stom­ach. This be­hav­iour is not nor­mal for young chil­dren.’’

‘‘It is no won­der that teach­ers are leav­ing the pro­fes­sion as who wants to be a punch­ing bag for a very an­gry child.’’

Kerik­eri TAG (Teach­ers Ad­vo­cacy Group) has 21 mem­bers, with some from Kaikohe, Pai­hia and Kaeo.

It aims to of­fer sup­port, de­fine prob­lems within the sec­tor and pro­duce data to high­light ar­eas for change.

The teacher says she has been teach­ing for 15 years, with the be­hav­iour no­tice­ably worse in the last 10.

‘‘We need more money and ac­cess to early in­ter­ven­tion agen­cies so we can get help when we ask for it.’’

Teach­ers dread hav­ing to deal with these out­bursts as they are putting them­selves in the fir­ing line of be­ing hurt, how­ever they need to pro­tect other chil­dren, the teacher says.

Kerik­eri TAG spokes­woman In­grid Wubben says the group de­scribes them­selves as be­ing strong ad­vo­cates for chil­dren.

‘‘We are com­mit­ted to find­ing ef­fec­tive path­ways to­wards high­light­ing the is­sues and then col­lec­tively act­ing upon them - things des­per­ately need to change,’’ Wubben says.

‘‘We are see­ing is­sues of poverty, al­co­hol and drug abuse, fam­ily vi­o­lence, and health is­sues, all im­pact­ing on the so­cial, emo­tional and phys­i­cal well be­ing of chil­dren.

‘‘The re­sult is in­ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­iours by tod­dler and young chil­dren with teach­ers in­jured, stressed and strug­gling to find sup­port,’’ Wubben says.

‘‘There is an ur­gent need for in­ter­dis­ci­pli­nary com­mu­ni­ca­tion - so­cial work­ers, early in­ter­ven­tion spe­cial­ist, psy­chol­o­gists, speech ther­a­pists, oc­cu­pa­tional ther­a­pists - they all need to em­brace a united ap­proach and de­velop ef­fec­tive plan­ning and re­sources to en­sure a healthy safe learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment for all.’’

Teach­ers Ad­vo­cacy Group Kerik­eri spokes­woman In­grid Wubben says early child­hood teach­ers need more sup­port.

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