Teachers’ urgent plea for help
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.