Sunday morning got a message from friend “child abused happened in my first skool typ” when I was still in my hangover after the Canon PhotoMarathon the previous day. Apparently the hot topics for first Sunday of July are:

According to Channel NewsAsia reports:

A 51-year-old teacher was arrested on Sunday in connection to an alleged child abuse case that took place at the NTUC My First Skool childcare centre in Toa Payoh on Friday.

The three-year-old boy’s father said his son, who can be hyperactive, suffered a hairline fracture on his left shin. 

NTUC First Campus, which operates My First Skool, said this was due to mishandling by the teacher. The teacher has since been suspended. 

CCTV footage showing a woman dragging a boy across the floor and pushing him down with force has gone viral online. The woman is believed to be the child’s teacher. 

His parents were initially told by the childcare centre that he had a fall, but demanded to see the CCTV footage.

Anyway, while people are busy scolding the teacher, let’s view the whole situation from a more objective perspective. (I do not want to comment on the right and wrong anymore because obviously no one have the right to cause another person to get injury.)

I was attached to a local Kindergarten class with a hyperactive child for two weeks when I was having my internship years ago, thus I know the stress a teacher will be under to have a kid with such condition in her class.

Being an educator means your will be  responsible for the various growth of the students in your class, not only cognitive. With a hyperactive child in your class, means you need to:

  • ensure he/she will be able to absorb the knowledge which you are supposed to teach your class, 
  • ensure he/she will not be disrupting the children around him in their learning, and have to 
  • ensure he/she will not hurt himself/herself or other students in the class in anyway, unintentionally or not. 

Being an preschool educator, means that you will be dealing all these with another extra wall in front of you, for the students will usually be too young to be able to express themselves. This is extra stress built up for an educator. Did someone look into what caused the teacher to behave like this? Have the child been too unmanageable and no one had tried to discipline him? Did he caused any potential danger to himself or his classmate prior to this footage that caused the teacher to be so frustrated? OR, has the teacher been so rough towards her students all along? To the extend that nobody think that this is a problem till the kid got himself badly injured?

According to Channel NewsAsia, “the teacher is an experienced diploma-trained childcare provider who has been teaching since 1997 and a part-time teacher with My First Skool since 2009“.

Ok, I have to admit this upset me. I understand that the diploma only started to get popular in Singapore around 2003, and who knows when she got her diploma? What did she learn during her diploma? I remember I was taught that physical discipline is not allowed, in fact, educators are not encourage to have too much unnecessary physical contact with the children. How can she make such a grave mistake, even hurting the kid to such an extend?

Just sharing some of my two cents worth of thoughts:

  • From the footage, if I am not wrong, other teachers are around and should have a bit of idea something is not wrong, why didn’t anyone stopped the teacher? Isn’t it the responsibility for all teachers to keep lookout for the children, whether the kid is in their class or not?
  • Are there too much stress on the teacher that caused this? Is there any channel for teachers to actually express their concern – regardless of work or personal. Should there be a time-out for educator, when something happened that they need to cool down, can they find someone to stand-in for them for that few minutes?
  • Have parents show enough respect towards preschool teachers? Do understand that preschool teachers are actually the first formal school teacher a kid have in their life, they are not just nanny, do work with them and help them to help your children grow better. Not making their life difficult thinking that just because you are paying x amount of money, your kids deserved to have all the attention of the teacher, note that all the other students are paying the same amount of school fee.
  • Center management did not seem caring enough to proactively starts an investigation when a kid is obviously hurt “unnaturally”? Is there something the supervisor can do to manage the whole case better?

Seriously when I hear the mother cry on one of the footage online, I can understand her pain, even I feel “ouch” for the kid. I seriously hope this type of cases will not happen again.

[Updates]: The teacher of the alleged child abuse case has been dismissed after given a chance to explain and she acknowledged her actions were “inappropriate” during a panel meeting. Meanwhile, two other parents whose children were under the teacher’s care have also filed police reports, claiming that they had seen their children with bruises in the past, and want the police to investigate if their children had also been mishandled.

Information credit: Channel NewsAsia