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Monday, August 18, 2014

Teacher and Student

Recently, there were a slew of reports about teachers having inappropriate relationship with their students. Nine out of ten of the teachers were male, having illicit liaison and relationship with their female students.
Witness
In my 38 years of service in schools, I have witnessed a few of such relationships. A couple of the teachers ended up marrying the students after they completed schooling. This was only possible with the approval of the girl's family. How those teachers got out of trouble beats me as I saw them happily married with their former student later on... with the student being the second wife or after they have divorced the first wife.
Accused
One teacher was not so lucky. It happened in a school in the north. He was accused by a female pupil for behaving inappropriately in the Art Room one afternoon. He fought the 'accusation' when it was brought to the attention of the Principal by the girl's boyfriend. This teacher was suspended from service with half pay while investigation was going on. The case dragged on five long years before he was 'acquitted' as the female pupil refused to come back to Singapore to testify in Court. During the time, he was ostracise by his neighbours and the community. Finally, he left the service but not after he got his pay reinstated.
Earlier this year, a Head of Department in a school was caught for having inappropriate behavior with his student. What made it worse is that he was heading the CCE (Civic and Character Education) department which maps out value inculcation for the whole school. A total embarrassment for the school and school leaders who identified him for such a high post (maybe because he was a MoE  'scholar'). I believed that there was a sieving process before he joined the education service and his superiors would have observed and assessed him through the years. Yet he slimed through it all!!!!

So, what is new?
Through the years, MoE would 'set the direction' especially when a new Education Minister or Director takes over. New slogans with directives will rain down to schools eg Teach Less Learn More,  Thinking Schools Learning Nation, and many more which I cannot remember when  the new slogan took over. There was a period of time when we teachers were told to "delight our customers". The school leaders got down to work to see how they and the teachers could do that with a series of activities/actions. It made us very uncomfortable then as this exhortation from the Ministry had a variety of seedy meaning on the ground. As usual, this exhortation faded off and forgotten just like so many. We were told to be pupil-centric, have good TSR (teacher-student-relationship), etc. Many teachers became their pupils' friends, giving out personal telephone numbers, communicating through social media, etc. There are teachers who lost their sense of appropriateness and direction in their effort to be seen to be 'with their pupils'. Such teachers are well liked for their friendliness and approachability and their popularity could win them the annual  "Caring Teacher Award" as opposed to one who is 'fierce' but committed. In my 38 years of service I was nominated once. I believed it was done by a group of Sec 5 pupils whom I taught for a few years. In the beginning, I told them that I believed in them making to sec 5 to do their "O", which they did. The Normal Tech and Normal academic pupils usually do not know how to express their gratitude in words, unlike the express group. They thanked their teachers 'in their heart'.

MOE Code of Conduct
The recent teacher's  'Code of Conduct' (Ethos of The Teaching Profession),  laid down the fundamental rules/regulations/behaviours that the teachers should adhere to. We were each given this nicely bound white hard cover book where we find a comprehensive list of guidelines. However, how many teachers would refer to it after the first read, I wonder. In the past, we never heard of such rules and regulations explicitly. Remotely we heard about an "Instruction Manual" (IM) which was in the hands of the school leaders, notably the Principal. What we knew implicitly was that we must be a good example and role model for pupils in whatever we do, in and out of school. Common sense told us not to buy 4D or Toto in a shop near the school area whatever our moral values are. Our dressing should be simple, hair cut and combed. For die-hard smokers, they have to hide in corners for their fix. Drinkers knew how and when to get high far far away from the vicinity of the school. Teachers should not be alone with a student, whatever the circumstance should be. All classroom doors and windows must be opened. No hugging (men to girl/boy student) was allowed, not even touching as a sign of affection.
Nowadays, it is common to see teachers wearing the latest fashion to be with the trend. Colourful dyed hair is common especially among the lady teachers though we have yet to see lime green or purple or any other outlandish colours. Male teachers with the latest "Beckham" haircut are also seen. Buddy buddy signals are shown, with pats, etc.

Phone numbers
In my years, I have never given out my home phone number to pupils despite the exhortation of closer TSR. The only time my handphone number was given to the student was when I accompanied them for competitions, excursions, etc when I have to appoint one student or sometimes two, as points of contact. There would not be further communication after the competition. If parents insist that they wanted the form teacher's numbers, there is always the school numbers. Nowadays, it is very common for teachers to communicate with their pupils regularly, using different platforms eg Whatapps, Wechat, Facebook, etc

Challenges
The number of challenges faced by the teachers are increasing and different in nature. Moreover, the present day teachers are brought up with different sets of values and beliefs. However, the fundamental values of an educator remained the same ie being a good model for your pupils to follow.
 
28 Nov 2006 The New Paper
Singapore teacher charged with molest after boy claims in online chat :Teacher kissed and hugged me in school. Offence allegedly took place when the student was 11. 
Below is the record in the Hall of Shame for educators
(they should not happen at all)

#  Feb 23, 2009  Primary school teacher intimate with pupil, 15
A former primary school teacher was jailed for 10 months for being sexually intimate with an underage boy.
She was the first woman in Singapore to be hauled to court for the offence.
The married teacher, then 31, had sex with the boy, then 15, six times - twice in her flat and four times in a chalet - between March and May 2008.
They had met during an overseas trip when he was still in Primary 6 in her school. 

  #  Feb/March 2012  Ex-teacher who filmed girls in school toilet sentenced to 1 year's jail
 

A former science teacher at a secondary school in Jurong who had filmed girls in the school toilet was yesterday jailed one year.
Bertrand Ngien Wen Tseah, 37, was found guilty of three offences - insulting the modesty of a woman, mischief and destroying evidence.
On Feb 15, he hid three pinhole cameras in the female toilet and recorded a video of a 14-year-old student using the toilet. 

 # Thu, Mar 29, 2012 Primary school teacher who molested 3 male pupils gets 10 years' jail. -TNP   
The adjectives can flow but nothing quite describes what a 38-year-old primary school teacher did to three of his male pupils.
The Chinese language teacher had robbed them of their innocence.
On March 12, he pleaded guilty to two counts of sexually penetrating a minor and two counts of outraging the modesty of two other victims. He carried out the acts in 2009.


#  Oct 29, 2012  Lady school teacher in top school had sex with boy pupil, 15
A teacher in a top school was jailed for a year for having sex with an underage student from her school.
The 32-year-old married mother of two engaged in sexual activities with the boy, then 15, a total of nine times between December 2011 and January last year.
The boy became close to her shortly after a boating accident during a student leaders' camp in Bintan in October 2011 

Singapore Teacher Sex With Student Scandal Casts Shadow On Education System - Heather Tan

Huffington Post, 15 Nov 2012
Their affair started with her giving him a copy of the mushy memoir "Eat, Pray, Love." It ended with the 32-year-old female teacher in Singapore getting a jail sentence for illicit sex with her 15-year-old male student.
The case, which shocked Singapore, was the latest in a string of scandals involving the city-state's educators, who in the past year have been caught embezzling college money, committing lewd behavior, peddling drugs and a couple of times having sex with students. At least 10 such cases have reached the courts this year.
In a country known for its orderliness and strict laws where even jay-walking and public spitting are punishable offenses, the scandals are raising questions about whether the government – in its hugely successful efforts to control political dissidence and crime – has ignored declining moral and social standards. Full story

#  11 Sep 2012   Student JUMPS TO DEATH after claiming counsellor molested her

She sought help from her ITE counsellor in dealing with her personal problems last year, but they ended up becoming sexually intimate.

Chiu Ka Ying, who was 16 at the time, then alleged to her school that her Life Skills lecturer, Mr Michael Tay Jau Jen, 36, had molested her. Mr Tay later told investigators that it was consensual.

The ITE’s investigation report said the allegations could not be confirmed, but it found that Mr Tay had behaved unprofessionally. 


# Nov 2012  Ex-teacher records sex with student then threatens suicide
He had sex with his underage student - and even filmed the act. When she wanted to end the relationship, he threatened to send people to hurt her and her family. And when the student wanted to report him to the police, he threatened to kill himself.
He was dramatic in his dirty deeds. And she was left traumatised.
Yesterday, former drama teacher Aravind S Menon, 25, pleaded guilty to a count of having sex with the student when she was 14. Aravind, who taught drama at a secondary school, faces another two similar charges, which will be taken into consideration during sentencing on April 25.

# Thursday, Dec 20, 2012   A relief teacher was charged last Monday with having sex with a 13-year-old student from his secondary school.
The slim, bespectacled 26-year-old was also charged with committing an indecent act with a child.
This comes just a month after a 30-year-old former relief teacher was charged with four counts of sex with a 13-year-old student in 2009 and 2010.
When his case came up for a second mention in court last Monday, a pre-trial conference was set for Jan 14.
In the latest case, the accused is alleged to have touched the girl inappropriately and let her touch him at a staircase landing in Block 431, Tampines Street 41, in March last year.
Later that month, he is said to have sexually abused her at the same landing.
A third charge accuses him of making her perform oral sex on him at a staircase landing in Pasir Ris Street 21.
The remaining two charges state that he had sex with her at his Tampines flat in March last year and at a staircase landing in Loyang Point between late May and early June the same year.
from the Straits Times

# March 14, 2013 Woman teacher had sex with her pupil. 13
A primary school teacher who had sex with one of her pupils, then 13, was jailed for a year.
The 32-year-old married mother of three had sex with the teen four times, had oral sex once, and committed an obscene act with him once between May 2011 and July 2011. 

# April 2, 2013  School teacher, 31 molested his student, 13
A former secondary school teacher, 31, was jailed for nine months for molesting his student in a shower cubicle.
The teacher used soap to rub the 13-year-old boy's body and private parts at a condominium in Bishan in May 2010.
He had invited the victim and his friend there for a swim. He molested the boy when they showered at cubicles near the pool. 

#  April 3, 2013  Relief teacher had sex with student, 13
A 30-year-old relief teacher who had sex four times with his student, then 13, was jailed for 18 months.
Ross Ryan Kristiaensen had asked the girl to be his girlfriend, had sex with her and then promised to marry her.
The two became close after a salad-making competition at the end of July 2009. 

# 5 Dec 2013  50-year-old teacher was charged in court on Thursday with three counts of molesting a 16-year-old student in a school in Singapore

The male teacher is alleged to have rubbed the back of the female student on the left shoulder and on the waist area from outside her school uniform top on the premises of the school on July 26 of this year.


# 5 Feb 2014  Teacher pleads guilty to string of upskirt video offences 

A secondary school teacher pleaded guilty today to a string of offences that involved him using his mobile phone to take upskirt videos.

Seow Swee Hong, 39, who taught at a school in the eastern part of Singapore, was picked up by police on July 25 last year.

A store manager of the Popular bookstore at Toa Payoh HDB Hub had caught him taking upskirt videos of female students there.

#  April 3, 2014 Teacher, 32, Charged for Sexual Abuse of a 15-Year-Old Student

A faculty instructor was charged in courtroom on Monday with 10 counts of sexual abuse and committing an obscene act with a 15-yr-previous scholar.
The 32-yr-previous bespectacled man is alleged to have had intercourse together with her eight occasions and committing an obscene act together with her twice, in accordance with The Straits Times.
The alleged offences occurred at numerous locations together with his house and motels over a 4-month interval.

#  June 2014  A teacher who headed his school’s department for character and citizenship was sentenced to four years and nine months’ jail on Monday for sexually abusing a 15-year-old student.
 
The teacher, who is now 33 and unemployed, had admitted to five of 10 charges of sex-related offences between September and December 2012. (Straits Times)
 
#  July 2014  Teacher jailed for sex acts with boy, then 14
A JUNIOR-COLLEGE teacher who had engaged in sexual activity with a then 14-year-old boy he befriended on Facebook was jailed for 25 months yesterday.
Physics teacher Paul Tan Sze Aik, 37, admitted to three charges, with three other offences - including having obscene films - taken into consideration during sentencing.
A junior college teacher was jailed 25 months for engaging in sex with a 14-year old boy.

# 5 August 2014  Former teacher charged with molestation of 8-year old pupil
The courts dealt with a former teacher who had molested an 8-year old pupil under his charge during tuition class. The  teacher had made the girl stand next to him and he had touched her private parts through her clothes, while the other pupils continued with their work, oblivious to what had happened.
Straits Times 6 August 2014
 

A physical education teacher who entered into a relationship with his pupil - despite her being 20 years his junior - was jailed for 22 months yesterday.
Straits Times 11 August 2014
 
#  July 2012  Ex-MOE scholar sentenced to five years' jail



Former Ministry of Education (MOE) scholar Jonathan Wong Wai Keong has been sentenced to five years' jail on Monday for having sex with a minor, The Straits Times reported on Monday.
 
Wong, who was convicted for possession of child pornography in Britain in 2010, had faced a total of 10 charges – seven for having sex with a 15-year-old girl, and another three for committing indecent acts. He pleaded guilty to five of 10 charges on 25 June.
Wong had committed the acts after his return from Britain, following his expulsion from school and revocation of his student visa. He returned to Singapore in January 2011 after an eight-month supervision for his child pornography charges, said Chinese daily Lianhe Wanbao

TEACHERS are entrusted to educate, develop and protect children. 
              
There are countless wonderful and caring teachers who have a lasting positive effect on their pupils. Many grownups would have fond memories of their former teachers and would always respect them.
But increasingly, there are more teachers who cross the line, and form relationships with their pupils. Don't they realize that they can be easily caught?
There have been so many cases of educators having sexual relationships with students under age 16 recorded that it seemed the schools here are teeming with perverts and undesirable characters. Some cases may be unreported. It has been very unfair to the vast majority of the educators who treasure their noble profession and would cringe with shame on hearing the seedy details in the press so regularly. The eyes of the public are so sharply focused on the educators that while the respect of them is still there, it may one day be revoked forever!!!

 

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