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How Safe are Early Childhood Education Workplaces? Survey Results - APPENDIX 2 - Examples of staff comments

Article Index

APPENDIX 2 - Examples of Comments Made by Staff 

Some examples of workplace injuries:

• I tripped over toy clutter - back injury

• Slipped on wet floor - needed physical therapy

• Chemical in my eye from a toy

• A whiteboard fell on my knee

• Currently off with a torn acl (anterior cruciate ligament) and meniscus. I walked around a table to take a resource off a child and hit a chair while twisting my knee.

• Concussion from banging into a low cupboard

• Bitten by a dog when on a home visit

• I cut my toe badly, nearly severed it due to poor storage in the outside storage shed

• Hearing damage from environment (chairs slammed on floor, group noise) and children yelling right by my ear

• We had issues with a child injuring staff. I have permanent scars from two bites to my wrist.

Examples of staff stress:

• There are many stressful moments throughout the day due to poor ratios / staff numbers and unsettled or settling children, etc.

• Was so stressed last week after a staff meeting at which shouting occurred and staff refused to support me that I wanted to cry.

• Staff at our centre use me to sound off to which creates stress for me as no-one is happy with our day.

• It's the constant politics of the staff. Am I being watched with a negative eye? Is management making yet another inaccurate assumption about my teaching practice? Why don't they talk to me respectfully so that they can discover I have sound educational reasons?

• A lot of the stress comes from deficit language used by the manager and the impact this has on the team in general.

• High demand for my time due to there being unqualified and young non English speaking staff.

• The stress of working harder because other teachers (unqualified) either don't have the skills or don't care. I wish management would follow this up and monitor the situation.

• Too many older teachers. I found myself having to support the older teachers more than developing my own practice.

• We are pressured to keep up with cleaning throughout the day - changing nappies - doing washing in the laundry - portfolios and transitioning children to other rooms etc. It means the time teachers actually spend in the room is very inconsistent. Often two teachers with 16 under twos... It's ridiculous.

• Ratios are not suitable when you have three babies in desperate need of something and there is only one of you and infants have to wait for bottles or nappy changes when they shouldn't have to wait.

• I am in a low decile area and there are all sorts of situations occurring. I have an action plan with the local police that I renew yearly.

• Emotional stress and burnout has led me to ask to work only a 4 day week, instead of a 5 day week , as I was so disillusioned, stressed and exhausted, physically and emotionally.

• Since being in charge I have been on anti-depressants to help me deal with the stress

• I have become so run down I experienced several months of physical ill health. I have seen a counsellor to assist with my mental health.

• Mental stress due to concern over child numbers being low, and discussions around restructuring of the roll and reducing staff numbers.

Examples of bullying experienced by staff:

• My boss nasty person really yells and demeans me

• Colleagues ignoring me and making not nice remarks. Making me feel very disrespected.

• I am not a NZ citizen and I come from a different country. Some of my workmates have said mean things to me indirectly or behind my back for instance about the food that we eat in my country or my culture or my features.

• By other teachers, I’m deemed less knowledgeable because I don't have children of my own.

• By the owner - regarding my weight.

• By my boss. Anything that went wrong she would blame me for example helping a parent with a payment, my boss taught me how to do it but told me off for doing it.

• By the head teacher and one other staff member, when standing up for the safety of children and myself, I get isolation, silence, talking behind my back.

• Manager implying that our team should not have breaks as we are too busy. Managers saying that our room is too messy after a busy day and keeping us at work (several hours after we were due to finish - unpaid). Teachers blaming each other and lying about tasks for fear of harsh reprimands by management.

• Two older teachers at our centre who did not want to change - one was passive aggressive and a saboteur and the other was vocal in her opposition.

• The treasurer yelling at me about compliance and he was wrong.

• All the ladies I work with are bullies, its poison where I work. It’s a nasty place to be.

• Bullying between centre team members: holding keys to storage, demeaning people by making them ask for the keys, then saying 'no we are not having that out today. Shouting, stand over tactics, storming out when can’t get own way. Forging alliances with one other and sidelining others from conversations. Unprofessional and unfriendly nasty behaviour that we wouldn't tolerate for a second in children.

Examples of bullying with threats to job security

• Higher management say if we don't go to unpaid staff meetings or management meetings in our own time it is a ‘non-compliance’. If teachers don't like things they can leave.

• Everyone is scared of having their teacher registration refused to be signed off by the manager as that is happening at the moment. The manager writes group emails that obviously makes little digs at certain people.

• Management – I’m bullied into being at staff meeting when I'm sick and have children's school appointments. I get phoned at home.

• Head teacher - very critical of my work, shouting, saying nasty things and threatening to have me fired.

Examples of regular stress suffered by staff

• Sometimes there are not enough hours in the day to work on requirements set out by the Education Review Office for example self-review when our main priority is engaging in meaningful relationships with the children and their families.

• As a team leader there are high expectations around my workload, in addition I am intrinsically motivated to 'get things done' and motivate the team and let them know how valued they are. This in itself adds work and pressure as I always end up as the 'go to girl' for everything and anything that needs doing.

• I haven't had a lunch break since I started, regularly cover both ends of the day, take work home, have to go back to monitor alarm list goes on and on.

• We do not have enough non-contact time to complete learning stories and do all the other things necessary. We are paid for 2 hours' planning each month but last month had at least 10 other hours of meetings we weren't paid for and having to prepare and agree a new programme for oldest children, attend meetings with a psychologist about a disturbed child, and organise and run a fundraiser.

• I am employed 24 hours per week and I am expected to do the work the 40 hours per week staff do and am paid less.

• It is my second year of teaching and I am currently in the process of teacher registration. I spend at least 8-10 hours of my own time, completing the required paperwork.

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