Surrey elementary teacher reprimanded for failing to care for students

Dec 19 2017, 2:00 pm

An on-call teacher in the Surrey school district is being reprimanded for a series of incidents spanning six years in which he failed to follow lesson plans, allowed the classroom environment to devolve into chaos, and left kindergarten students outside for the last period of the day.

The B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation has taken action against David Lee Burns, who substituted for absent teachers at Panorama Park Elementary, Bear Creek Elementary and Don Christian Elementary.

According to a public disciplinary notice, Burns received his first reprimand in January 2009 after he failed to follow proper evacuation procedures for his students during a fire drill, did not dismiss students properly, and did not read the substitution file as required by the school.

The second incident occurred in November 2013 when Burns was responsible for a class of kindergarten students. Not only did Burns fail to follow the lesson plan, he also “failed to maintain order in the classroom, to the point that it became so chaotic that more than one student was in tears.”

He also decided to take the kindergarten students outside for the last period of the day, but he did not return them to classroom so that they could be safely dismissed. Apparently, the parents had to locate their children in the busy schoolyard at the end of the school day when all the other students were being let out.

Another incident occurred shortly after in January 2014 when Burns taught a grade 6/7 class. He left a note to the regular teacher informing her that the detailed lesson plan for the day had been followed, but that was not true.

The disciplinary notice indicates Burns turned most of the day into “free time” and “provided minimal instruction to students, leaving them confused about what they were supposed to do.” The classroom environment was described as “chaotic, with children coming and going freely, throwing paper airplanes, talking loudly and running around.”

Less than a month later, Burns substituted a grade 4/5 class for a period of two days and decided not to follow the lesson plans left for him by the regular teacher.

In June 2014, the Surrey school district issued a letter of discipline to Burns for the incidents with the kindergarten and grade 6/7 classes. Further action was taken by the provincial Commissioner for Teacher Regulation in the fall of that year.


Feature Image: Students misbehaving via Shutterstock

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