Burnaby teacher chooses portrait drawing over lesson plans and gets licence suspension | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Burnaby teacher chooses portrait drawing over lesson plans and gets licence suspension

Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK
September 08, 2020 - 7:00 PM

A Burnaby teacher on call who was more inclined to draw portraits of his students than offer lessons, had his licence suspended for two days, according to a Consent Resolution Agreement posted to the B.C. Teacher Regulation website today, Sept. 8.

Xishuang Zhang was a teacher at the Burnaby School District when he neglected his duties on multiple occasions, prompting a series of district reprimands.

The first incident was May 15, 2019, when he sat at his desk watching news on the computer.

“He offered to sketch students’ portraits if their work was completed,” the Consent Order Agreement states. “During the class, some students left the room without permission.”

The second class Zhang was supposed to teach that afternoon was a Senior Alternative Class, where he was expected to circulate in the classroom and assist students with their work.

Instead, according to the agreement, he again sat at his desk watching news on the computer and again offered to sketch students’ portraits if their work was completed. And, again, a few students left the classroom without permission and without Zhang noticing.

When he wrapped up the day, he then failed to leave notes for the classroom teacher.

Once the school district caught wind of these incidents on June 20, 2019, it issued Zhang a letter of discipline and ordered participation in B.C.Teachers Federation courses. Those classes were Classroom Management for TTOCs and Reality: A Day in the Life of a TTOC.

TTOC is an abbreviation for teachers teaching on call.

Zhang’s employment was made only partially available until he completed these courses, which he did in September 2019.

Whether the lessons resonated, however, remains to be seen.

On Feb.10 the District made another report to the Commissioner regarding Zhang for events that occurred Sept. 23, 2019.

“At that time, Zhang was supposed to provide support to two designated students in another teacher’s classroom, effectively working as an education assistant,” the agreement stated. “During the course of the day, Zhang’s cell phone kept ringing, which was disruptive for the classroom teacher and the students.”

At one point, Zhang took a call during the class, and walked out of the classroom, leaving the two students he was assigned to help without support.

Then, at the end of the school day, Zhang began packing his belongings 20 minutes before the end of class and left the classroom 10 minutes before the final bell.

On Oct. 18, 2019, the district issued Zhang a letter of expectation in which he was reminded of professional responsibility of implementing effective practices in the areas of student engagement and instruction.

He was told he’s expected to engage in productive work in the classroom during the entire instructional day and was to limit distractions caused by personal cell phones.

Teachers are also not supposed to answer personal phone calls during instructional time unless it’s an emergency.

Two days after getting that letter, Zhang was up to his old habits.

He’d been working as a teacher on call for four Mandarin classes Oct. 30, 2019 when he spent his time doing other things.

In a Mandarin 10 class, for example, he spent approximately 45 minutes of instructional time drawing students who wanted their portraits done.

Then during Mandarin 9/Introductory Mandarin 11, Zhang spent approximately 30 minutes of instructional time drawing students who wanted their portraits done.

The school’s principal walked into Zhang’s afternoon class to find him drawing students’ portraits and told him not to do so.

Then, on Dec. 2, 2019, Zhang was teacher on call and had been left a full lesson plan which required the entire period to complete.

“Instead of following the full lesson plan, Zhang spent instructional time drawing students’ portraits,” the decision said.

On Dec. 3, 2019, Zhang was TTOC for a teacher who had left a full lesson plan that required the entire period to complete. The school’s principal entered the classroom 25 minutes before the class was scheduled to end and found Zhang at his desk, drawing portraits of the students, instead of teaching.

So, another letter was sent out by the district, and he was suspended without pay for five days. Zhang served the suspension Feb. 4-7 and Feb. 10.

While the recent spate of neglectful activity was one thing, Zhang had already had more serious issues within the district that he had also been reprimanded for. That was factored in to his suspension. 

A year earlier, Zhang allegedly grabbed a Grade 3 student by the arm and then kicked them as well as a second student. He was said to have created a “climate of fear in the classroom.”

That time he got a boundaries workshop.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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