Teacher defends classroom strip

VIDEO A teacher who stripped for a class of 14-year-old pupils has defended his actions as part of his “style of teaching”.

Will Clarke

A TEACHER who stripped for a class of 14-year-old pupils has defended his actions as part of his “style of teaching”.

Martin Rouse claims he took his shirt off in front of pupils at Sudbury Upper School as a way of holding the attention of disruptive pupils.

And the supply teacher says he has been shocked by the uproar prompted by his actions, which were posted on website Youtube after one pupil recorded his strip on a mobile phone.

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A colleague in the classroom reported the incident, which happened the day after an Ofsted inspection, and headmaster David Forrest told the 57-year-old supply teacher he would have to leave the school at the end of the lesson.

Mr Rouse said: “I generally have a fairly humorous rapport with students because it helps them to work - it is not entertainment for entertainment's sake.

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“It is about getting them involved, some of them are pretty bored and turned off and you have to work really hard to get them involved.

“I was trying to be cool. It might not have been the right thing to do - I was on the cusp of not doing it. I regret it in that it might affect my employability and I would never do it again but I won't change my style of teaching.

“It wasn't lewd or sexual but I think a staff member thought it was.

“If teachers can't express themselves and show themselves as living, thinking people, who inspire them (pupils) then it is a bad step for education.”

Mr Rouse, who lives in Thetford, said although he understood he was not going to be hired within the county again, he was hopeful of teaching again.

A spokesman for the NUT, of which Mr Rouse is a member, declined to comment on the individual case but expressed concern at the way supply teachers could be effectively sacked without a hearing or due process, which would be automatic in the case with full-time teachers.

He said: “We are concerned as a union that supply teachers don't have the right to a hearing before decisions about whether they are going to be employed again.”

Mr Forrest said different teachers had different styles but he added: “I just feel there are things which are professionally appropriate and things which are not.”

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council, the education authority, said: “We are arranging a meeting with Mr Rouse to discuss the matter fully. If supply teachers are members of a union, they will of course be able to ask for help and support from them.

“The best protection for any member of the teaching profession is to ensure that they conduct themselves professionally at all times, in line with the school's policies, so that they do not attract complaints of inappropriate behaviour.”

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