A teacher smashed eggs on the floor of his classroom in a fit of rage, the Teachers Disciplinary Tribunal has been told.
The teacher, who has 21 years of experience in early childhood and primary teaching, has been accused of verbal and physical misconduct against children in his primary school class since 2014.
The tribunal has set down five days to hear from multiple witnesses in the case. Media were excluded for the first day on Thursday because children were giving evidence. All names and the school's location have been suppressed at least until the tribunal issues its decision.
A teacher aide who worked with a boy in the same classroom told the tribunal yesterday that the teacher got angry with the children three or four times a week.
"There were times when he was cool, then all of a sudden he would... [get angry]," she said.
"It was so loud, like the kids would be scared, you could see it in their faces. Don't get me wrong – he is loud, but this is like yelling. The whole school could hear it. When that happened everyone knew what's going on, he's having a bad mood."
She said the incidents could be set off by "just a simple question" .
The aide said: "Like a kid asked, 'I don't know what I'm doing.' He would just go, just yell."
In September 2017, the teacher aide said she was returning from working with other children in another room when she heard the teacher yelling in his classroom.
When they saw her coming down the corridor, about five children came out to meet her.
"They were all upset, they were all talking at once. They said, 'Mr [Teacher] is really upset, there's eggs all over the floor,'" she said.
She walked in and saw the eggs and asked the teacher what had happened. He said, "The children were being stupid in class."
She decided to stay in the class for the rest of the day to help the children calm down.
"The kids were telling me not to leave. 'Please don't leave,'" she said.
"I had other programmes I had to do on that day and I actually skipped them and stayed in the classroom. They were telling me that he lost his plot."
On another occasion in the same month, the teacher aide said, she saw the teacher trying to pull a boy out of a corner in the classroom. The boy was swearing at the teacher, and the support teacher placed herself between them to de-escalate the situation.
About a month earlier, she said the same boy showed her a cut on his little finger which he said had been caused by the teacher hurting him. The teacher told her he had taken a stick out of the boy's hand.
In another August 2017 incident, the teacher aide said she saw another boy waving a stick in the playground and threatening to hit other children. She saw the teacher take the stick away, grab the boy's arm and drag him, still on his feet, across the field to the school office.
"He was swearing at Mr [Teacher] asking him to let him go, but he wouldn't," she said.
She said the teacher's behaviour was inappropriate.
"You don't touch children like that," she said. "I was horrified. I kind of like froze, I couldn't believe it was actually happening."
However the teacher's lawyer Catherine Goode and tribunal members raised questions about each incident.
On the egg incident, tribunal deputy chair Rachel Mullins told the teacher aide that children had given evidence that the eggs were thrown on the floor "in a plastic bag and there was not a big mess".
The teacher aide replied: "It was all over the floor, on the carpet."
On the incident when a boy was pulled in a corner of the classroom, Goode said the teacher would give evidence that he was defusing "a very toxic situation" between the boy and another boy.
On the alleged cut to a boy's finger, tribunal member Maria Johnson said the boy had given evidence that he could not remember a cut on his finger. Mullins said the boy's evidence was that his wrist was burnt by a string attached to the stick.
On the boy who was dragged to the office, tribunal member Sue Ngārimu asked the teacher aide if the boy was a "runner" with a history of absconding after incidents at school. The teacher aide agreed that he was a runner.
The hearing continues on Monday.