Teacher admits cartoon penis threat

A teacher was overfamiliar with female students and used sexual terms in classroom games, a conduct committee has heard.

Ian Graham, pictured, from Durham, faces an allegation of unacceptable professional conduct from the General Teaching Council after his "inappropriate and unorthodox" comments saw him sacked from Durham Gilesgate Sports College and Sixth Form Centre last year.

He was disciplined just a year after leaving Houghton Kepier Sports College, where he received written warnings for his behaviour while teaching English, including references to a girl student having "been with everyone in the class".

Mr Graham could be struck off from the teaching register after admitting using language of a sexual nature and making comments about students.

Mr Graham also faces allegations of being over-familiar with students, showing a lack of punctuality, failing to send work in when absent, and failing to adequately manage pupil behaviour.

The committee at yesterday's hearing in Birmingham heard Mr Graham also walked out of a lesson ten minutes early because he was 'extremely frustrated' at his class and wanted to 'shock them'.

The sexualised comments made by Mr Graham include asking a class at Gilesgate if he should 'draw a penis on the board' and referring to women's genitalia as part of a teaching analogy.

Sue Hyland, Headteacher of Houghton Kepier, said when giving evidence at the hearing: "I had very serious concerns about his professionalism on more than one occasion.

"He didn't seem to understand the boundaries between teacher and pupil.

"His high-achieving pupils were left feeling uncomfortable and apprehensive.

"I found it difficult to get through to him when I was explaining the things he had done which were inappropriate - I don't think the penny had dropped with him.

"He saw himself as a 'mate' who could engage in banter with the children, and that it was just his style of teaching."

Mr Graham, who joined Houghton Kepier in 2002, was called to a disciplinary meeting in February 2005, where his behaviour landed him a formal warning.

He received a final warning months later before leaving the school to join Gilesgate Sports College as an English teacher.

But when more students complained about his over-familiarity and sexual language used in lessons there, he was sacked from the Durham college in June 2006.

Gilesgate Headteacher Mike Brett, said in evidence: "I was aware of the final warning he had received at his previous school, but Mr Graham said he had put those incidents behind him.

"He would try to explain his way out of each incident and had little regard for the conventions of normal behaviour.

"The governors felt he had acted inappropriately around students so the children felt uncomfortable and uneasy in his presence.

"He didn't have the professionalism and integrity expected of a teacher."

Mr Graham said he walked out of a lesson to make a point to his unruly class.

He said: "I wanted to have an effect on them but I also wanted to get out because I was getting extremely frustrated.

"I admit that in order to make a point I rather dramatically walked out of a lesson.

"I have and do apologise if my intentions were misconstrued.

Mr Graham also defended his 'unorthodox' teaching methods, claiming he was nervous about his job. He said: "When I threatened to draw a penis on the board I was incredibly nervous at teaching sixth form and I really didn't know what I was doing.

"I accept that my teaching style could be seen a unorthodox."

The case has been adjourned until January.