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Agency workers being bullied - help!

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by mrszebra, Jul 9, 2017.

  1. mrszebra

    mrszebra New commenter

    I'm currently employed by a teaching agency, I'm a Teaching Assistant/Cover Supervisor. I've been in my workplace for around 4 months now and in that time I've seen 3 TA's been sacked. At lunchtime the staff all gossip about each other but I don't partake, the last guy (also a TA) they were gossiping about is Autistic - this left a nasty taste in my mouth. The problem I'm having now is that I seem to be the target, the main instigator is a level 2 TA who's worked there for 10 years, she's very confident, bossy and has no problem telling the Teachers & the Assistant Head how to do their jobs. I sit and wonder why she is allowed to behave the way she does and I put this down to she helps everywhere so is invaluable.

    She glares at me, the rest of the staff don't talk to me when she is around. An example, the children were waiting to come in so I opened the door and she came and took it off me I said I'll handle this thanks. I'm not an assistant who just sits, I work the classroom and feel that she doesn't like this.

    At lunch she got a photo up on her phone of her new caravan and showed it around the room to all 7 staff except me. The prom last night she called all the staff up for a photo except me. It's little things like she smiles at everyone except me. I'm bubbly and a real people person so this is getting me down. I know this all might sound petty but I dread going to work and feel sick when I do but bills need to be paid.

    I'm currently with a LAC pupil and feel if I leave I'll be letting him down, I also feel that being an agency worker means I don't have a leg to stand on. Any advice is welcomed.
  2. theworm123

    theworm123 Lead commenter

    Some people are just *****, you won't do much to change her. The rest probably either put up with her to keep the peace or are just used to it.
  3. galerider123

    galerider123 Lead commenter

    Are you the only agency worker there? Is it agency staff that have been going? Sacking people is usually a long process so I'm guessing they were. How long have you been there? Personally I'd tough it out - there's only a couple of weeks to go until the end of term. Just get busy doing your job...is there really any need to interact with her? (You don't have to go into the staff room, for example. Even if you are in her class for lessons (are you?), you could give yourself a break at lunchtimes for a few weeks) But get on the phone to your agency and ask their advice...they may have been sending staff member after staff member there and may be aware that there is a problem.
    phlogiston and (deleted member) like this.
  4. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Hugs, she sounds unpleasant.
    Firstly, part of life is getting on with the foolish and malicious as well as the nice folk. This TA is not your head. She does not have the power to hire and fire and is probably less influential than you think. It may be that for a quiet life teachers and TAs listen and go along with her suggestions when appropriate but teachers and AHs being told what to do by a TA? I think not.
    I have come across TAs who big up their role. (One lady I used to work with used to give outsiders the idea she ran learning support single handed, which she didn't). I think you've got one here.
    Secondly, it's nearly the end of the summer term. Try to relax.
    Thirdly, if this school chooses to send you elsewhere as a result of this lady's machinations. you have not let anyone down.
  5. minceandquince

    minceandquince New commenter

    She sounds very childish.

    I have come across people similar to this in schools and other workplaces too.

    I sometimes found (although not always at the right time) that other people have noticed their bad attitude too.

    You won't be the first person she has tried to belittle or the last, but try to take it with a pinch of salt because it's not personal and is a reflection of her.
  6. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    Get on to your agency (or better still agencies) and explain you want out asap so if any work is going you'll take it. This is a chance to use the gig economy in your favour.

    If it really rankles then write a letter to the HT about it as you leave.

    BTW all this is theoretical I haven't had this problem and as I fawn horribly on TAs then it will bite me one day.
    galerider123 likes this.
  7. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    She didn't show you her new caravan? Result! ;)

    SEBREGIS Lead commenter

    I get that the atmosphere is bad, but hand on heart, I don't see anything that I could really class as workplace bullying or anything else that you could formally complain about. So your choices are a bit limited, I'm afraid. You can either choose to ignore her and find other people to spend time with, or you can vote with your feet.

    The only other alternative would be to talk to your line manager about what they want to do next year. If they say 'we'd like you to stay on' then you could mention your reluctance due to the atmosphere, It might work.
  9. mrmatt73

    mrmatt73 Occasional commenter

    She probably finds you a threat... someone who works well with the kids. Someone new ... in her school ... how dare you :rolleyes:
    The teachers' probably find her annoying as well so don't feel to bad. Just keep your head down, do the job, be bubbly and be yourself if you can. We've had a number of supply staff this year who have taken their time to blend with the existing staff but they have (the path was bumpy though) so you may be going through this process.
    theworm123 likes this.
  10. Yoda-

    Yoda- Lead commenter

    I have come across TAs who have an inflated sense of importance and others who are absolute gems.

    Unfortunately the TA who you have an issue is seems to be permanent. If you disclose to the wrong people that you think she's a problem, you are likely to be the one who is eased out. It is just easier for the school to do this.

    It may make sense to hold on to the end of term and ask your agency to try and place you somewhere else next term.

    I know it's unfair. I really do commiserate, but you want the best possible outcome for yourself.
    1 person likes this.
  11. mrszebra

    mrszebra New commenter

    Thanks for all the replies, was only expecting one or two. Some useful advice in there. I've taken myself out of the situation at lunchtime. I will email the agency and let them know I won't be going back to that school. Yes it was agency staff who were sacked for want of a better word. I've worked in various schools for years and haven't felt this level of animosity before. 8 days and counting...........
  12. mrszebra

    mrszebra New commenter


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