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Am I being bullied by my mentor??????????

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by PGCEHELL, Apr 22, 2007.

  1. HELP
    I am nearlly at the end of the PGCE and on my last placement. I was ill recently and on the 3rd day of being ill my mentor spoke to the uni and said that I am a cause for concern. My mentor told uni that I am making lots of mistakes with the paperwork side of the course. Never said anything about my actual teaching but everything else was slated. My mentor advise me that I would not make it as a teacher and that you cant afford to be ill in this career. I feel that because I was ill my mentor went mental and went to the uni about it. I feel that I am a good teacher and the problems that the mentor outlined to university were blown out of proportion. The university have obviously sided with the school and have threatend to throw me off of the course. What shall I do> Is there any point of going on and will I ever get a job with days off during the PGCE? Please any advise would be gratefully appreciated because I am so unhappy at the moment and I dont know what to do.My mentor hasnt spoken to me all week unless it is vital and I feel like I am being bullied.
     
  2. HELP
    I am nearlly at the end of the PGCE and on my last placement. I was ill recently and on the 3rd day of being ill my mentor spoke to the uni and said that I am a cause for concern. My mentor told uni that I am making lots of mistakes with the paperwork side of the course. Never said anything about my actual teaching but everything else was slated. My mentor advise me that I would not make it as a teacher and that you cant afford to be ill in this career. I feel that because I was ill my mentor went mental and went to the uni about it. I feel that I am a good teacher and the problems that the mentor outlined to university were blown out of proportion. The university have obviously sided with the school and have threatend to throw me off of the course. What shall I do> Is there any point of going on and will I ever get a job with days off during the PGCE? Please any advise would be gratefully appreciated because I am so unhappy at the moment and I dont know what to do.My mentor hasnt spoken to me all week unless it is vital and I feel like I am being bullied.
     
  3. First of all, I offer my sympathy and support to you during this rubbish time. It's bad enough being ill, but being ill and off school during your placement isn't nice and then being ill, of school and having your mentor rubbish you is even worse! It certainly sounds like there's something going on that you should have been part of, but were obviously out of the loop.
    If I were you, I'd sit down and talk with my mentor. Ask them what they feel you are doing wrong and what you could improve on in order to fulfill their criteria (and also on some level, their ego). Then, I would make an appointment to see your college tutor. Explain your situation to them, giving your point of view and if necessary, taking your files and things with you to prove your case. To me, it seems like this has been done behind your back and in which case, isn't too professional.
    The comment that your mentor made about you 'not being able to afford to be ill in this business' is complete rubbish. After all, you're only human and it's just unfortunate for you that your mentor seems to have a robotic immune system. Whilst I was on placement, I was off for 4 days, 2 due to the flu and 2 because I got bronchitis. Nothing but support was given to me and each tutor said that I should take the time off in order to get better, or I'd just end up feeling worse.
    I know it's difficult, but try not to worry right now. There are things you can do to rectify the situation, starting with the points I've outlined. Don't take things lying down, especially when you feel that the action taken is wrong.

    Take care, and if you need any more advice, please just ask x
     
  4. Overall most people on my course (including me) have really supportive mentors. It also seems to be the case that in the department the majority are very supportive.

    That said, as in any career there are those that are bullies. Whether they do it intentionally or not remains to be seen.

    From experience some teachers view you as an opporunity to show just how good THEY are. Others just don't want you there in the first place. And others like to make it seem a lot harder than it really is - it tends to aid their delusions of grandeur if they can do the job and you can't (or at least can't in their eyes!).

    BUT - they are the minority. Grin and bear it.

    I entered into teaching thinking the politics and unlevel playing field I had encountered in business may be less of an issue. So far I see it as equal to or even worse. But I still say that if you want to teach then go ahead.....you'll make a great teacher.
     
  5. Honeydew

    Honeydew New commenter


    PGCEHELL - My heart goes out to you. My mentor was awful too. As you are so close to finishing your PGCE don't do anything to jeopardise it. I know it's unfair, but just do whatever it takes to keep your mentor happy. Don't let them ruin your changes of graduating.

    Since the uni has sided with your mentor, I really think that's the best option for you. You simply need to pass - grin and bear it. You've got more to lose than the mentor and uni. I did just that, and I am so glad I was advised to do this when at times I just felt like giving up or fighting back.

    All the best - hope it all works out for you:)
     
  6. Hey! I'm so sorry to hear about this, I'm frankly disgusted by the behaviour of your mentor AND your university. I also had 3 days off just before Easter, I was really ill too and obviously would have avoided taking the time off if it was at all possible. This caused no problems at school or at university, my mentor was fine about it and my university said that I shouldn't worry about it. Damn right too! I was ill, I could barely muster enough energy to get out of bed. If I had recieved the reaction you have had I would have been straight on the phone to my union, perhaps you should think about seeking some advice just to cover your back. I can't believe your mentor told your uni you were cause for concern because she was miffed you were ill - charming! Not everyone will react like this, finish your placement, keep your head down and get the hell out of there! I know it's hard but there isn't long left, just do what you need to do to keep her off your back and take it a day at a time.

    I'm really sorry you're having such a hard time : ( let me know how you get on. Ems x
     
  7. PGCE HELL,

    you can't be ill in this profession???? ha is your mentor having a laugh how many teachers are off with stress???,I have had 3 chest infections since september, and is on antibiotics right now, I had to go to doctor's on Friday and though I have been taking multivitamins, eating 5 pieces of fruit a day, i've still had them, my doctor said its because i'm working too hard,luckily for me i have only had 2 days off due to illness and when I went in on Friday my mentor told me off for coming in and told me not to come in on Monday, but the paperwork is for Uni to judge not your mentor they are there to help you develop your teaching methods, SO I would suggest arranging a meeting with UNI TUTOR and mentor and go through paperwork with both,
     
  8. whilst on my pgce i was bullied by my last mentor too. my uni tutors were not supportive when i e-mailed them (after not being able to get through on the phone) so i gritted my teeth, got on with what i could, did everything my mentor wanted like stay after school, help with GCSE classes and i worked like mad for her.
    so i passed the course!!! YEAH!!!! didnt enjoy it tho!
    When it came to writing a reference for me she slated me and said i didnt support her outside of school classes!! which is did!!! anyway i told her that i couldn't use her reference and that you are advised not to write negative things about people in references...just not include them...otherwise you could have some come back from it...that soon shut her up!!
    Then at the end of the course you have to fill in a questionnaire thingy to say how did you enjoy the course...i put the truth and when i looked at some other peoples they had trouble with the mentors too..it seemed they had favourites and i wasn't one of them...anyway i raised my concerns to the head of the PGCE courses...as did a few more from my course!

    anyway the moral is...get on with what you can, talk to people on your course and other teachers in the school, you'll be surprised how many people are in the same boat as you!
     
  9. You need to involve your union. Such statements when you are ill may constitute harrassment.
     
  10. Rug

    Rug

    Has anyone with a bad mentor actually been supported by their university?
     
  11. SSE

    SSE

    PGCE Hell, I do sympathise, a cause for concern is a worry. However, I have had my training discontinued without any causes for concern. I had a totally inactive mentor, which meant a sizeable part of my training was not fulfilled and the University sided with the mentor!

    My case is being handled by the union. You should get a free NUT subscription as a trainee teacher - join if you haven't! And the University should have a Students' union for independent advice and representation. It sounds as though you are being bullied - act NOW and don't discuss with other colleagues; they soon stab you in the back. Keep a diary of incidents. And if you become unwell again (yes stress seems to be a common factor within teaching) get a sick note!
    Your mentor may feel threatened? It happens to the best of us!

    Good question RUG - Has anyone with a bad mentor actually been supported by their university????
     
  12. Hey there all
    I had a bad mentor on my 1st teaching practise however the University did actually side with me. I think they had had problems with the stupid woman before and my comments simply verified what they already knew about her. The uni did go in and have words with her and since then, although students have been placed at her school, they havnt been placed in her class. The daft woman used to make me cry everyday, and I doubted my ability to be a teacher. I hated the practise - she was a old foagy who was ready to retire! Such a nasty piece of work. Anyway, it goes to show that there is hope for students!
    Hope you carry on to the end and pass your course. You just need to keep thinking - I am a better person than you! Thats what I did - oh and find a really inspriational piece of music to get you through! Make it you the end of your course, and then leave any idiot mentors behind!
    Smengy 84
     
  13. SqMandes

    SqMandes New commenter

    Do unis side with bad mentors?

    They shouldn't but I suspect that due to the difficulty of placing so many students in a limited number of schools the unis like to keep the schools sweet. Otherwise they would have difficulty finding placements for their students.

    It's a horrible thing that has happened to you and I hope it is resolved soon. My best advice is to keep your head down and suck up to the mentor. It sucks but as a previous poster pointed out - this placement means far more to you than it does to the uni or the mentor.

    If you have time (I know time is precious but this would help) go through your standards and write down all the evidence you have so far. Then make a list of your achievements, highlighting areas you feel confident in and areas you need to work on. This should have two benefits:

    1) You will feel good about what you have achieved so far and can show both the uni and the mentor if they spring a surprise paperwork check on you.

    2) You can show that you are a reflective learner and are willing to accept criticism.

    I know that this seems unfair but just think of it as the final step before you qualify. This time next year you'll probably be well into your NQT year and all this will seem like a distant nightmare.

    Finally - keep telling yourself that your previous placements were fine - so the problem is with the mentor - not you.
     
  14. SSE

    SSE

    I agree Smengy, be bigger...rise above it...only many many mentors are getting away with mayhem and murder - I'm actually thinking of going into Law just so I can sue them all!
    I find it pitiful to think that these so called educators can be so destructive.
    I'm pleased your university sided with you and sussed the bad egg - what goes around...
    Hang in there Matt - inspirational music is a good suggestion; "the taller you build your barriers..." I find quite uplifting. (but join the union for insurance)
     
  15. I had the mentor from hell on my first placement who, similar to your situation, tried the old 'teachers can't afford to be ill' line with me.

    I wouldn't mind but I didn't have a single day off and her comment came after I was ten mins late (8.10 am). Having ignored me for as long as poss she said breezily "What's the matter...couldn't get out of bed this morning?"

    I admitted that i had found it very hard and explained that I felt worse (she knew I'd been fighting a horrible flu bug for days). This is when she came out with that comment and said that I would just have to get used to it!

    Her 'supportive' nature continued through the placement as she later rubbished my performance and gave me the worst reference she could get away with. She knew she couldn't fail me as I'd met all the standards and had positive obs.

    Strange power trip! I also like the fact that I had absolutely no input in her Mentor Standards 1 which were signed off between her and my tutor without me.
     
  16. PGCEHELL, my heart goes out to you. I have had some problems with my course but have kept on because I am adamant that I am not going to let nasty people stop me from doing something I love and something I have always wanted to do from being a child. Keep going if this is what you really want (even if it isn't then keep going 1. to show them you can do it and 2. to get the qualification at the end of the course - it would be insane to quit now when you are so close and you might as well finish and get the piece of paper because otherwise it is a wasted year and you shouldn't let a bad mentor cause you to waste a year of your life).

    Do you have a doctor's certificate from when you were ill? If not, could you get one? It would be useful to have some evidence that you have been poorly just in case. It also might be a good idea to speak to the NUT just for some advice. What have your lesson observations been like before this? If they have been good then you have a case.

    What were your other practices like? What kind of feedback did you get?

    If you want to email me please feel free. You never know who is reading on here. silverslippers07@hotmail.co.uk

    Keep your chin up and don't let the b*****ds grind you down. You have come so far, don't quit now.
     
  17. It does seem to be the case that Bad Mentors and Bad Uni tutors keep on the same side and actually TELL LOADS OF LIES about the trainee.
    The teaching unions are very supportive of the trainee and will write strongly worded letters to the line managers of both bad mentor and bad tutor.

    If you are ill, that is not your fault and you can make up the days that missed later. It's simple.

    What a load of cr))ppy people there are in the higher levels of teaching and how dare they treat trainees like SH)T.
    Al
     
  18. who got sick of being told by all that as PGCE students you are trainees, and like any other graduate trainee..

    What utter B&^&^sh^t! Think about it, as a graduate trainee in almost every other sphere, you are also a PAID EMPLOYEE, with rights and redress under the employment laws. However as a PGCE student, you do not have any rights, you can be bullied, but you are told to put up with it, you can have you hours changed at a moments notice and told, 'that is the way it is' etc etc. I just wish the Uni's would stop pretending PGCE students are being treated the same as those in industry graduate schemes, because if indutry graduates were being treated like some of you here, you could darn well sue the socks off your employer, if they DARED act like that.

    GG what is wrong with those running PGCEs..
     
  19. Hello,
    i am sorry to hear abt ure difficulties and understand that it must hav been a frustrating and distressing time 4 u, i am startin a pgce in september and 2 b honest i am petrified, the posts hav been v educational and informative and i dnt expect it to b eas but most of the stuff is unaccetpable and is bullyng, may i ask u let me kno how it panned out 4 u,i hope it was a good result, some ppl r such *****, tk care
     
  20. Hi Carbohydrate,
    I wouldn't worry too much about your PGCE. Tha vast majority of us have positive experiences. This forum just gives those who are not so fortunate somewhere to get advice and support.
    Sorry to all those who are not having a good time. It's stressful enough on placement without extra pressure. I was ill on my first placement. The school were fine. When I phoned my uni they said it was ok as they has factored five sick days into the TP. If I went over this I would have to make up the time at the end. It seems as if all unis have different expectations regarding this.
    Hope everyone gets things sorted. Hang on in there. Good luck.
    Maybe we should start a PGCE happy thread just so we don't scare off any prospective students.[​IMG]
     

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