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Am I being bullied/harassed?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by marniott, Jun 11, 2015.

  1. marniott

    marniott New commenter

    Hi all,

    It has been a long time since I last posted but I am desperate for advice and really couldn't think of anywhere else to turn.

    I have been a teacher for about 6 years and my first 5 1/2 years were brilliant - always good/outstanding lessons, fantastic relationships with pupils and colleagues, supported colleagues across the borough, etc, etc. In February I moved to another school to take up a TLR post (leading a year group - 3 classes) and things have gone downhill since then.

    for a fact they did/still do.

    My problem is that one of them is best friends with the DHT and it is impossible to say anything against this teacher. The other is an NQT (which makes me feel even more worthless - how can I let an NQT belittle me - this isn't meant as derogatory towards NQT's?!) who is very strong minded and knows how to say/do the right thing in certain situations. She complains about everything to her NQT mentor (my direct line manager) and then I am called into the office to explain myself. I make year group leader decisions and they are then questioned by my colleagues and then overturned by senior management. During PPA sessions my line manager comes in and "asks" about the lessons this week - and (as if by coincidence) the "mistakes" I have made are highlighted in front of the year group (and sometimes other staff) I will add here that the mistakes I have made DO NOT impact the learning of the children and have only ever been mistakes on the "answer" sheets that I create to support teacher marking.

    Further to all of this,I was observed recently and graded as requires improvement by the DHT and my line manager. I have been told I need to be "humble" and go and talk to my 2 year group colleagues and ask them for advice/guidance.

    I went off yesterday and spent most of the day crying - something I haven't done at least 20 year - and just couldn't imagine myself going back to that place, EVER!

    I know I need to go in and discuss with the HT but he is also very close friends with the DHT and my year group colleagues. I just don't know what to do.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
  2. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    Appalling. I feel for you, I really do.

    You may feel there is no one you can talk to - go to your Union. Regional rep. ASAP!
  3. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    And do also talk to the Teacher Support Network.


    You can email or ring or text, 24/7.

    Do this so that you can talk things through to feel a little better. And do talk to your union too.

    Best wishes


    Meet Theo on line on the TES JobSeekers Forum, where she answers jobseeking and careers queries regularly each week.
  4. Amylicorice

    Amylicorice New commenter

    Do you know if you got the YTL job over someone else they wanted? I stopped going for those jobs for that exact reason.

    I'm sorry this is happening. I'm not sure if it's bullying, but it is definitely targeting. That's going to dissolve your confidence.

    My advice is to move. I am not prepared to stay and fight. In my opinion it isn't worth it if all faces have decided you don't fit.

    Protect yourself.

    Did you fight against a RI performance review or could you see their point?
  5. Hatoff

    Hatoff New commenter

    They might not like the way you organise the planning, and if your own class isn't a 'shining example,' then management will investigate.

    Teachers are on certain salaries to reflect their experience, and many teachers make the mistake of believing; numbers of years in profession equates 'good teacher.' Observations are like 'teacher tests,' just because you've done well in a few, it doesn't mean that's now your status.

    By-the-way, I don't think your being bullied. Just woken up in the world of teaching.
  6. tall tales

    tall tales New commenter

    Hatoff - what a condescending post!

    OP - it sounds soul destroying. Can't think why they appointed outside of their clique, I'm usually one to face things head on, but this seems impossible. TBH I'd get out this toxic environment as soon as you can. Is the head approachable? Would it be possible to go down the route of 'great school blah blah' but not a great fit for all concerned? Just can't see how you can turn this around let alone survive the humiliation. It sounds like workplace bullying, especially being humiliated in front of others, but you need to seek guidance from your union. For now, try not to let them grind you down.
  7. drek

    drek Star commenter

    I'm so sorry you ate going through this. Must be very confusing and upsetting. I think they are giving you a message. If they are being obvious and rude enough to 'humble you' by observing you down to a 'better attitude', but not given you concrete examples of when you acted 'superior', that says everything about them. Bringing the union in, will probably, in their collective group mind, prove their point somehow.

    You may have stepped on someone else's toes, just by accepting the job in all innocence. It could be the person who is being very nice to your face, but repeating a one sided version of any conversation, to the rest of the clique, within the department.

    You will never discover who it is and such behaviour is now classed as improving others and raising standards. It is not worth staying. If teachers are leaving a place, in droves, you have to wonder if it is a case of crabs in an open basket, for those still staying on.

    How will you know when you have eaten enough humble pie, to be judged as a good teacher?

    Hatoff is right in a way. Outstanding teachers get a big shock when they get downgraded just by changing schools.

    In other cases the reverse happens.

    It is a bit like internal coursework. An E or below grade student, can 'achieve' an A star if they are with an 'outstanding' teacher, and since they are often lead teachers in charge of 'mentoring' others, who is going to rock their own bread and butter by saying anything?

    The sort of behaviour towards you and many others can be justified and moderated far too easily by the rest of the clique.

    If you decide to stay and face this lot, remember no one is going to put their own 'career' on the line for you.

    In any case, Take a union member to every meeting, informal or not. They are all part of a policified process.

    Read the relevant policy so you can identify which step of the 'lawful' process they are instigating at any give time.

    Remember we have Gove our 'justice' secretary to thank for this inhumane wsy of raising standards.
  8. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    Proof here that being a rat in the rat race and accepting promotion does not always work out! (Not being condescending to the OP here, just stating an unfortunate truth.) But seriously, if you are happy somewhere, the state of teaching at the moment, moving elsewhere is one hell of a risk. Although the advice used to be to keep moving school, I am not sure whether that applies any more.

    You sound like you have fallen into a school of cliquey people (it sounds like you are Primary - cliques in Secondary can be bad enough but in the predominantly female world of Primary with less of a 'range' of colleagues - I imagine the cliquiness must be insane at times - again, not being sexist here but sorry in my opinion women do tend on average to be cliquier - us men are just less friendly overall lol!)

    Frankly in your position I would be looking at your sold school to see if they want you back. A TLR is not worth a loss of happiness. Or another school. Your current place is so toxic a ribbon of toxic symbols would be used up there. Moved out for your own sanity!
  9. Amylicorice

    Amylicorice New commenter

    Scienceteacher- good point about asking old school if they want you back. I've returned to great schools twice. Both times with mildly harrowing stories, and both time I had to swallow an amount of pride, and both times I was greeted with open, knowing arms.

    It's really worth a lot to like your work place.
  10. marniott

    marniott New commenter

    Hi all,

    Sorry for the delay in replying but my head has been in the "wrong" place so haven't done much.

    Hatoff: I sense some bitterness - maybe you have been stung previously? Either way, I don't think I have only just "woken" up to the world of teaching. I have always been aware that schools of the sort I am in now are around - I just hadn't experienced it myself. Nor do I think for a second that my years of experience mean that I should automatically be judged as good/outstanding. I am more than willing to accept any judgement levelled at me providing there is sufficient evidence/grounds for the grading. At this school I feel this is not the case.

    Quick update for everyone else:

    I have been in touch with my current HT (who unfortunately is part of the clique) and advised him I am off sick due to anxiety - this was after advice from my union and a discussion with my previous HT. I also stated that I was happy to discuss my problems at a mutually convenient time/location - an offer he has yet to respond to.

    Having said that, I can't go to management unfortunately as they are all part of the "gang" there - it is a closed gang (and has been for many years according to others around school). The job I had was applied for by my colleague but I have only found this out whilst I have been off - this, I think, is part of the reason for the hostility towards myself.

    I'm not prepared to be treated like this any longer and have decided I will be leaving this school - again, something I have made clear to the HT - as I can't work in such a toxic environment.

    I am in the process of looking for another job and have just been invited to interview at another local primary school.

    Thank you to everyone for your messages and guidance.
  11. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    Good luck!

    Read this:

    Missing the resignation deadline

    And let me know if you don't know where all the interview advice articles are.

    Best wishes


    Meet Theo on line on the TES JobSeekers Forum, where she answers jobseeking and careers queries regularly each week.
  12. rosievoice

    rosievoice Star commenter

    All good wishes, Marniott. You deserve a better workplace. x
  13. marymoocow

    marymoocow Star commenter

    Good luck. Ignore Hatsoff, he/she has a history of nastiness in posts like this.
  14. Best decision, I'd say. Leave! I am doing something similar. The interview question 'why are you leaving' made me worry but I said that my ethos and the school wasn't compatible and left it at that.

    Hope you get the new job.
  15. tall tales

    tall tales New commenter

    Great! Good luck and let us know how you get on.

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