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Am I right to be upset?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Bombart95, Apr 7, 2020.

  1. Bombart95

    Bombart95 New commenter

    So I had my appraisal last week. Everything fine. Good data etc. The bombshell was when reference was made to a book scrutiny undertaken in December (there’s been one this year) where there were apparently ‘concerns’. I wouldn’t know this because the feedback sheets were emailed out on the last day of Autumn term with a lovely message bidding me a good holiday. The sheet itself had standard strengths and improvements columns.

    When I looked at it, it was pretty similar to everyone else’s and the improvements were nothing alarming. I took them on board but won’t know my success as nobody’s looked at the books since and there’s been further changes to policies meaning there’s other things to work on.No further mention has not been made to this until now.

    Informal support has been suggested when we return. I am all for extra CPD and coaching. If this had been mentioned in January-fine. However, there’s little I can do about this now other than dwell on it, at home. When we get back, it’s going to be hard enough plugging the gaps that have developed over this period, I fear. I think that my biggest gripe is other teachers out of favouritism or fear (both?) have gotten away without marking, at all. Some have left now (on there own accord).

    Is it a union matter or am I overreacting? It’s been more than a week and I am still upset.
    agathamorse likes this.
  2. Bombart95

    Bombart95 New commenter

    Sorry for the grammatical errors.
  3. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    I agree that it's rather poor timing, both in terms of them letting you know in a timely manner, combined with the mental health impact on you, and the fact that once things start to return to normal this should probably be nowhere near top of the agenda, given the vast amount of work that will be needed to get the school back running as it was.
    And you can't even go and offload to a trusted friend over a pint / coffee / Earl Grey or glass of something good. Grrrr!
    Unless other things have been happening to make you think that you're on a "hit list", I would advise against union intervention for the moment.
    I would keep secure copies of all paperwork, making a note of things that you have done to address the improvements suggested just before Christmas. I would also suggest that you get secure copies of anything to support you that's on the school network drive. Sometimes funny things happen to network drives if they're after you.

    Unless there is blatant favouritism, I would focus on your work and the security of your job rather than worrying about what others might have done (or not done).

    Good luck. Try to chill in solitude. The Man in the White Suit is being transmitted this afternoon. It's well worth watching.
    jlishman2158 and agathamorse like this.
  4. celago22

    celago22 Established commenter

    This sounds awful. Been there and done that- literally marked the same way as a colleague but was told my books were bad. It was after I had handed in my resignation and nothing I ever did was good enough.

    I actually think it may be worth letting your union know, just informally, what's going on. That way you would have a timestamped version of events which could be used as evidence later on.

    I think the fact that they have taken so long to give you feedback about marking proves that actually your marking can't have been too much of an issue and they are trying to pick on you and fabricate wrongdoing.

    I would also look to gather evidence when we are back at school. So if they've told you, for example, that you are not marking frequently enough then photocopy some books that show daily marking. Marking is so ridiculous, the sooner that schools realise that verbal feedback is more important, the better.
  5. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    Thats so horrible. What is wrong with these managers? WE are in a lockdown, we are in the worst situation any of us have ever faced, we should be building each other up.

    Any manager that delivers one of these surprise "slap in the face" "concerns" at such a time as this has something seriously wrong with them

    Yes, you have every right to be upset. But it isn't you, its them.
  6. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    I think it would be very reasonable to write a response to your line manager telling them the ways in which you have already responded to the feedback in January, and suggesting that the fact that you have done this means that you have adequately reacted to the criticisms without the need for informal support from anyone else. You could also say that if they disagree, that's fine, but you would prefer that they wait until they have had an opportunity to do another book scrutiny and see whether it is necessary.
  7. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    Its up to you, respond if it will make you feel better. Personally, I responded to a negative phone call from a manager by blocking the number. If i get negative emails, i will just file them until the lock down is over.
    jlishman2158 likes this.
  8. Marshall

    Marshall Star commenter

    Grrrrrrrr. This makes so angry! What is wrong with these people?

    Do as Fustrum has said and log everything from now on.

  9. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    Union, all day long.
    Marshall likes this.
  10. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    In normal times, yes contact your union and take their advice.
    But as advice lines are closed, caseworkers ill or inundated with work and branch staff trying to manage casework and their own crazy teaching, it might be better to just file it under 'I'll get over it, but I won't forget and will be forever wary.'

    If all is well apart from the state of the books, then you won't be a top priority for them when schools get back. They were probably just ticking boxes and didn't think.
    jlishman2158 likes this.
  11. AlwaysAdaptable

    AlwaysAdaptable New commenter

    Email your union - regional secretary. They are pretty good at emailing you back.
    jlishman2158 likes this.
  12. Summerhols6

    Summerhols6 Occasional commenter

    Forward the email to your Union and the Education Secretary and ask if this is appropriate in our current situation. Wow, people are losing their lives. How important your SLT must feel.
    Mermaid7 and Bombart95 like this.
  13. br0wnsugar

    br0wnsugar Occasional commenter

    1. Yes, be upset.
    2. Request a marking policy that all teachers are supposed to follow in your department.
    3. Suggest a time period in which you (and your colleagues) can mark the books and be judged fairly and consistently.
    4. Oh and yes, cc in your union rep and follow up over the weeks while out of school and then date follow up when we're all back in the school building.
    agathamorse and jlishman2158 like this.
  14. bajan

    bajan Occasional commenter

    How did you have your appraisal last week when schools are closed?
  15. Bombart95

    Bombart95 New commenter

    Video link. Felt even more callous.
    agathamorse likes this.
  16. Bombart95

    Bombart95 New commenter

    Anyway- might use this time to brush up on my CV and get it sent out! This whole Covid episode has taught me that life is short and fragile. I’ve caught up (via Skype) with old bosses who think I am a great teacher and they were great managers so they do exist.
    ms honey, Mermaid7, Nanny Ogg and 5 others like this.
  17. afterdark

    afterdark Lead commenter

    Yes they do. But a great manager still has tell someone when things are not ok.

    What you describe is poor management....

    This narrrative by the manager is something needs to improve..they knew this in December but sat on their backsides until after the covid-19 event lockdown took place. A rather long time to wait if things are so bad that they need to support you.

    A good manager might have popped in and had an informal glance at what was to focussed on during the booklook. Known as a heads up.

    A great manager might do a practice booklook at half term and tell you how you fare against the criteria that the school/HT/academy is foisting upon you.

    (It's always foisted you are teacher not them. But some folks still seem to have forgotten that it is ok to trust teachers to teach. Marking is vastly overstated in importance by bad managers.)


    The page was updated March 2019

    Bringing in the union may welll be enough to stop any silliness.

    Good luck.
  18. Abitofeverything

    Abitofeverything Occasional commenter

    Are you by any chance quite experienced and expensive? Sounds like the start of them trying to get you out...
    afterdark likes this.
  19. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    This just sounds malicious. Really, how can this use of the internet be justified. tech companies have reduced charges and increased accessibility to facilitate education, not to facilitate bullying educators
    Bombart95 and agathamorse like this.
  20. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    Sorry, here comes a long post, but only because it's worth it.

    Let's assume your teaching performance in itself is fine.
    That is my starting point.

    So this sounds like the familiar "use" of performance management metrics to manipulate a bigger picture which somebody else is managing, and you have fallen victim to it by being informed you are inadequate (in short). They might want to take this somewhere. Let's assume they do.
    It's worth looking at why.
    Somebody somewhere has time on their hands. They have a tick box exercise to demonstrate effective management, and they have been asked to demonstrate something by somebody higher up.
    Well-in isolation and during the hols there is nothing you can do.
    So I'd be inclined to show some front.
    Bomb them with paperwork.
    Send multiple scans individually of student work. Send them, O, four or five per day at regular intervals. It's almost as if I'm telling you to build in maximum inefficiency for the recipient! Obviously I'm not. I'm saying that such pivotal improvement require attention to detail.
    With each separate piece, describe what you can see. Give a detailed profile of that student. Explain how you would mark it. And ask how they would mark it. Ask them to respond by a specific date. Let's say, three days.
    Keep a log of the bits you send out and the responses you receive.
    If they miss a response to the deadline you have requested, email them a query, and cc the head teacher.
    If they miss more than one response, do a seperate email for each one.
    After a week or so, send some separate emails with a spreadsheet of missed responses.cc the Head Teacher.
    And query how, if your own performance is below par, are you supposed to improve?

    Finally-you start your opening post here with "Everything was fine. Good data etc". So you know this game already. Talking about a teacher "perfomance" review, you do not mention your classroom performance either. No single reference to your role as a classroom practitioner, On that level, with respect, you are as bad as each other. With respect. Just in that bit.
    So play their game and win it.
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2020

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