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Angry, upset and self doubting

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Bonnie23, Jun 13, 2017.

  1. Bonnie23

    Bonnie23 Occasional commenter

    This week we had a student caught plagerising work, with several students witnessing it, I believe it was a misunderstanding but from several members of (including senior) staff it was clear: This student needs an after school detention and a phone call home.

    This all sounds simple apart from the fact that this student has previously accussed me of not helping him in lessons and being mean to him. It has been to the point where we've had meetings with parents in school. However I made the phone call and set the detention as instructed.

    As I explained the situation to the parent he thanked me for the phone call but then said that 'Someone is not doing their job right, we will be in touch with -Name- because this is now beyond a joke'. That name is effectively my boss and it was very clear from his tone of voice that person 'not doing their job right' was me.

    I feel heartbroken in all honesty. I have put my tears and blood into helping these students and I don't know what this student is saying at home but now I feel like this going to be taken further and that it is going to be me that faces the firing line. What makes it worse is that this is not the first time this has happened with this student and the fact the parent would not engage with me as to what he was unhappy about.

    I believe I help all of my students equally, as it's a qualification I explain the work they need to do, provide examples and help points, I circulate and then if anyone wants me to check their work I do so in class and take it in for regular marking. What I refuse to do is write the students work - it doesn't help them, it doesn't help me.

    All I want to do right now is cry and quit and I feel pathetic for even thinking that.
  2. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    The parent should not and cannot deal with you directly. This is a job for SLT and one of the things they are paid for.

    There's a lot of steps from a caught-out cheater managing to blame you for errmm.... refusing to help him cheat and I really can't see how such can manage to change your position or your job prospects. Essentially you have no case to answer.

    Presumably Name is also your appraiser for Performance Management and can see evidence of your correctly bringing on all the children in your care.

    If your SLT is so craven that it lets even some of the sh1t come your way then you really need to find another school.
  3. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    There is always one.
    Really, there is.
    Every blo ody year.
    When that one leaves, another arrives.

    Go see whoever it is they are planning to complain to and let them know you are upset.
    Don't cry at home tonight, cry in their office in the morning.
    They ought to support you, and probably will.

    Seriously I've been upset about one so dding parent several times this year.
    I teach something like 80 pupils and all others/their parents are fab.
    But that one parent really..... grrrrrr!

    Don't quit because of one.
    If he isn't interested, then leave him to it.
    You can't win them all, spend your energies on the ones who benefit.
    tall tales, sabrinakat, joLT and 7 others like this.
  4. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Sorry this has happened.

    Tale CTB's advice - they will support you. Try not to worry as you have done nothing wrong.
    grumpydogwoman and SLouise91 like this.
  5. Bonnie23

    Bonnie23 Occasional commenter

    Thank you - I'm just so used to dealing with issues myself that I don't like it to be passed onto another party. Especially when they may not be full of all the details.

    I'm not sure about the crying part in front of others but I will definitely go to see them. It's amazing how one person can make another so frustrated and upset.

    I think what bothers me more is that he is one of the students I've spent the most time on than anyone else and everytime I try to help he just ignores it or carries on doing absolutely nothing to fix his work or even complete his work on time - and now this.
    tall tales and pepper5 like this.
  6. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    They say that the child who needs the most love asks for it in the most unlovable way.
    SLouise91 likes this.
  7. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    He is trying to cause maximum disruption but don't let him succeed. As CTB says every year there is always one whomwsnts to cause trouble for a teacher and what you are experiencing is more common than you may think. Of course it is easy to blame you - he isn't going to confess tonhis parents that he has skived off and is lazy. Your boss will know the students is lazy. Don't worry.
  8. secretsiren

    secretsiren Star commenter

    I've had this, as have most teachers. It stinks.
    It feels awful because you know first hand just how hard you try to behave impartially, be fair, help everyone and support them. It feels rude because the parent is attacking your professionalism, and it feels unfair because it is not true. It's upsetting and rubbish.

    However, this parent is simply kicking up a fuss because they have to blame someone. It's you or it's their child, and they've chosen you because they don't want to discipline or believe that their child is in the wrong. There are annoyingly large numbers of these parents about (and increasing amounts, it seems to me). I've had parents rant, storm and demand that I do XYZ (example: mark coursework well after the deadline and somehow get the exam board to accept it) because it must be my fault. Doesn't matter if you calmly and professionally point out that you have done ABC or if you point out that their child is appallingly behaved or underperforming in every subject, it has to be someone else's fault.

    Have a glass of wine, feel rotten, and then move on tomorrow.
  9. drek

    drek Star commenter

    This sort of behaviour in some schools leaves us all frustrated....

    SLT ratified the decision to make the student accountable.

    What they should have done but avoided as is the case in some schools up and down the nation, is ask you about how the parent has acted towards you prior to this occasion when/if you've had parental contact.

    They would have sussed out with their great leadership skills that the phone call home should be done via a middle or senior member in this case!

    If the parent tries to complain about 'teaching skills' they could have then said on this occasion they are dealing directly with a plagiarism incident.
    The student would have received all the warnings accompanying his particular course and therefore in the matter of his cheating there is no one else to blame.

    He made the choice to go against exam board rules and it should be then have been explained to the parent what the school management decision in conjunction with the exam board guidance regarding consequences for that particular incident are.

    That should NOT have been a mere underling teacher's (I am proud to be one by the way) job.

    We are on what's left of the shambolic MPS/UPS scale after all.......any pay rise is at the whim and subjectivity of anyone on a TLR or leadership payspine hell that even included the HR person at my last school who had scraped through GCSEs but done lots of 'project management' courses to upskill her to a pay threshold and title beyond that of mere educators.

    My point being you should not have to face this amount of additional stress for just performing your bleddy job particularly if this student has already verbally abused you all goddamn year!

    Excuse my polite language....
  10. GirlGremlin

    GirlGremlin Occasional commenter

    Chin up, I promise you the more parents you encounter like this, the easier it gets. Water off a ducks back most of the time now. The first is always the worst!
    tall tales, Pomz, pepper5 and 2 others like this.
  11. Bonnie23

    Bonnie23 Occasional commenter

    Thank you. I think what I'm worried about most now is the fall out from this. Am I going to end up being dragged into a meeting and accused of being unable to teach? How much further is this going to go?
  12. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    Disciplinary/capability doesn't work like that. Both need a lot more evidence to put you through the wringer. Of course I assume that SLT and/or the Head aren't totally useless.

    I suggest that you contact your union rep, especially if you have one on site. He should be able to give specific assurances on this point.
    grumpydogwoman and SLouise91 like this.
  13. Tinycat1234

    Tinycat1234 Established commenter

    As lots of people have said, there's always one every year... Please don't worry. You said yourself you have full SLT backing about the decision. SLT will no doubt be fully supportive and want to support you. They will have heard it all before... Go in tomorrow and let them know. To be honest they will have heard sooooo much worse, it won't phase them at all.
    Good luck and don't worry.
    grumpydogwoman and SLouise91 like this.
  14. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    In teaching you could sheet diamonds and a parent somewhere will say you are not doing your job.
    It is beyond frustrating but for your own sanity you must not take it personally, law of averages dictates there will be THAT parent most years! (and some years more than one for bonus measure!)
    SLT may ask what's happened (don't take the asking itself as any criticism, they have to know one way or the other.) If they are supportive, great (and a good SLT is paid to support/back up in these instances.)
    If SLT are not supportive (or worse critical) its time to take an interest in the TES jobs section for a better place!
  15. Curae

    Curae Star commenter

    Oh please ! I would turn this right around and ask the parent to monitor their child and explain how plagiarism is taken very seriously. Don't even think for one minute that this has got anything to do with you (it is natural you do as a caring professional but don't ). Exactly the same thing happened in my dept and it was all to do with a very overbearing parent and fearful underachieving student that quite frankly didn't give a dam and blaming the teacher was the next best thing ( always gotta blame someone ).Ask the parent to go through the pupils work and ask the child to complete all tasks to at least a good standard. Obviously you can offer indirect help/advice to the pupil say break times after school ( actually state the number of times that you are free to speak to the pupil on a one to one basis. Oh and don't worry the ungrateful so and so won't turn up ( most can't be bothered as complaining about your teacher is far easier). Have the confidence to go directly to your head teacher /HOD to warn them of this parent and child state that their accusations are offensive and unfounded and also inform your HT/HOD of your solutions.

    Remember SLouise you are brilliant and some children ( thankfully not the majority) are nasty just like their parents.

    Be proud be confident rise above this nonsense let those finger pointers know who you are ..not to be messed with !

    I do and it ALWAYS works. It is true it took me a while but you have all of us at TES to help.

    Good luck and don't fret it happens.

    knitone and SLouise91 like this.
  16. ThereAreBunniesInMyHead

    ThereAreBunniesInMyHead Occasional commenter

    Just make sure you have plenty of evidence of how much support and help you give students in class in case anyone asks in a meeting, and keep your chin up.

    This happened to me. A student in my Y13 class basically didn't turn up to nearly 70% of the lessons this year and then got a U (unsurprisingly) in the mock exam in January. His parents kicked off because I wasn't 'doing my job'. They wanted a meeting to demand that I do 1 hour one to one revision sessions with him twice a week for 8 weeks before the exam to catch him up. In the meeting with his dad and the HOY I brought a folder of concern slips I had filled out about his attendance, letters I had sent home to his parents that year about his attendance affecting his grades, logs of phone calls home I had made along with notes about what we had discussed, screen shots of the school's VLE showing that I had uploaded all my resources / powerpoints from lessons to that each week so he could have been revising / catching up on his own at home even if not in school. Copies of his written report showing my statement that his attendance was affecting his grades. We do all our feedback on assignments online and so I even screen shotted and printed all the feedback I had given him that year about how to improve his grades showing all the ideas I had given him, along with specific suggestions of reading he should do, or improvements he should make. I courteously explained that I would not be doing multiple one to one sessions with him because a) I didn't have time and b) I had already made it ultra clear multiple times that his attendance would affect his grades so this wasn't anything to do with my teaching.

    Its all about the evidence!
  17. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    So you conferred with management and they told you to go ahead with the sanction?

    Wash your hands of it. Well, erase it from your memory banks.

    You've got an ungrateful little sheet on your hands and some despairing parents. Meh. 'Twas ever thus. Rise above! Rise above!

    Cry? Never!
    Quit? Nonsense! Don't you dare do any of that.

    We've all got lots of those particular T-shirts in our wardrobes. You're concentrating on the bad bits. Classic teacher-mistake. I want to hear your positives.
  18. angiejane

    angiejane New commenter

    Call your union so they have a record of this. Keep all emails get stuff in writting. Any meeting take in another teacher support/witness or your union. See your gp make it clear it is work related stress. Write a letter to your head explaining that these accusations are vextnatious and it's having an effect on your health, ask about the safe guarding measures / reasonable adjustments eg having a t.a present in class as a witness so the pupil cannot say X happened when it did not occur. Do not be alone with this student.This will protect you.
    Good luck.
    crazypineapple likes this.
  19. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    There are parents who find it very difficult to accept that their child can do anything wrong. I hope that once the dust settles and the parents are not in stress during the phone call they will get things in perspective.
    Sadly there always children who either cannot or will not comprehend what to to to "make progress", or who do not really see the need to do well at school.
  20. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    Please, please, PLEASE assure me that you don't spend hours amassing all this evidence just in case some lazy sh1t needs to be proven to be a lazy sh1t.

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