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Are teachers ever allowed to say no and is the lack of choice damaging their health?

Discussion in 'Education news' started by TES_Rosaline, Oct 22, 2018.

  1. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    Julian Stanley, chief executive of the Education Support Partnership, believes that teachers are suffering from mental health problems because they can’t say no, but do teachers actually have a choice in the matter?

    ‘“One of the things about teachers is that they are very driven by the morals and ethics of wanting to get things right, and sometimes they struggle around the workload because they struggle with the boundary issues of saying no. And sometimes asking for help can be difficult because you can be shown to be vulnerable, especially in a school if the culture isn’t right.”

    Reasons teachers call the helpline can range from pupil behaviour to problems with colleagues or mentors to insomnia caused by workload.

    “We get calls from people saying they’re feeling physically sick, or as if they’re on the verge of having some really serious mental health problem like a breakdown” he says.’

    What are your views? Do you agree with Julian Stanley? If yes/no, why? Does the culture of fear need to be changed before teachers can say no?

  2. David Getling

    David Getling Lead commenter

    It's just a matter of self confidence. If you consider yourself good enough to get another job just tell SLT where to shove their requests.

    I still remember my manager telling a user that if they wanted something done that day then they needed to make their mind up now because: come 5pm David is out that door and there's nothing I can do to stop him.

    When it comes to SLT it's a bit like house training a puppy or a kitten.
  3. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Star commenter

    We are our own worst enemy.
    • Revision sessions that you are made to feel you are not pulling your weight if you do not take them "think of the children".
    • Pre School "warm-up sessions" prior to an exam that we are expected to do but are not paid for.
    • After school clubs that we are expected to do without pay.
    • Hours wasted by each and every teacher filling in detention forms etc that could be done in seconds with the right software but the school doesn't buy as it cannot afford. (which sends the message to the teacher that their time is nigh on valueless)
    • Stupid marking systems that waste your time and do not benefit the student, on the contrary, they prevent the teacher from having enough time to prepare all those great resources/lessons that would help the students.
  4. nervousned

    nervousned Senior commenter

    Problem is people can say no but in many places they would be saying yes to capability.
  5. Alice K

    Alice K Occasional commenter

    Well put!
  6. hhhh

    hhhh Star commenter

    When everyone did, it was easy...same as when 'everyone' told off children for dropping litter etc.
    lardylegs and stonerose like this.
  7. stonerose

    stonerose Occasional commenter

    Agree we are not strong collectively: at school level; at local level and national.
    lardylegs and JohnJCazorla like this.
  8. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    As @ridleyrumpus said, To most SMTs, teachers' time has no value, monetary or otherwise, so tasks, and the hours spent on them, can be increased with no cost or consequence.

    As @nervousned said though, if you stand up to unreasonable SMT demands, you on your way out of the door.
  9. drek

    drek Star commenter

    Julian conveniently forgot the capability threat hanging over all these teachers supposedly unable to help themselves.

    There are teachers (mostly female....sorry.....but it’s a fact) that act like teaching is the same as becoming a nun. Nothing is too much, even other people’s ill health strikes them as ‘weak’ because ‘look at me...I had a terrible infection but made it to school for the children’. You had the sniffles love not a severe chest infection like your colleague who rightly stayed at home!

    But for an increasing number of the more sensible staff members, once the above lot were given leadership responsibilities and told to manage the career progression of the rest.....all hell broke loose......

    The first kind imposed the notion of expected ‘unreasonable’ hours (any length of time it took to do a last minute requested data entry, analysis, deep marking as per my personal rules’ after a full teaching week, micromanagement ‘to raise standards’ which is absolute nonsense in a job like teaching.
    No two teachers will ever teach the same topic to the same group of students, or even work the same hours each day which makes it an absolute misery to achieve some of the unrealistic leader imposed targets and deadlines.
  10. install

    install Star commenter

    A teacher can say 'no' but at a cost in most schools. Sadly ,Latest training has those who say 'no' as being :

    Loose cannons
    Union minded
    Not team players etc

    And so in some schools 'no' is seen as an act of war. :(

    Better to copy some slt types, mean no, but say -
    Thats great - I'll get back to you
    Put that in writing,.I'll have a look
    Its a great idea
    I agree and lets do it when we can.:p
  11. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Star commenter

    "Latest training"??

    Please tell me this wasn't what was put across in a real training session!

    You can use those approaches listed for some things but not for marking, or revision sessions etc
  12. install

    install Star commenter

    In house.in at least three separate schools. Agree about marking and Rev Sessions :cool:
  13. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Star commenter

    SLT Training?
  14. install

    install Star commenter

    Years ago - Whole school Training for all staff on growth mindset and being positive always ..:cool:
    agathamorse likes this.
  15. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Star commenter

    agathamorse likes this.
  16. binaryhex

    binaryhex Lead commenter

    I worked at an “outstanding” Grammar school for many years, where I swear the Head never went a single meeting in the entire 15 years without mentioning OFSTED. It was always, ‘OFSTED might come tomorrow’, ‘OFSTED might want to see this’, ‘if we lose our Outstanding at the next OFSTED, there might be redundancies’ etc etc. Everyone was made to feel guilty and selfish if they didn’t take the fear on board and obey the collective. Every meeting, there was always something else we had to look at. She would never let up, would never take into account what she was doing to teachers, would never listen despite listening sweetly. Everyone hated her but could do nothing. I saw many teachers have the joy of teaching sucked out of them, and some crumbled under the relentless onslaught.

    The only way to stop this widespread abuse is legislation that limits teachers’ working hours. Teachers should work from 8.00am to 4.30pm with 30 minutes for lunch and that is it. Period.
  17. Billie73

    Billie73 Occasional commenter

    I just want to put out there that I work for an amazingly supportive school and we have no problems saying no. I’ve recently respectfully said no to a few things suggested to me by SLT and still got a promotion. We have a discussion and come to a resolution together. There is mutual professional respect and our leaders either recently left the classroom and understand the challenges we face or admit that it’s been so long since they’ve taught that they’d probably find it tough if they went back.

    Schools like this are rare but they do exist.

    And again, we have a huge union membership (200 staff, 150 in NEU) and we are very active.

    ‘A union is only as strong as its members’
  18. schoolsout4summer

    schoolsout4summer Star commenter

    Or, pay teachers by the hour, rather than an annual salary. All the rubbish would stop overnight if they had to pay teachers for doing it.
    bertiehamster and agathamorse like this.
  19. drek

    drek Star commenter

    Pay per hour? imagine a member whose leadership pay grade was say....£ 60 an hour....they could charge per hour of ‘observation’........ imagine how many observations they would deem necessary....... no thank you....
    Could also charge overtime for meetings that went on until midnight...... to discuss ‘important’ stuff for example.....rewording the staff dress code policy and producing endless performance management ticklists!

    These important jobs would leave very little overtime in the budget for people doing the actual educating bit....they would very likely see a reduction in their salary if anything!
    agathamorse likes this.
  20. JosieWhitehead

    JosieWhitehead Star commenter

    Saying 'no' isn't just for teachers but saying it on many different occasions in life. We don't like to have to do it, is how we might feel, but if someone is asking you to do something that you really don't have time to it, or feel inside yourself that it is wrong to do it, or because you feel it shows your children that perhaps you don't love them, then you really do need to train yourself to say 'no' - and there is need to start off with 'I'm sorry but . . . . ' Sometimes you can give them a reason: 'I've to be somewhere at that time,' or 'We don't have the money for that' - or 'it's against my principles in life' etc - but don't just say yes to please them when you do not want to do something. You have your rights and reasons in life too.
    agathamorse likes this.

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