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Badly treated or bullied by your head?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Blue-author, Jul 15, 2019.

  1. Blue-author

    Blue-author New commenter

    Hello all

    I have recently resigned from a senior post in school due to severe stress and depression brought on by bullying behaviour by the head. I am now writing a book about the situation in schools as I understand from lots of posts that others have experienced similar. If you would like to share you story, I would be most interested to read it. If the book ever does hit the book stands (I am considering self publishing), then any contributions would, of course, be anonymous.

    It would be great to hear from any of you who have emerged from this kind of terrible experience with your sanity / job / career / family life still intact! As well as doing some research for the book, I need all the good news I can get my hands on for my personal recovery from what was a truly horrendous, toxic situation.

    Thank you for reading.
    pepper5 likes this.
  2. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter


    I'm torn about how to reply here. Part of me wants to write "yay, good for you, stick it to them", and the other part says "no, hold back." What do you hope to gain from this book? The hope that your ex head will read it and feel ashamed and embarrassed by recognising his/her behaviour? That other heads may pick it up and think, "I really shouldn't have done that 3, 4, 5, 10 plus years ago...?"

    Because I doubt any of them will, or care. As for those who have had terrible experiences, they have, I hope, moved on to better futures, whether in teaching or not. You seem to be seeking reassurance that life goes on after a shattering event - it does. You can read between the lines about my life and career from that sentence. But as for divulging details for a book, that you say will be anonymised but will possibly contain experiences that people might recognise? No, thanks.
  3. Happygopolitely

    Happygopolitely Established commenter

    The real issue is that bullying heads can get away with it. Just as your's has.

    Did you go to a Union? And why didn't you just leave the school?
  4. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Anonymous or not, they would be recognisable stories and that would get many people into trouble. Those who left with SA, most people who leave after such events, are not permitted to give details about what happened or to speak negatively about the school or staff in it.

    Reading lots of horror stories will merely give you a skewed impression of teaching today.
    Most teachers in most schools are as happy, content and fulfilled as they ever were.

    A better way to move on would be to go on to be happy and successful in a new post.
    starlightexpress and Piranha like this.
  5. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    This would be my main point also. Nobody would publish, and self publishing would lead to a world of trouble. Why on earth do you think the bookshops are not already full of erudite and detailed depictions of life in public service? Schools, health service, police force.All exposed to the same sort of tripe you have probably suffered.
    However, it does not necessarily mean that you need to "move on" from the idea of writing.
    You need to go for satire, comedy, or features writing.
    You cannot just write a book about the state of our schools today unless you back it up with dispassionate and authentic citable research, and that is precisely what you do not have.
    I'm sure you could write a darned good comedy show though. Seriously. Do it.
  6. Blue-author

    Blue-author New commenter

    My union were involved but I resigned and did not receive a settlement. My capability was not in question, the head is a bully pure and simple. It is worth noting that I was not the first senior leader to leave because of the unpleasant conduct of the head.
  7. Blue-author

    Blue-author New commenter

    Thank you for your suggestions. It is early days for my idea so anything is possible and things certainly evolve! I put the message up on here to see what people thought so I am grateful for all the comments. I hadn't considered the constraints of a SA, which was my error.
  8. Blue-author

    Blue-author New commenter

    Thank you for your reply. I have found the responses really interesting.

    I have had a fairly long career in teaching which has been happy and fulfilling until the last year, so I think I have a balanced view. I have a number of friends and some of them have had fantastic experiences and some have suffered terribly. My head's conduct left me with severe stress and depression and I resigned from my post. I know that many teachers just resign and do not end up with a SA. I really do feel that this happens to too many people, not just in teaching, and there is definitely a story to tell. Whether it's a story people would like to contribute to and read about, only time will tell! But that is the good thing about forums like this; people give their viewpoints which are really informative.
  9. afterdark

    afterdark Lead commenter

    I disagree. I have worked in some great places. I have also worked in many many terrible places. Before the adulterer Chris Woodhead betrayed education and set up OFSTED to be the great poisoner of education I think teachers were generally happier.

    Teachers were certainly happier before academies starting stealing away their years/decades of rights.
    henrypm0, pepper5 and BelleDuJour like this.
  10. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    You are very welcome to...
    However having taught in a large variety of schools, both before and after Chris Woodhead, before and after Michael Gove, before and after the nation decided everyone should be accountable to everyone else, I honestly can't see an overall difference.
    I started teaching with some who hated it and carried on because there was nothing else.
    I started teaching with some who thought the whole of education had already gone to hell in a handcart.
    etc etc
  11. Happygopolitely

    Happygopolitely Established commenter

    I think it is incredibly.demoralising when Headteachers abandon the art of teaching itself. By not teaching they effectively demote teachers and distance themelves once and for all from the classroom.

    I am sure there are still some good heads around..But then, in reality: how many heads can name all their teachers these days?
  12. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    My second school was an average LA secondary. A reasonably well thought of school in the town and we got decent enough results.
    I and another member of staff left at the same time. She after 3 years, me after four terms.
    At the 'leaving' nonsense, the head clearly had no idea which of us was which, and made speeches which demonstrated he had no clue which subject either of us taught.
    This was in 1998!
    Happygopolitely likes this.
  13. becky70

    becky70 Occasional commenter

    I didn't leave with an SA, my ex head has retired (I think), it was a long time ago but I still don't feel brave enough to contribute to your book. Sorry!
    I can reassure you that life does get better though. I moved on to a new school and it has mostly been OK. You don't forget the experience but you can move on. If you don't feel you can teach again there are lots of positive stories of people changing careers on this forum.
  14. Happygopolitely

    Happygopolitely Established commenter

    I am sorry for what you have been through.

    It is a pity that you didn't challenge the bullying via your Union head on or at least go to another school and deprive your head of your skills . It may have helped you fight your demons.there and then.

    Bullying is sadly rife in many workplaces. Bullies do not expect their victims to challenge them.and are often scared stiff when they do.
  15. Bedlam3

    Bedlam3 Star commenter

    You sound like you are looking to now challenge the situation. Depending on how recent your resignation was, and what evidence you have, have you considered a constructive dismissal claim? It may be worth contacting your Union about this.
    pepper5 likes this.
  16. singstarcool

    singstarcool New commenter

    I am happy to share my experiences with you - please PM me
    pepper5 likes this.
  17. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    Great idea. I'm happy to contribute. PM me.
    pepper5 likes this.
  18. Blue-author

    Blue-author New commenter

    Thank you for your reply. I fully understand committing your experiences to a book is not for everyone. I am exploring lots of things at the moment, from supply teaching to the Civil Service! I am sure life does get better - colleagues of mine who were similarly despatched by the head are testament to that.
    lizzy9 and pepper5 like this.
  19. Blue-author

    Blue-author New commenter

    Yes, I've thought about a constructive dismissal claim and decided against it, mainly because I felt so much better after making the decision to resign and any thoughts of further communication threatened a relapse. And my union were, in the end, less than helpful.
    pepper5 likes this.
  20. Blue-author

    Blue-author New commenter

    Thank you for your kind comments.

    I did involve my union but I didn't find them terribly helpful. Also, I did not have the strength then to fight; it may be a little different now I have resigned but I just want to distance myself from the person who caused me so much distress. In hindsight, there are things I should have done differently, such as address any issues with the head via email so that there was evidence if needed. I didn't because I knew how furious she had been when colleagues did this... I now realise that she knew her behaviour would have to be reasonable in such situations. Definitely a lesson learned!

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