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Being bullied...the pennies just dropped!

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by uni2006, Feb 21, 2011.

  1. I am seeking advice. I have just realised that the HT at my school is a bully and runs the school this way! I was warned but fell into the trap that 'she was okay with me' (at first) so couldn't see a problem as such. There is not a 'single' thing I can say she has done but a series of incidents. Currently 3 other members of staff have contacted the chair of governors and are in the midst of a complaint, I have been becoming more and more disheartened and am constantly down. I have begun suffering severe migraines (which I have never had before) and am crying regularly over little things. People told me that it was stress but i brushed it off and didnt think i was someone that suffered from stress. I am now sending a letter to the gov as I am seriously considering leaving and feel I am at breaking point.
    Can anyone give me any advice as to what I need to do or what to expect, any advice is welcome as I am at such a loss.
  2. baitranger

    baitranger Senior commenter

    I can't give specific advice about your school/head, but can offer this:
    it's good to get things into perspective: even if you lose what appears to have become a c**p job, your life will go on and other opportunities will come along.
    The world will not come to an end if you don't go into that school any more and eventually you will find another way of earning money.
    If others feel as you do, why not get together with them and organise something, perhaps with the support of your union?
  3. Gardening Leaves

    Gardening Leaves New commenter

    Contact your union for support and go to see your doctor. It's important that your migraines and tearfulness are recorded as the impact of the Head's bullying of you. Begin to keep a record of any incidents: dates, places, what was done and if there wewre any witnesses. I would look to getting out of that unhealthy place as quickly as you can. The Head will not improve. If you do decide to complain, be aware that the Head is likely to make your life unbearable afterwards and the Governor not take the action you expect. If you suffer because you complained you are entitled to take action for compensation under the Public Interest Disclosure ("whistleblowing") Act. Best advice is still to get out fast though - and give the details to the CoG in your resignation letter!
  4. GO, go, go! If you get too down about it, it will take you longer to get out,by which time you'll have suffered more. Don't bother with the governors. They're not going to support you. If you get as far as the union, it's too late as the personal damage is done. Keep posting for support.
  5. Beware that frequently the govs will turn a blind eye to any bullying - even within failing schools - and only support the HT.... I have known govs that have been told to never question any action of the HT - and they complied!!!

    If the HT is a bully - get out soon - preferably befroe things get out of hand although this may already be too late. If it is - you bneed to record every event that occurs - date it - any memos/letters/emails/texts etc received that add to this etc - because often the only way to leave on a positive note from a bullying HT IMO is either via the union - which is messy or after a serious amount of bum licking(which sadly I don;t think will work in your case as you are already on the wrong side of the fence!)....

    BUT life does go on - many posters on here have had horrific experiences of bullying and lived to tell the tale and then conitnuied with very promising careers - not easy but possible...

    Do PM any of the posters (inc me) for support if needed and post on the threads to help you through....
  6. bigfatgit

    bigfatgit Occasional commenter

    <u>There is not a 'single' thing I can say she has done but a series of incidents.</u>
    Unless you have actual evidence, be very careful of making a formal complaint.
    I will guarantee that there are teachers out there that have felt the same as you but have then fallen foul of legalities / disciplinary procedures because they can't prove it.
    The worst bullying is bullying by stealth (as appears the case here) and the bully knows exactly what buttons to push for each victim - it can happen in front of other people and they won't even notice it.

  7. Hi, I read your post with sympathy and empathy. I thought id share my experience with you.
    I recently raised a bullying issue against deputy head. It was, I wrongly thought, a discussion between myself and the HT. However, HT escalated this, albeit informally, and raised an investigation which involved her questioning several members of staff. I also felt the HT condoned this behaviour and is in fact a bully herself but did not raise this. Not surprisingly, she did not substantiate any of my 11 incidents I had specifically written down for her and gave sharp warnings to 3 members of staff who also spoke out about this deputy. Just before half term i was informed that a disciplinary meeting would take place as the deputy had raised a complaint of malicious allegations against me. I have the union involved for this meeting. It just goes to show that if you do speak out the smt can turn the tables-another form of bullying i feel!
    I, like you, am strongly considering leaving and am looking for other jobs but outside of teaching as i cant face going to another school where the HT would be a similar manager.
    My question is, Who are the HTs really accountable to? They seem to be able to do anything! Has anyone else experienced this?
    My advice would be to keep notes of everything, have someone in meetings with you who would be willing to corroborate conversations (you're entitled to this) and register your stress with your GP. I have also found interesting information on bullyingonline.org which fit the profile of my SMT!
    I hope this helps in some way, I do feel for you.
  8. Aww bless you, I've experienced bullying as well and can totally sympathise. I agree with the poster who has said it has probably been very subtle stealth bullying - if it were always overt, most of us would be able to deal with it on the spot and it wouldn't be so problematic.
    Try and document incidents anyhow, no matter how small or trivial they appear to be. When I did that in my last situation, I was amazed at how many I actually recalled - I filled about two-three sides of A4 over the course of 18 months employment!
    Make your health your priority as well - don't stick around longer than you have to, get out if you can. And you do get through it, I promise you - see it as a learning experience.
    Other than that, you've been given great advice already which is pretty much what I would have said, so I just wanted to show my support really and say;
    ((Hugs)) xxxx
  9. Thank you all so much for your responses. Just to know that there are people out there in the profession that are not all like my HT, and appreciate the advice. Anything seems to help at the moment. I have spent the entire half term fretting over what to do and what to write in the letter to the chair of gov. I am keeping my options open and am looking for a new job but do not want to tell the schl im leaving incase I can't find another job and have to stay! I can only imagine how difficult my she would make it for me then!! I have been to the doctors and have been given medication for my migraines, and have back dated as much as poss any incidents. I am unsure whether to bring up issues from last year (my NQT year). Just to give my issue a context; I completed my teacher training at 25yr and am now in my 2nd yr of teaching. Last yr my nqt mentor was meant to be my dep head however the new dep head left after being in post for only 6months, due to stress (the issue of bullying was risen then!). When the dep head left the HT was meant to take over the role as my mentor and although carried out obs as planned I never had any mentor meetings and there are many other issues. How far can I/should I go back??
    thank you all so much for the advice so far and words of kindness they are so reassuring!

  10. Gardening Leaves

    Gardening Leaves New commenter

    Threads such as these and posts like yours make me so sad and so angry. I have been posting on here about bullying for a couple of years now. I know that plenty of incidents pre-dated mine and, in those two years, not a week has gone by without another harrowing experience being posted here.
    Tinajane, if you are now being targetted as a consequence of raising concerns about bullying you are offered protection by the 'whistleblowers' law' - the Public Interest Disclosure Act. For more information about this, check out www.pcaw.co.uk The organisation Public Concern at Work offers information on their website but also a Free helpline and legal advice. They were involved with the government in drafting the legislation and will work alongside unions.
    You should not be surprised that your SMT fit the profile. All bullies do! They think they are being clever but their behaviour follows the same pattern.
  11. I too would recommend a look at www.bullyonline.org
    When I first read this site I was amazed at how much it felt like I was reading my diary! The section on bystanders helped me to understand how the person bullying me had managed to turn everyone against me, and the section on physical and mental health effects enabled me to attribute the many problems I was having to this issue.
    Repeated advice I know but...
    Log everything
    Speak to your union
    You are entitled to have your school union rep or another professional friend in with you in any meeting
    Dont trust anybody - in a place where bullying is rife people will be looking after themselves (in my case many people have been witness to the bullying but will not speak out)
    Look for another job and get out as soon as you can! - the bullying of me has been allowed to carry on for too long and now I am an absolute wreck! I have a long list of mental and physical disorders to deal with and am in various types of therapy and am in the process of leaving the school. At this point I don't think I have the confidence to even apply for a new job.
    This is the most awful situation to be in so please get out as soon as possible!!
  12. This is a standard tactic. If you make a complaint, expect one to be made against you.
    The answer is to make another complaint - harrassment or something - to escalate it to the point where the pimple in question backs off in a splutter of well muddied water.

    (Actually, I have used it against middle managers with a great deal of success over the years. What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander....[​IMG])
  13. I was bullied horrendously in my last school - had never happened to me before. I began to log EVERYTHING - had 110 pages of incidents, emails, harrassment etc. Logged words said, dates, times, everything. This became therepeutic in itself. I could do nothing though, as it was a private school. I talked to the union etc - v difficult to actually do anything about it.

    I read the book 'Bully in SIght'. Know that if it FEELS weird and unwanted, you are almost certainly right and the behaviour you are suffering is indeed nasty and pernicious. Believe that you have a right to feel good at work, and know that in another context, with other, better people, you will be fine again. However it's easy to say this i know. My advice is, if at all possible get out if you can. Otherwise, if you are prepared to take it higher, keep that logbook with every detail in.
  14. Hi,

    To all those lovely people that offered advice and just general words of support- thank you! I know it has been 5yrs but I thought I would let you know, that thanks to your advice and supportive colleagues, I survived the year! I and the others that were being bullied were brave enough to contact the governors and my head teacher handed her notice in and I have enjoyed teaching (in the same school) since! I know that this was an ideal outcome and not all stories end this way but I hope that anyone else that finds themselves in my situation may read this and have the confidence to speak up.

    Thanks again!

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