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Bullied by my mentor

Discussion in 'New teachers' started by annavh, Mar 13, 2011.

  1. Hi
    I've been posting on here for a whle now and I have often mentioned my mentor's lack of support. She was good and very supportive in my first term and we got along really well. However after christmas she changed. I have a very difficult year 8 group who are a 2nd set and so in her eyes should be good. For me they are hell and I cannot get them to behave with any strategy positive or sanctions. I asked her for help on several occasions so she started popping in to my lessons. Instead of helping my she caught me after the lesson and berated me on how the activities were boring for them (the activities had to be changed because the exciting activities did not work). I tried to alter my teaching and when they were bad she said that they were tired etc. My point is that she refused to accept it was them, In the end I got senior staff in and she really didn't like it and started making snide remarks to me such as "I have to deal with this everyday to put things in perspective for you" when I had an awful day with no lunch break etc. She demanded that I write up 3 detailed lesson plans each week for her to scrutinise in our meetings. I really couldn't manage this and I explained this to her, to which she said that it was not an unmanageable workload and that I should do it on the basis that I had to do one for every lesson in my PGCE (let's not forget that I only taught 2 lessons per day in my PGCE). Eventually I did speak to my Induction manager who had a word with her.

    Anyway things really got ugly on friday. On tuesday I was marking with another teacher in my department and I mentioned that my mark book is a mess and I was a bit worried about it. This teacher told me it was fine and she said to have a look at my mentor's markbook as she had borrowed it (my mentor has always said we can look at it too). Anyway I had a look and said it was really immaculate but then I noticed that her bottom set year 9s were getiing higher levels than my second set ones which surprised me and this other teacher. Then I noticed that she had written their lower levels in pencil and written higher levels over the top. I still felt that something wasn't right there. I also commented that it was full of bits of paper which is something she always tells me off for. I never meant anything bad by this. While We were looking my NQT friend from another department came in to ask me something. The next day my mentor asked why I had looked at her markbook and I said I just wanted to see a good example of how to set it out and she was really cross saying that she was very proud of her markbook etc.
    On friday after school she took me and this other teacher aside and said that she was giving me one last chance to tell her what I had said. I told her that I just wanted to see a good example of a markbook. She then said that I had commented on the levels so I told her I was a bit confused about the levels her group were getting. She explained this and went on about how she can justify everything in there and that she keeps her papers in there. Then she asked who had been in the office at the time and I said it was just me and this other teacher as I genuinely ouldn't remember my friend coming in as it was so trivial. She then looked furious and said perhaps this other teacher could "jog my memory". She said she was furious that I was discussing her markbook "with other departments" as she was very proud of it and that I had overstepped the mark. I felt like I had been interrogated in a way that I didn't deserve. I genuinely hadn't meant any harm in looking at her markbook and my friend coming in was merely coincidental. I certainly was not discussing her markbook "with other departments". I was so upset on friday and cannot stop thinking about it as I really didn't mean any harm. Should I take this incident to the induction manager? Will he say I overstepped the mark?
     
  2. Hi
    I've been posting on here for a whle now and I have often mentioned my mentor's lack of support. She was good and very supportive in my first term and we got along really well. However after christmas she changed. I have a very difficult year 8 group who are a 2nd set and so in her eyes should be good. For me they are hell and I cannot get them to behave with any strategy positive or sanctions. I asked her for help on several occasions so she started popping in to my lessons. Instead of helping my she caught me after the lesson and berated me on how the activities were boring for them (the activities had to be changed because the exciting activities did not work). I tried to alter my teaching and when they were bad she said that they were tired etc. My point is that she refused to accept it was them, In the end I got senior staff in and she really didn't like it and started making snide remarks to me such as "I have to deal with this everyday to put things in perspective for you" when I had an awful day with no lunch break etc. She demanded that I write up 3 detailed lesson plans each week for her to scrutinise in our meetings. I really couldn't manage this and I explained this to her, to which she said that it was not an unmanageable workload and that I should do it on the basis that I had to do one for every lesson in my PGCE (let's not forget that I only taught 2 lessons per day in my PGCE). Eventually I did speak to my Induction manager who had a word with her.

    Anyway things really got ugly on friday. On tuesday I was marking with another teacher in my department and I mentioned that my mark book is a mess and I was a bit worried about it. This teacher told me it was fine and she said to have a look at my mentor's markbook as she had borrowed it (my mentor has always said we can look at it too). Anyway I had a look and said it was really immaculate but then I noticed that her bottom set year 9s were getiing higher levels than my second set ones which surprised me and this other teacher. Then I noticed that she had written their lower levels in pencil and written higher levels over the top. I still felt that something wasn't right there. I also commented that it was full of bits of paper which is something she always tells me off for. I never meant anything bad by this. While We were looking my NQT friend from another department came in to ask me something. The next day my mentor asked why I had looked at her markbook and I said I just wanted to see a good example of how to set it out and she was really cross saying that she was very proud of her markbook etc.
    On friday after school she took me and this other teacher aside and said that she was giving me one last chance to tell her what I had said. I told her that I just wanted to see a good example of a markbook. She then said that I had commented on the levels so I told her I was a bit confused about the levels her group were getting. She explained this and went on about how she can justify everything in there and that she keeps her papers in there. Then she asked who had been in the office at the time and I said it was just me and this other teacher as I genuinely ouldn't remember my friend coming in as it was so trivial. She then looked furious and said perhaps this other teacher could "jog my memory". She said she was furious that I was discussing her markbook "with other departments" as she was very proud of it and that I had overstepped the mark. I felt like I had been interrogated in a way that I didn't deserve. I genuinely hadn't meant any harm in looking at her markbook and my friend coming in was merely coincidental. I certainly was not discussing her markbook "with other departments". I was so upset on friday and cannot stop thinking about it as I really didn't mean any harm. Should I take this incident to the induction manager? Will he say I overstepped the mark?
     
  3. Why were you making comments about her markbook with other members of staff?
     
  4. This other teacher is in my department. I was just unsure about my markbook, so I was comparing it to my mentor's.
     
  5. You should be careful doing things like that. Obviously someone (either the person you were looking at the markbook with or the NQT who popped in) have told her word for word what happened. Things you do and say get around an you shouldnt really be trusting people, especially so early on in a new school.
     
  6. Being in your department or not is irrelevant. You may find you are treading a very fine line between being professional and unprofessional.
     
  7. Let's not attack Anna for what's already happened. Hindsight is a marvellous thing and we could all benefit from it sometimes, I know I certainly can!
    I did something in my first term which I honestly and truly believed was the right, professional, look-at-how-I'm-keeping-on-top-of-things thing to do. Unfortunately my HT didn't see it that way.
    I still believe I did the right thing, but I had to swallow a HUGE amount of pride and apologise on bended knee for my perceived lack of professionalism. It took a while for my HT to be able to move on and not mention it in every conversation I had with him, but it got there in the end and now I think (hope) he's moved on.
    I think, especially if you've worked in industry for years in senior positions as I had, that within school there is almost a different view of what is acceptable and not acceptable, and sometimes it's just really, really hard to know what that view is. Only time and experience will give us this understanding.
    For the meantime, I suggest you did as I did, admit you did something which you perceived as the right thing to do but which you now see was not the most sensible, and grovel and apologise until you are blue in the face. Not pretty, but necessary, I'm afraid.
    P.S. I don't see this as a major crime, either!!!

     
  8. It isn't a major crime at all. As an NQT you have a LOT of hoops to jump through. Some of those 'hoops' in the standards are professional conduct. Discussing another member of staff's work in such a way was a very naive mistake to make and as elizabeth has said, you need to apologise.
     
  9. fantastischfish

    fantastischfish Established commenter

    But at the same time, don't be surprised if more experienced colleagues who are not scrutinised under induction standards behave in this way. Teaching is a very b1tchy profession at times. It's also very territorial, so don't be surprised by your mentor's reaction.
     
  10. Agreed! Should have added it to my post. The point is, when you are in your induction year the aim should be to get through it and pass. Giving people ammuntion to find faults etc is not wise.
     
  11. I have already apologized to my mentor, so that's all ok, I just still worry about it. Will this affect whether I pass?
     
  12. I'm not an expert but I shouldn't think so. If it does affect your ability to pass, then I'm in the same boat!!
    I hope that, as a professional, my HT can see that I made what he saw as one unprofessional mistake, and for the rest of the time, I'm meeting the standards.
    (BTW, my "mistake" was one that the HT of my GTP training school does every single day, at least once a day!)


     

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