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Bully Mentor

Discussion in 'New teachers' started by bambi20, Feb 9, 2012.

  1. I need some advice...for a while I have been happy with how my mentor treats me. She has often made cutting remarks and suggestions and is very unsupportive. I believe she is bullying me on some level however I do not know how to raise these concerns. Unfortunately, I work in a very small school with a handful of teaching staff and if I go to the Headteacher I know this will make it worse as they are in and out of each others pockets.
    Today she said that I had made no effort when she observed me, however I was teaching a maths lesson from a new subscribed Maths scheme and it was an assessment lesson. I openly admit it was not a perfect lesson as Im not experienced enough to know every which way to improve on this subscribed lesson and I dont feel confident being allowed to jazz it up a bit within the school environment as a big emphasis has been on teaching the script as that appears to work. Also, I know of several teachers within the school who read directly from the script whereas I didnt ...I missed out a minor part of the lesson today and she frowned upon even though I had memorised as it were the whole kit and caboodle where as other more experienced teachers do not- and I was not given any credit for this.
    The fact remains I did try and improve the lesson but just not in the ways in which she wanted me to and I feel that her comments were unjust and unhelpful.
    This is not the first time that she has knocked my confidence... before the session she spoke to me and I already knew that she was going to give me unsatisfactory from her attitude towards me.
    The class I teach is a particularly unruly boy heavy class that one day something will work and the next something wont work its rather frustrating and even an experienced teacher who has taught them has struggled with them.
    I always thought a mentor was there to guide and advise and offer support where needed but I feel that I am constantly critised never really critiqued. Even after one of my observations last term where I got elements of good (I was observed by another teacher who used to be a mentor in a different school) she still put a huge damner on it.
    Also my grandfather died after being terminally ill for months and the only thing she said was that I needed to let her know if I was not in school so she didnt have to come in for a meeting. No concern no support no compassion at all.

    I apologise for this long winded rant but Its been a stressful and difficult day due to this. Any advice would be greatful. I feel I should raise the issue but feel I cant do it within the school system as it would make the whole thing more unbearable. But I do generally feel that my confidence has been knocked so greatly by this women.
     
  2. First, I'm really sorry to hear about your situation. I've seen this kind of thing several times in my short career, and been on the receiving end of it too. My advice would be to talk to someone at your union about it. Also, try and contact whoever is responsible for NQTs at your LA, and tell them the situation. Ultimately, your mentor is supposed to be helping you improve your teaching, and if they are not doing this then the NQT advisor needs to talk to them. I know how utterly horrible it can make you feel, so just do your best to stay strong, and try not to let one horrible person stop you from enjoying the career you have worked so hard for.
     
  3. Hi Bambi20,
    Sorry to hear about your situation. I am in a very similar situation to you. My mentor has observed me once fully and done a couple fo drop ins. I feel like she tells me off after an observation recounting all the negatives in the lesson rather than supporting me to improve. It does not help that i teach the same top set class as her and see them once a week. on giving me feedback once, she said she was surprised at the low level disruption from a couple of the students during the lesson.

    Also, she is a mentor to another NQT in the deoprtment and they get along really well. I do feel like she compares me to the other NQT and therefore when I ask her a question conceerning school she answers in a very weird manner as if to say 'you should knoow this or why can't you figure this out yourself or something'.

    On one of her drop ins, she called me into her room and said ''if that was an observation, it will have been a fail. You need to make sure that all the students are engaged at all times during the lesson'' and that was it.

    I feel i cannot speak to the induction tutor and the LA person because all the above are very close and they are going to tell each other again and make my life more difficult.
     
  4. A mentor should guide and help. Far too often teachers acting as mentors forget simple things - e.g. pointing out the good as well as the not so good. If, as a teacher you only pointed out what pupils did wrong you would be told thatit is not acceptable, yet this is what some mentorsdo.
    You need to attack the problem rather than the person.
    Try asking the mentor tobalance feedback with some positives so that you can see where good aspects of your teaching are evident and that you can then apply your experiences here to correcting issues lesewhere. Try subtly mentioning my point above, for example, if you get fully negative feedback - ask for any positive points to end the feedback. Ask if, for example thye mentor feels that you are giving good positivge praise and not simply pointing out problems with pupils.
    James
     
  5. spiderwomen

    spiderwomen New commenter

    It's amazing how people like this get away with it. She obviously has already made up her mind about your teaching ability, and rather than support you she hurls insults. I had a similar problem with my university mentor but she wasn't bullying me, but if I delivered a lesson less than outstanding she completely slated me. It completely stressed me out because her expectation was so high. It also damaged my self esteem, made me question the most simplest things and by the end of my course I didn't know what I was doing. Since then I've worked in a number of schools and never been criticized. I wish I had complained about her and done little more than nothing. If you are convinced the problem lies with her, then speak to someone. However, be warned as her influence may be strong and despite you flagging her incompetencies up, you may find there are more people ready to take her side, especially if she is respected amongst the staff and head teacher. Hope you find a solution and good luck with whatever decision you make.
     
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    I'm an expert on the subject!

    One thing that helped me was to do a bit of reading. I know it's time
    consuming but it is worth it. I've read Essential Teaching Skills by Chris
    Kyriacou and some other relevant books. By doing this I have created my own
    yard-stick to measure myself against as opposed to the whimsical misgivings of
    my very negative mentor. (Now long gone in a previous school).


    Do be very careful how you handle things however. SM have a tendency to back
    each other up especially in 'troubled' schools. Raise your concerns objectively
    and clearly without pointing the finger. Focus on the problem not the person.
    If it doesn't improve consider resigning. I did.








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  7. My apologies. Not sure what happened there. Hidden in the text is a message of encouragement. x
     

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