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Bullying accusation

Discussion in 'Headteachers' started by titan, Feb 5, 2012.

  1. Evening,
    On Wednesday I have an interim PM review of a teacher on UPS2. I have met with her several times this year as all of the school monitoring points to lacks of progress, inappropriate use of TA, poor marking etc. I have discussed this with the teacher and collected in books, planning etc. to monitor. Things are still not very good and I still have major concerns, but I heard from a colleague at another school that the teacher in question feels that she is being 'bullied out'. High expectations yes, but bullying...NO! My question is, how do I bring this up in the PM review? Thoughts appreciated.
     
  2. I wouldn't directly address this if I were you..
    Instead, I would reiterate - usin the word, how you are SUPPORTING the teacher, ensure that it is supportive - give suggestions that are meaningful to allow her to improve, ensuring that the targets and steps are SMART. It may mean accepting that the targets set are now unachievable, but by perhaps giving a renewed target(s) that is still challenging but not insurmountable, again with how you could support her and make sure anything stated is done/provided...

     
  3. Thank you.
    I think you are right in your approach, it just irks me that I know she is saying these things but cannot challenge her. But I will take your approach. :)
    Thanks.
     
  4. I would ask her directly how she is feeling. She may have something in her personal life that is seriously affecting her performance. Your source may be reliable but I always think unless Ive heard it directly from a person it she be ignored. Then allow her time to complete one issue at a time because if she's not coping, trying to improve in numerous areas at once is almost impossible.
     
  5. jellandy

    jellandy New commenter

    Make sure everything is documented - and signed by yourself and the teacher. That's a natural part of the PM process and if things do not improve you have the evidence to go to the next stage.. If the teacher does feel that she is being bullied there are then avenues available to her to take things further.. That way. all bases covered.
     
  6. Advice is good: don't mention bullying or she might think that you think you are bullying her. Really you need to get to the bottom of the reason for the poor performance.
     
  7. Not challenging her to meet realistic performance targets is a little unfair on all the other staff who are working to meet their targets. Even the most militant union rep will agree that children should make progress and that that progress should be measured - it is after all every teacher and Headteachers' job! I agree that everything should be framed in terms of the support on offer, but this is not an NQT. This is a UPS teach who signed up for the threshold standards when the took the extra pay. It is entirely reasonable to expect them to meet the threshold standards. If they are struggling, well, that happens to us all at some time or another, but they therefore must accept immediate help to get things back on track. To ignore the issue may well be easier but won't make anything better in the long run. As for the bullying accusation, obviously you can't mention or acknowledge this as it was a private remark. However, if you are fair, reasonable, transparent and honest in how you discuss things this really shouldn't be a problem. I'd also run the targets past your union rep to check that what you are asking is reasonable, which I'm sure it is.
     
  8. Gardening Leaves

    Gardening Leaves New commenter

    As one of the more vocal posters about bullying in these forums, may I say how much I sympathise with your situation? Robust leadership is not automatically bullying, providing it can be seen that you are not victimising her but have the same expectations of all your staff. The fact that you are posting on here, concerned for the impact on this woman, almost certainly means you are not a bully. Sometimes people just are not up to the job and need to be challenged.
     
  9. I totally agree.
    Good leadership is so often over-looked by a struggling teacher that threatens actions against the leaders, rather than acknowledge the areas they are struggling with and the support on offer. It is sad, that sometimes if as much effort was put into working on the areas identified rather than focussing on trying to improve their performance.
     
  10. It is hard for Teachers to suddenly face performance questions and they are often genuinely unaware that what they do/ have been doing for years unchallenged is not helping children progress. Sometimes teachers get tangled up with thinking that as long as the children are quiet, getting on with something and behaving ok that this means they in turn are doing ok. If a teacher was not monitored or given good feedback in the past, suddenly having to face classroom issues is hard to deal with emotionally. Children only have one chance so dealing with poor performance has to be done sensitively but also with some determination. Making them a cup of tea, helping with a display, offering to teach alongside or teaching their class with them watching can help a teacher change. The arrogant and defensive are hard to help but others who want to, can change.
     
  11. Totally agree, but as you said it most deifnitely does depend upon the teacher being professional and not...
     
  12. In my view this is tricky. In nearly every school of my experience there is at least one teacher who has sacrificed any personal and family life, and is prepared to work 18 hours a day on school stuff, and is never actually and mentally off duty. These teachers inevitably tick every positive box in terms of performance management, ofsted expectations, and usually with regard to student progress...good for them if that is the life they choose.
    Headteachers who have such a member of staff can easily assume/expect every member of staff to be the same, and feel somebody is a poor teacher if they aren't.
    If you want to ensure you are not bullying, and indeed described as supporting, then I'm afraid your initial point of call may be to relate everything to every dot and comma of teachers contractual obligations, and to very reasonable assumptions regarding work/life balance.
    There is a danger that the offer of support that does not take into account the contractual limitations is not an offer of support at all, but rather a token degree of help that leads the teacher to having to do the impossible for them, and the ideal for the institution.
    In my view a wise leader tries to help staff to play to their strengths rather than exposes their weaknesses.
     
  13. Very true, however, leaders have to ensure that their weaknesses, if basic requirements, need to also be met and provision made to at least do the basics...sadly this is when many problems do occur ....
     
  14. Quite, but it is the use of 'etc' in titans original post that I think may be a cause for concern.
     

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