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Dealing with an interesting colleague

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by shaz2009, Mar 27, 2016.

  1. shaz2009

    shaz2009 New commenter

    HI All,

    Need some advice on a incident with a odd colleague within the department. I started in a new school in September and she has been there for the last two years. Recently the school has had to make some cut backs and Ive been promoted since November as the second.

    Within the second week of starting the school,she started criticising the hod to me and every conversation has to be literally about her or what she does. She is unqualified and does struggle with the subject. And the hod and myself knew that shes untrustworthy as I have told the hod everything that she has said about him and the hod tells me exactly what she is like me.

    I will try and be vague but basically she accused me of being sexiest? She was being negative about the students in her classroom and how especially the girls do not still understand the theory, I said without thinking “I am not being sexitest but the girls will not get this type of topic first time and you need to cover it a few times.” in front of the students she started accusing me of being sexiest. I realised she took it seriously once she told me to get out of her room, being me I laughed it off and went to the hod to tell him that this is what happened and he didn't think much of it as she is known to be awkward, as he has had all sorts disagreements with her over the years. However afterwards the hod spoke to me and said shes going crazy over what ive said and advised me to not to say anything like that in front of her as it may be the case that she sees me as competition for the promotional role or because of her personality she might have thought I meant her but assured me to not even think and let It go as she might be in one of her funny moods.

    My plan is when i go back to act normal and minimise my conversation towards her.
  2. Landofla

    Landofla Established commenter

    Are you sexiest? Where can I find the sexitest?
  3. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    I think that's a good plan. Act as if it had never happened.
    wanet likes this.
  4. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Sounds more as if you and the hod gossip about this poor colleague. We all have a bit of a moan about our hod from tome to time, most of us would be appalled if a new colleague immediately went and told the hod what had been said.

    It also isn't good leadership to gossip to one of the department about another. Your hod should be putting a stop to you talking negatively about your colleague and to her speaking negatively about you, not joining in and passing on what has been said.

    Glad I don't work in your department.
  5. sabrinakat

    sabrinakat Star commenter

    I found your post very disturbing. You are very dismissive (she is unqualified and does struggle with the subject), you sit and chat about her to your HOD and then made a snarky comment, think it's funny and run off to your HOD, who comments about her and he's dealt with 'over the years' (though she's been there for two years). You sound very unprofessional as was your 'unthinking' comnent.

    Instead of helping her, both you and your HOD chat about her - that's bullying. I think you should get off your patronising, dismissive pedestal and apologise to her. If she's feeling insecure and unhappy, you are making it worse. Shame!

    PS. Yes, it WAS sexist.
    pps. I was 'unqualified' when I returned to secondary teaching, with Oxford and a PhD - if she 'struggles', the decent thing might be to help, especially, if you are now 'second' in department. Disgraceful.
  6. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    I wish that somebody would call me sexiest. Or even sexy!
    rachelpaula008 and CWadd like this.
  7. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    Interesting colleague? More like interesting department from the sound of it!

    Unless you were texting and had Autocorrect on, it disturbs me that you can't spell a simple word like sexist!

    To be absolutely honest, I think saying out loud that 'you need to cover this a few times with girls' in front of a class is unprofessional and , indeed, sexist, even if there is an element of truth in it (say she was covering some horrid Physics topic.) The poor girls in the class would find this sexist and somewhat discouraging. Imagine if you had said 'You need to cover this a few times with Afro Caribbean students' - there would rightly be absolute uproar! If my assumption that you said this in front of kids is incorrect, even then, you must be careful as things can easily be taken out of context.

    As the second and the HoD, surely you have a duty in those roles to support an unqualified colleague, not b1tch about them! Your colleague may still b1tch, but the best thing would be to not listen (and indeed be more careful about what you say.)
    Dragonlady30, wanet and CWadd like this.
  8. shaz2009

    shaz2009 New commenter

    Thank you for the helpful advice Flere-lmsaho and scienceteacher . I will go back and put a stop to any bad habits and make sure and stay out of any negativity or gossip.
  9. sabrinakat

    sabrinakat Star commenter

    I would apologise as well. That would be very helpful .....
  10. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    Nice to know you think girls are cognitively slower than boys, and you think you may be sexist.

    Trip trap trip trap...
  11. jlmorgan100

    jlmorgan100 New commenter

    Oh dear some people mistakenly put the clock backwards last night, rather than forward. And back about 60 years..
  12. shaz2009

    shaz2009 New commenter

    Kat I'm sure you have loads of marking to complete, best to get it started !!!
  13. sabrinakat

    sabrinakat Star commenter

    If you're referring to me, nope, no marking to do - I get enough PPA to do marking in school, I don't spend it gossiping with my HOD, belittling my colleagues and being insulting to women. Even Cambridge let the ladies get degrees by 1947 (Oxford by 1920).

    On a serious note, I feel really sorry for your colleague if you honestly think your behaviour is acceptable - your comment was not just sexist but potentially evidence for a claim for bullying and WRS - I doubt she is having such a great holiday knowing that her 'second' treats her this way, and she probably realises that she can get no help from her HOD either. I'm angry because you think it's 'funny' - that's why people are upset.

    If you are for real, then grow up.

    If you are a troll, not nice.

    Ps. I went through the AO route as I had a supportive, lovely HOD in two schools.
  14. dumpty

    dumpty Star commenter

    Am curious - what was it both she and you felt the girls would not or could not get?
    wanet likes this.
  15. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    Returning to the original topic, I think that there may be a real issue here, and you need to think about how to respond if your colleague moans about your HoD. I would be interested to know what you have done in the past. Answering her complaints carefully, defending your HoD and helping her with her 'struggles', rather than repeating what she says to your HoD, would be much more constructive. So would some advice about how to make a difficult topic clearer to any student who doesn't get it first time. Like @dumpty I would love to know what this topic is!

    As Second in Department, it would be wrong of you to minimise your conversation with this colleague. Your role should include supporting members of your department, not avoiding them.
  16. Caligraphy

    Caligraphy Occasional commenter

    Lets assume this poster is for real, bless them, I'm going to gloss over most of the post focus and on the bit where you say
    One, you should never speak without thinking when having a conversation like this in front of a class. Unprofessional and unacceptable. Two, of course you are a sexist, how DARE you comment in a 21st century classroom that girls are not as good as boys! I am sure many women on this forum were educated and have worked in times when this type of casual discrimination was the norm, Well it isn't now. It's typical of people who start a conversation with 'I'm not racist but'...then proceeded to be a racist. Never mind being angry, I'd have the Equal Opportunities Policy printed off, booked an appointment with the headteacher with my union rep, and if possible, had your back side kicked out of the school for a comment like that.
  17. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    sabrinakat likes this.
  18. sabrinakat

    sabrinakat Star commenter

  19. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    Interesting how everyone is odd, struggling, useless or gutless to the OP.

    Still think this is serial trolling.

    If it's not, I'm not sure any advice cam be given, as you seem so determined not to see where you might be going wrong.
  20. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    I'm reminded of some ludicrous posts we had quite some years ago and involving someone called 'Big S' (the S apparently stood for Sharon). Turned out to be trollfoolery.
    CWadd likes this.

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