1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Deference to Line Manager

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by William_M, Oct 15, 2016.

  1. William_M

    William_M New commenter

    Just how much deference is a highly qualified and very experienced teacher supposed to give to their line manager / principal teacher. We are told all the time about 'pupil-centred' this and 'pupil voice' that - what about the teacher voice? Instructions from management are all very 'top down' - do this the way I say and when I say. They don't motivate through praise but through attempts at fear which don't work. What happened to creativity and autonomy? As soon as my line manager is under pressure he turns into a belligerent fool who listens to no one but his own puffed up ego. Sometimes it feels like I've gone back to the 1950s or been transported to North Korea. Help!
  2. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    I shouldn't "like" this but can relate. Not all managers behave in this way but as pressure builds so does their propensity to treat others with contempt and behave like an a*s it seems. Chin up.
    DIrectorStudies and William_M like this.
  3. William_M

    William_M New commenter

    Yes, chin up - but how about just saying 'this is unacceptable' and walk out of meetings?
    ldnsenco and DIrectorStudies like this.
  4. teselectronic

    teselectronic Occasional commenter

    Lack of Education?
  5. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    Lack of management skills?
  6. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    Guess that depends on how said manager is seen outside the department, if they have successfully utilised a system of smoke and mirrors the OP could come off worse.
    ldnsenco likes this.
  7. install

    install Star commenter

    You don't have to give any deference to anyone. But by the same token its best not to be as rude as they appear to be towards you.
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2016
    ldnsenco, William_M and needabreak like this.
  8. William_M

    William_M New commenter

    So, a line manager can advise you to try something, they can suggest you do something, they can strongly suggest you do something, they can ask you too do something. To what extent can they 'tell' you to do something 'in a certain way' and 'in a certain timeframe' if, as a professional, you already have a long list of planned activities, priorities and pressing demands of your own?
    ldnsenco likes this.
  9. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    Hmm this sounds a little different to your original assertion since we have to be aware that they are in fact your line manager, that is their role and some responses to requests can appear uncooperative. I would imagine that simply saying no is unacceptable, however justifying your reluctance is far more sensible e.g. I am afraid I won't be able to do "XYZ" by tomorrow after school's meeting since I have to complete "ABC" by "timescale", I could perhaps do "XYZ" by "Timescale" if "Provision" is available.

    We have to take responsibility for managing our time and gently remind our "team" that we do have other priorities and that there is only so much one can produce without additional input. That latter point is straight from an NCSL course, so they should be aware of it; it is well known to management in all fields but they may need a gentle reminder. I have found that negotiation is key and co-operation is key if you all share the same goals.
  10. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    You have to do as your line manager asks*. This is part of the job and not "deference". In the situation you describe, I would say the deference due is that you discuss your objections to his requests in private. Ultimately you can only hope to persuade him of his error.

    Unless, of course, the belligerence oversteps the bounds of professional behaviour, in which case you could complain to his line manager or the appropriate person in your school. But you need to remember that would be a complaint about his attitude not the tasks he had asked you to do/way he asked you to work.

    *Assuming it's something job related and within the realms of school policy. Obviously if your line manger asks for a snog in the stationery cupboard, it's a bit different.
    needabreak likes this.
  11. William_M

    William_M New commenter

    Last edited: Oct 16, 2016
  12. William_M

    William_M New commenter

    So, they can be aggressive in administering tasks and finger pointing but we've to be 'gentle' at all times?
  13. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    If he says jump, you say how high? That is my experience. I did once turn round to a HOD and say " actually, there would have to be something wrong with me to follow that instruction" - but it didn't end well!
  14. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    You should be professional at all times. Mirroring his belligerence only makes it seems like normal workplace behaviour which it absolutely shouldn't be.
  15. William_M

    William_M New commenter

    One can be stron
    One can be and assertive and forthright without being 'gentle' no?
  16. William_M

    William_M New commenter

    Could also apply to men, boys, girls and 'heaven's above' even teachers too?

    "I hope the strong women out there aren’t quiet and they don’t go away, because when people attack you for speaking, the best way to drive them nuts is to smile and carry on speaking - louder, more wisely, more intensely, more articulately than ever."

    - Neil Gaiman
  17. pennyh.

    pennyh. Occasional commenter

    The old phrase 'too many chiefs and not enough Indians" ( apologise if non PC phrase now) is the mess I think education is in. Every school has highly qualified experienced teachers being told what to do in a one size fits all format and 'deference' has also extended downwards from what used to be more the head and deputy. For every full timetable teacher actually in the classroom and therefore the one person really in the know. There are a lot of people in school and outside telling that one person what to do and criticising what they are doing and sometimes giving praise in a reluctant fashion. Not enough teachers are able to push back now-unless they want consequences. There used to be an OU module on professionalism and the 100 year debate on whether teachers were skilled workers rather than 'professionals' -it affected respect, pay and treatment from managers/gov etc. Actually the 1950s was probably better although not for women! I fear you have the grin and bear it and be quietly 'subversive' when you can, to keep your sanity!
    DIrectorStudies and William_M like this.
  18. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    Oh yes! In fact you should model an ideal of professional assertiveness to your line manager!
    DIrectorStudies and needabreak like this.
  19. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    That is not what I said.

    Furthermore you hadn't previously said your line manager was aggressive.
  20. MBulmer1983

    MBulmer1983 New commenter

    adjective: belligerent
    1. 1.
      hostile and aggressive.

Share This Page