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Escalating and logging...

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by mistermanager, Feb 5, 2016.

  1. mistermanager

    mistermanager New commenter

    I am in charge of a department. A teacher in my department has of late been displaying strange and irrational behaviours and also taken several periods of sickness off work. They have recently been teaching a class of 12-13 year olds and had to be removed from the class by HR staff due to her having an apparent breakdown in front of the class. It is within my knowledge that they have a number of personal and somewhat complex issues surrounding both herself and her family.

    In addition they have been both rude and abrupt to myself and my line manager and frequently refuses to speak to me at all. To that end, I have documented all such instances and passed these to my line manager. As a consequence, the HR manager has become involved and spoken with this teacher regarding the matter. It is within my knowledge that the HR manager has informed the teacher of everything that I have said, thus aggravating both the issue and the teacher. I am also aware that the HR manager having spoken to the teacher subsequently told the Deputy Head that there was nothing wrong with her and that they are fit to teach (surely they are not qualified to do this?). The teacher has subsequently made a formal complaint to the Deputy Head about me, my line manager and the HR manager.

    I am concerned that the DH is disinterested in my point of view and has criticised my management style despite my repeated stance that I was demonstrating a duty of care to the teacher, rather than being intent on having her disciplined. The DH is also heavily critical of my log keeping and is intent on chairing a meeting with both myself, the line manager, HR manager and the complainant teacher present and rather disturbingly without having undertaken any form of investigation whatsoever. I think it inappropriate to have the complainant present at the meeting.

    I have endeavoured to have this proposed meeting cancelled or at least deferred in order that a proper investigation takes place without any success. It is evident that my position is being seriously undermined by members of SLT and the teacher who I first raised concerns about.

    My main questions arising from this are as follows;

    1) Surely my initial concern should be investigated further?

    2) Surely the DH should have listened to my concerns and evidence, as well as supporting me fully?

    3) Is the suggested meeting appropriate? (no agenda has been forwarded and surely the complainant should not be present?)

    4) The HR manager is not qualiied to make medical judgements... Should this have been investigated further?

    5) I have followed the correct protocol in escalating my concerns, yet the DH seems to think otherwise and that it is a departmental issue and that I should never keep a 'log' of events for my records,,, surely this is wrong?

    6) When I first saw the DH, she was very rude to me and stated that she 'pays her managers to manage'... Inappropriate surely!?

    Thank you
     
  2. emilystrange

    emilystrange Star commenter

    Union... and make sure you have copies of the policies to refer to.
    make notes of everything that happens in the meeting. record it under the table if you have to.
    raise all these questions too.
     
  3. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    It seems that essentially there is a breakdown of the relationship between yourself and this teacher.

    It is a difficult situation as from what you have said your DH is not supporting you.

    It is an awkward one too as you want to 'help' your colleague but the implication that there is a problem may be exacerbating their behaviour.

    While the teacher having a breakdown and being 'removed' from a class is not career/post ending behaviour, it is serious enough surely to place the teacher on 'unofficial' monitoring at least for their own well being and ultimately the safety of the pupils in their care.

    While a log of events can be very useful as evidence, there is a danger that it will make the teacher paranoid that every little thing they do wrong will get written down. In your position, I would still keep a log but just for own benefit, without informing anyone else what you are doing. Then, if things get serious and you believe the health and safety of either the teacher or the pupils or both is at unacceptable risk, you can present it.
     
  4. mistermanager

    mistermanager New commenter

    Thanks for this reply Scienceteach.... It really is a sensitive and complex scenario as I feel 'the finger of blame' is being twisted and pointed at me for some reason!

    The teacher has stated she is fine to HR, yet I still have major reservations... There has also been no unofficial monitoring following her removal from the lesson, which I find odd and unacceptable. In fact, I only found out that she had been removed about four hours after the event, and only by seeking out HR and asking what had happened.

    I agree with your comments re: a log... The one I have been keeping is absolutely for my own benefit! :) I was hoping to just let time 'heal' this, but this further meeting next week is likely to exacerbate the issues once again, therefore I believe it shouldn't be happening!
     
  5. davidbowiefan

    davidbowiefan Established commenter

    This is a disturbing thread.

    I assume you aren't qualified to diagnose mental health problems and yet you are spreading this accusation to your management and HR. Your behaviour could well constitute workplace bullying. One apparent breakdown in front of a class does not mean the teacher has a mental health problem and nor does a challenging personal life. If you have privileged information about her life outside school, you should not be passing it on to others or using it to make a 'diagnosis'. Seen from outside, this looks like a personality clash (it isn't an offence for her to be abrupt with you and in the circumstances it may well be understandable) and your behaviour looks malicious. Keeping a log of this teacher's behaviour and suggesting she should be monitored are extraordinary things to do. It provides your accuser with firm evidence that she is being targeted by you.

    You say that you want your initial concern to be investigated. What do you want to be investigated and who will investigate it? The only way for an adult who genuinely does have mental health issues to be treated against their will, or to be removed from the workplace, is for them to be sectioned. In order for this to happen, three members of a mental health team would have to agree that she is a danger to herself or others. But you think this teacher needs an assessment based on one episode at which you weren't present, and your perception that she is rude and abrupt???

    You clearly have no understanding of mental health issues and your accusations against this teacher are advertising your own very evident prejudices. Instead of targeting this teacher, your time might be better spent informing yourself.

    A meeting with the teacher present is an opportunity to clear the air and I am very glad indeed to hear the head is taking this course of action. Either you make your 'diagnosis' public or you let your malicious gossip die. It can't have been easy for the teacher to address your behaviour head-on and I hope she gets a resolution.
     
  6. Resolve

    Resolve New commenter

    What is the role of the head in all this? I find it strange that HR would discuss anything of this with anyone other than the head.
     
  7. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I'm a little unsure what your concern is. Being rude to you could be seen as having a bad day, or a disciplinary incident, depending on the severity. Logging it and passing it to your line manager does give the appearance of trying to get the teacher into trouble, either a bit of a talking to or a disciplinary.

    When you use phrases such as 'it is within my knowledge that...' it immediately makes me think that you have head it on the grapevine, not that the teacher concerned has told you. She also didn't tell you about an incident in her classroom, and, especially knowing there were already issues between you, HR had no business telling you either

    The DH does not have to support you if they believe you to be in the wrong.

    A meeting for you all to have a discussion, without the chinese whispers of you speaking to your line manager and HR about a member of your department seems to be a good idea.

    If all you have written is accurate and I was that teacher, I'd have made a complaint as well. I'm sorry but there it is.
     
    davidbowiefan and silverfell85 like this.
  8. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    Me too.
    Mistermanager, I notice that you are one of those people who resort to Police Statement English when under stress.

    Good luck to all of you.
     
  9. mistermanager

    mistermanager New commenter

     
    silverfell85 likes this.
  10. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    I think I'd be speaking to my union, before this meeting happens...


    And I might ensure I recorded, surreptitiously if necessary, the meeting.
     
  11. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    In an ideal school what would you like to happen now?
     
  12. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    .

    And in an actual school, what actually is possible now?

    What steps can YOU take to ensure:

    • Safety of pupils
    • Learning

    Which must be the two essentials.

    Best wishes

    .
     
  13. mistermanager

    mistermanager New commenter

    I speak Police Statement English as a matter of course as it happens :)
     
  14. mistermanager

    mistermanager New commenter

     
  15. mistermanager

    mistermanager New commenter




    Thanks for your detailed response... You are somewhat jumping to conclusions I feel as I simply met with my line manager and asked for their advice, which is important as a duty of care and in terms of what has happened previously. In fact there are issues dating back for ten years.

    I have neither mentioned any mental health issues, nor have I made any diagnosis... There are no accusations whatsoever from myself, I have simpy asked my line manager for advice, and this line manager has escalated this to the DH and HR out of my control. I have a duty of care over this teacher therefore it is vital that I asked for advice and raised it with my line manager so I disagree with what you are saying. You have misread my initial post! I don't really understand what 'behaviour' you are relating to when you state that 'It can't have been easy for the teacher to address your behaviour'. I have simply fulfilled my role and it would have been wrong of me not to say anything :) This is not malicious gossip and I find your post somewhat rude and full of assumptions.
     
  16. mistermanager

    mistermanager New commenter


    Thanks for your reply but not quite sure what your point is! :)
     
  17. mistermanager

    mistermanager New commenter

    I think this has been escalated out of my control - my line manager escalated this to HR and the DH when I was only asking them for advice! :)
     
  18. mistermanager

    mistermanager New commenter

     
  19. mistermanager

    mistermanager New commenter

    Thanks Theo... And that is exactly why I raised this with my line manager to get advice... It is all about my duty of care to both staff and students
     
  20. mistermanager

    mistermanager New commenter


    I know I have messaged already, but I cannot stress enough how wrong you are. You are making up your own story to fit this situation. Nearly every sentence you have typed is based on a made up fact or an assumption. Too many to correct! It is nothing to do with a personality clash, and this teacher has been very rude with me before I even mentioned this to my line manager (as any good leader has an obligation to do). I do appreciate the depth of your message and the time it must have taken you to compose it though.
     

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