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How would you handle this one?

Discussion in 'Headteachers' started by liberator, May 2, 2011.

  1. In the Easter holidays I sent a text to all staff in relation to something that was happening in school the first couple of days back (reason being , they'd need to bring something in, linked to the royal wedding.) A member of staff replied, thinking he/she was sending a txt to a colleague, referring to me as a *** but guess what..... they texted back to me by mistake...
    What would you do next ? a) confront them, if so just the one or both b) sit on it for a while c) Ignore it. d) other
    Is there any official channels I should or could follow. I realise as HT, I'm not going to be everyone's favourite but I have been very empathetic towards this member of staff up to now.
    Advice gratefullly received.
     
  2. In the Easter holidays I sent a text to all staff in relation to something that was happening in school the first couple of days back (reason being , they'd need to bring something in, linked to the royal wedding.) A member of staff replied, thinking he/she was sending a txt to a colleague, referring to me as a *** but guess what..... they texted back to me by mistake...
    What would you do next ? a) confront them, if so just the one or both b) sit on it for a while c) Ignore it. d) other
    Is there any official channels I should or could follow. I realise as HT, I'm not going to be everyone's favourite but I have been very empathetic towards this member of staff up to now.
    Advice gratefullly received.
     
  3. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    Are there any official channels? That depends on how hard you feel like hitting this person, professionally speaking; however, calling you a (whatever it was) to a colleague in what he thought was private isn't really a 'professional' offence.
    Personally, I'd smile, ask if he's got a minute, get him sitting in my office and then silently hand him the mobile with the message. Then sit back and let him squirm his way out of it.
    Nothing more would be appropriate, in my opinion.
     
  4. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    And thinking on it further, after he's apologised profusely (which he will), be charming and good humoured - you'll gain far more from the incident if you do.
     
  5. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    like it!
     
  6. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    I agree with the strategy suggested by Middlemarch.
    You have been handed a golden opportunity to address the professional development of a particular member of the staff (and, perhaps, not before time for this individual).
    Use it to take on the persona of Ming the Magnanimous rather than Ming the Merciless.
    Make sure, in an informal meeting with the member of staff, that they know that you know. Show then the message and make reference to future professional conduct. You may also want to ask them, as a professional, how they would have addressed the issue of incorporating the Royal Wedding into planning for the start of the third term and what means of communication they would have used.
    On a separate note, (and this is not a criticism), I avoid using text messages. The phones to which they are delivered are, presumably, the personal property of the members of staff and there may be views on privacy. You may wish to consider using email which is delivered to the staff laptops which belong to the school.
     
  7. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    I only use texts with staff permission. At the beginning of each year we update contact details and they have the option to tick the box which says " I do not wish to receive important information via text message" only one person ticked this.
    Last year when we had thigh deep snow and I closed the school, I phoned him and he didn't answer, he doesn't have email. He was the only person who didn't know that school was clused. He's now opted to receive texts.

    I do only use them in emergencies though. Staff at my school
    seem to prefer them as a means of communication. they often text me quick questions. I don't mind.
     
  8. Middlemarch (as usual) has the best response.
    I can only assume the reply was sent in a bit of haste by a teacher a bit irritated to be getting some kind of instructions on their day off. I also think that the actual word used to describe you may be important...if it was along the lines of 'a bit of a twit', or 'a blimmin slave driver!', it is very different to 'an absolute a*seh*le and total t*ss*r', or much worse a 'see you next tuesday'!
    Professionalism in my view is much less important than the possible betrayal of your personal relationship (and all staffrooms rely on personal relationships) especially as you say you have been a generous colleague in the past.
    I would be fascinated to see the meeting where you share the text, the Drama of it would be great!
     
  9. DaisysLot

    DaisysLot Senior commenter

    A colleague reacting like this surely isn't a shock? And after all, in the holidays for a non-emergency purpose does mean your message could be received by someone sinking their second bottle of wine.... such actions are allowed when not being paid. Any reasonable head teacher will be aware that the nature of the job should come with an awareness that be it by mobile or round a table in a pub on a Friday you will be the object of work related abuse- in the same way politicians are - The difference here is that you 'know' about it. If you go down the route of disciplining or attempting to make this colleague squirm, any good union official would cite out of hours harassment in their members defense.
     
  10. Forget it. It was a mistake that you received the text. Like overhearing something not intended for your ears. Take the line of 'what other people think of me is none of my business'. However, whenever any of us overhear something like this we all self-reflect. Maybe ask staff if texting them is ok. I like texting colleagues with thank you messages & happy birthday etc. And get the odd good joke half way through a boring heads meeting from time to time. It doesn't matter. Pick your battles carefully.
     
  11. DaisysLot

    DaisysLot Senior commenter

    It would have come as a bloody big surprise to me... I don't have a mobile phone! :p
     
  12. mrkeys

    mrkeys Occasional commenter

    That is not the point.
    HT has texted in the holidays something that should have been planned.
    A reply was sent that may have been sent by mistake suggesting HT was a ***.
    HT thinks it would be good to score points over this inciden.
    Several replies on this thread suggest leave well alone as may stir up more than was anticipated.
    Some replies suggest to go for it and enjoy watching a colleague squirm.
    INMHO drop the whole thing.

     
  13. I am not a head but I often receive texts from heads checking my availability for supply, for example. It is quicker than email and gets a quicker response as I always have my mobile on me. I don't see what the problem is with texting personally. I text colleagues and heads all the time. So much easier than phoning or emailing.
    Maybe the head had a really good idea after everyone had gone home and wanted to share it with his colleagues! I don't see what is wrong with that. You can always ignore a text until you're back at work if you wish.
     
  14. Fascinating. What did you do? The myriad responses to your post reveal so much about what CAN get people hot and bothered - different people, different opinions, different approaches. There isn't really a right or a wrong way - just your way with consideration about the best way of building positive relationships and moving forward. Let us all know ...
     
  15. Good for you. Much better to ignore it. If the colleague realises that they sent it to you, they will feel horribly embarrassed, and if they don't realise then it doesn't matter. Either way you retain your dignity in not confronting the person or being tempted to allude to it.
    Probably best not to text again in holidays! Chilled Rosé sounds great!!
     
  16. No-one seems to have thought of the fact that the staff member involved almost certainly realised that they sent it to the the wrong person as soon as they had done it (lets face it lots of us have been there!). In which case they have been squirming for a long time now anyway. It might be worth dropping the term into a self-referential comment at some point around that member of staff, with a wry smile of course, to see if they flinch or spit out their coffee. Otherwise I would rise above it and file it away in your internal fantasy revenge scenarios file. [​IMG]
     

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