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Informal Meeting with Headteacher

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by TalkingTeacher92252, Nov 17, 2019.

  1. TalkingTeacher92252

    TalkingTeacher92252 New commenter

    Hello everyone this is my first time posting in here but I have a bit of a dilemma and a concern. This has been on my mind ever since I got the email. Basically my Head Teacher has emailed myself stating that she wants to have a meeting with myself and my Deputy Headteacher (my Line Manager) as she is ‘concerned about my routines and preparations for the day’. I did email back asking if this was an informal meeting and she responded ‘it’s informal’ and she said that she wants to chat about my routines and aspects of my general demeanour. She also went on to say that my general demeanour had been complained about by some colleagues. I have never heard anything about this before and it is a first to me. I was just wondering if anyone could give me some advice? I’ve rang my union and they talked about the prospect of going on informal capability - I am worried sick about this as I am due to start a new job in September. I can’t help thinking that this has come about after myself telling my head that I have a new job in September. Any advice and help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance!
  2. evehi

    evehi New commenter

    Im having similar issues, and I think its bullying.
    In many cases Head Teachers have personality traits of being controlling, competitive, over cautious etc and this is why they got that post... but the over cautiousness and disciplinarian in them makes them look for issues that are not there.

    In my case acting outraged just made things worse, so maybe its best to try and not let it get under your skin, and then they might move on to pick on someone else
    tonymars likes this.
  3. Skeoch

    Skeoch Star commenter

    Somebody has been upset by you. Probably not your fault. You are unaware of this, you say. Then all that's needed is a chat to explain what the issue is and then for you to decide how to resolve it, perhaps with help.
    As to your departure, teachers leave every year and new ones are appointed. It's not a surprise to any HT, although losing the best teacher in the school always leads to worries about getting a matching replacement. HTs will focus on future developments, and on keeping the team together.
  4. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    Congratulations on finding another job for September.

    Sounds like a great school to be leaving.
  5. Weald56

    Weald56 Established commenter

    I would take this meeting seriously - come with a notepad and take notes; ask for specifics - if the HT says someone has said something about you, ask them to repeat it (whatever they say) and write it down; ask for clarifications (and evidence, if appropriate). Tell the HT you are: a) surprised b this & b) determined to take on board anything significant (whether you do think this or not). Act outraged. If you can get the name of the person(or persons) who have complained - they may, of course, not exist.

    Have a note of what you normally do when you arrive every day, with times, and examples from the recent past AND insist on reading this out (maybe have a copy prepared to give to the HT).

    If the meeting doesn't go well, I would consider getting in touch with your new school and telling them that you believe that handing in your resignation has led to problems at your current school and you think it possible that they may be told things about you with the intention of damaging your reputation. This might help stop them taking such messages too seriously.
  6. bigfatgit

    bigfatgit Occasional commenter

    Be very careful

    If it was "informal" it would have been, "Oh, good morning. Can I have a quick word?" type of conversation, surely? Not an email and including the DH as well.

    And was the email sent just before the start of the weekend?

    Sounds like you're doing the right thing with leaving for another job
  7. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    Yes - they have obviously decided to punish you for getting out.

    If you are going to that meeting you probably need to take someone with you.

    Good luck - the next few months are going to be hard.

    Remember - you will be out of there next year.
  8. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    Do you sing football chants loudly in the corridor on you way up to the classroom?

    Do you elbow your way to the front of the queue for the kettle?

    Do you drape yourself suggestively over the photocopier when other staff are trying to use it?

    I find it hard to believe you are doing anything seriously wrong in the way you prepare for the day without being aware of it.
  9. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Wise to be cautious. An 'informal meeting' is rarely simply that. In fact the word 'informal meeting' are the words for first stage in any dispute, so yes keep Union informed and take a 'critical friend' with you. After all the Head has invited the DH, presumably in a similar role.

    ROSIEGIRL Lead commenter

    There are several possibilities here - as outlined above.

    General advice would be to go, listen and say very little.

    If you feel it is moving towards anything more formal or unreasonable, your stock response should be something like "I'd like to get advice from my union", before you agree to anything.

    Fingers crossed it's something and nothing.
  11. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    Yes, please don't misunderstand me.
    Definitey take it very seriously and be prepared, along the lines that @ROSIEGIRL has suggested. My point was that it is such a weird thing to be pulled up on that it is likely very much to be them, not you.
  12. mothorchid

    mothorchid Star commenter

    I would be suspicious too.
    At best, someone has made petty complaints about you, which she is addressing in an unnecessarily officious way. At worst, you're in trouble, though as you're leaving in a while, I'd be a little surprised if they went for formal capability. It's a faff for them and you're going anyway.
    The likelihood is probably somewhere in between. That's not going to be much fun, so keep tight hold of the idea that you're leaving soon.
    Take your union rep with you "I've asked Ms Rep to come just to listen and be another pair of ears for me." Just listen. Don't respond ("I see." or "Interesting comment." is fine.) Then leave.
    I hope it goes OK.
    Take care.
  13. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Star commenter

    Considering performance reviews should have just been done, I am surprised that this was not brought up then. Was there any reason you've told them you are starting a new job in September so far in advance?
  14. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    The HT sounds annoyed, either because you're leaving and she resents it, or because you didn't tell her when in the process of applying...or there are a couple of people who have an axe to grind.

    Take it seriously. If they try and force you to anything, tell them you'll be back with your Rep. I suspect that this is nothing to do with you.
  15. catbefriender

    catbefriender Lead commenter

    Just out of interest, is it a Friday night panic email or a Monday morning panic email?

    There is no way any normal human being would read nonsense like that and not be alarmed. I am so fed up with these ridiculous individuals that find their ways to be 'managers' of people when all they effectively 'manage' to do is drive everyone up the wall.:mad:
  16. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    What's going on? This is dreadful.
    There are several such posts currently. All the same theme. Teacher hands in notice far in advance of leaving, and is then targeted for some sort improvement.
    The common thing to all of these posts (there are 3) is that HT is able to use performance procedures to force teacher to leave earlier. Knowing they will leave anyway, why not push a bit.
    Because those with something already lined up are not going to sweat so much about going.
    That's my take.

    In this particular case I get a sick feeling at the pit of my stomach. Because this is so multi pronged-how you prepare for the day? Your demeanour? What others say? Heck, let's throw everything at you, and get your line manager onside too, for what consolidates a line managers monitoring position more than being invited to a cosy meeting in order to help the Head Teacher?

    If others have talked about your "demeanour" then any normal person either doesn't mention it, or asks you if you are alright.
    Monsters. Because you are left feeling so bad that you need to turn to a bunch of strangers rather than knock on their office door and talk to them. Like a human..
    This is by design.
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2019
  17. GreenTrees123

    GreenTrees123 Occasional commenter

    I'm a secondary headteacher and this meeting could be for any number of reasons. I'll often call an 'informal meeting' with a staff member if I just want to quietly clear up some questions I have or if an issue has been raised by colleagues.

    It's much better to resolve these issues informally if possible, and if nothing else, it gives me an idea of whether the staff member in question is open to a constructive outcome, or whether it's likely to be a case of escalation (likely ending in the staff member moving to another organisation or position).
  18. meggyd

    meggyd Lead commenter

    Why would you need the deputy with you? As a witness? Then the teacher also needs someone. And what would you clear up? A complaint from a parent? Surely you would delegate that sort of thing to a Hod. And what a waste of time to hound a teacher who is leaving. Wouldn't time be better spent finding the replacement?
  19. davidmu

    davidmu Occasional commenter

    I am sure that GreenTrees123 intended to be helpful but meggyd's point is very important. A casual chat would not need a DH to be there.
  20. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    Do you not see how this reads like an ultimatum?
    Do you not see how there is such limited scope in what you say for a staff member to become fully aware of how you arrived at that position "these issues" in the first place? Or indeed to have their say in it?

    You state you are a Head Teacher. That does not make you immune to treating staff badly. I don't mean necessarily on purpose. But your starting point is already that there is an issue here.
    Yet OP has never had any issues, never been aware of any issues,and only when they state they are leaving are supposed issues made apparent to them.Surely this is the time when "issues" are of far less consequence. Why would you invest in time wresting so called "improvements" for the benefit of another school,and when you will also have to invest time training up another member of staff to fill their shoes.
    Why have these so called issues come to light now? "Routines" are by definition established traits. So why not confront them when they are becoming established?
    Pivotally-Why call a two to one meeting and call it informal?

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