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Informal Meeting with Headteacher

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

  1. thebookyouwish

    thebookyouwish New commenter

    I'm the biggest union advocate going - did not mean to suggest otherwise.

    Rather that sometimes teachers are afraid to get the union in as they are reliant on the school for future employment and that (sometimes ...maybe) some headteachers rely on this.

    Last edited: Nov 20, 2019
  2. install

    install Star commenter

    Your head sounds scared, angry and in a state of panic. You have another job to go to and you ain't coming back. It seems the head cannot blackmail you or have a hold over you.

    Phrases such as 'We have noticed a change in you since ...' or 'Where was that job again?' may appear more.

    My advice:

    Do tell your Union.- but don't tell head you have gone to Union.

    Do not mention the job again and don't tell them where it is or remind them.

    Smile inside - because you escaped what seems to be a bad head imho.
  3. lizziescat

    lizziescat Star commenter

    katelewis1008 likes this.
  4. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    DexterDexter likes this.
  5. wrldtrvlr123

    wrldtrvlr123 Occasional commenter

    Agree with much that has been posted already. Meetings about someone else's comments on your demeanor are generally a bad sign and reflect very poorly on leadership rather than you (unless you are running amok, threatening students/colleagues, etc.).

    They are generally either fabricated as a stick to beat you into submission with (e.g. a parent, never named, complained) or are based on random, possibly very limited comments by a colleague who hasn't seen the sun for years as THEIR head is firmly embedded THE head's posterior. Or they are of the, "Are you happy, here?" variety. All concrete enough to be intimidating but nebulous enough to not require anything as inconvenient as evidence, data, facts, etc. (especially ironic in that teachers are required to back up anything we say about students with reams of data).

    In any case, no more useful advice. As you said, keep your head down, play whatever game they want you to play and look for a better environment with more supportive, competent and human leadership.

    Hang in there and good luck!
  6. amysdad

    amysdad Established commenter

    @GreenTrees123 I think one of the problems here is a definition of what "informal" looks like.

    To me, the minute someone says "I would like an informal meeting with you" and then follows it up with "at 1pm in my office" it's no longer informal. An informal meeting is one which is meant to be friendly and supportive, does not necessarily have notes unless you want it to, and would happen in the teacher's classroom. The tone of the meeting should be more like a chat between colleagues rather than a dictat from above.

    As soon as an "informal" process is put in place, the very fact that a process is laid down makes it formal. If it were truly informal, it would last as long as needed and be designed to fit the teacher rather than HR.

    It comes back to what I've long believed - too many headteachers aren't cut out to be people managers. Just because you can write a curriculum or stand in front of 25 teenagers doesn't mean you have the instinctive soft skills needed to manage people.
    ms honey, Embem15, Daveh1981 and 3 others like this.
  7. venny414

    venny414 New commenter

    Forgive me, but this doesn't sound very 'informal' to me.

    Personally, I would at least speak to your union just to update them with the situation. They might be able to offer you some advice, they might not. But you don't have anything to lose.

    Of course, that all depends on what said morning routine actually consists of. If you spend it chatting to a colleague over a coffee criticising management every second of the day in earshot of others, then your Head's approach is fairly reasonable. But if you just 'go about things in a way the Head wouldn't' then I fail to see the problem.
  8. lizziescat

    lizziescat Star commenter

    Good point.

    (Chance passing in corridor eg at break and probably said in an offhand way) “oh , Lizzie, have you got a moment” = possibly informal**
    ( but it’s still happened and will be remembered)

    “Mrs Cat, there s something I need/like to discuss at some point . Would after school today be OK” = formal

    (By email) ‘Lizzie /Mrs Cat , could you make an appointment at a time that’s convenient to meet with me’ = formal

    “Mrs Cat I’ve schedule a meeting with you at 4pm tomorrow” = formal

    ** even then I was once caught on the way to a lesson by a DH asking - “can you just sign this memo about your suggestion yesterday”
    Good job I took it away to read (against DH wishes. ) It contained the opposite of what I’d said and in fact had me agreeing to something that hadn’t been mentioned .
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2019
  9. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    I think that this makes the point very well. The union can advise on what to say and do, and what the warning signs could be that mean they should get involved officially. It is probably true that when the union intervenes it does become more confrontational, but that doesn't mean they can't help earlier. Plus, of course, having a trusted person to talk to about the issue can be a big help in itself.
  10. QueenieBianca

    QueenieBianca New commenter

    That is so true of the narcissist HTs who lead by fear and not by respect.

    Red Flag! Glad you got out! :)
    lardylegs and Daveh1981 like this.
  11. phoebebananarama

    phoebebananarama New commenter

    My ex headteacher had a huge problem with me not smiling enough at my workplace. Sometimes they forget that we are human beings working in a highly stressful environment, and not employees at Disneyland. In the end he chose not to renew my contract because I apparently didn’t look happy doing my job, even though he repeatedly placed me with colleagues who are infamous for being difficult to work with. No complaints from any of my class parents (at least none I’ve been told of), just that I didn’t look happy.

    Don’t let any of this get to you, your school sounds as petty as the school I’ve mentioned. Just keep a cool head at all times and focus on your upcoming job. It might be easier said than done, but stay positive.
    lardylegs and agathamorse like this.
  12. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

    So basically they called you in to have a go at you for no discernable reason and have now given you targets. I hope you have established exactly in which area of your teaching these targets are going to help you improve, and that they are 'smart' targets (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely), and not just some woolly faff they can say you didn't meet. If they are not, then go back and ask for ones that are!

    "My ex headteacher had a huge problem with me not smiling enough at my workplace."
    I got told off for not smiling enough in my work place. I told the HR woman it wasn't my fault and that I'd inherited my mother's resting b!tch face. And then I got a t-shirt made up with "This is my happy face" on it, and now I wear it to every possible training day... just to remind them... the difference is that I don't care what they think and would have no problem in either involving my union, or just walking. I would rather stack shelves than put up with toxic employers now.
  13. GreenTrees123

    GreenTrees123 Occasional commenter

    I'm a headteacher and I find it very difficult to believe that any headteacher would not renew someone's contract due to 'not smiling enough'. What is more likely to have happened is that the HT felt you weren't a good fit for the culture the school is trying to inculcate.

    We expect all staff at my place to be enthusiastic, inspirational and to perform their role throughout the day. Smiling is not compulsory, but it is easy to see how a teacher who never smiles could be perceived by pupils and colleagues as aloof and unapproachable.

    Children need to feel able to speak to staff, whether it be about homework issues or safeguarding. It is also not conducive to the culture we are trying to develop to have a teacher who never smiles in front of a class.
  14. meggyd

    meggyd Lead commenter

    Is this the school where Calf123 is employed? Sounds so familiar.
  15. letap

    letap Occasional commenter

    I am assuming that you keep telling us you are a headteacher on this thread so as to not to be mistaken for an unfunny trolling sociopath.
  16. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I think Calf123 was a deputy...imagine him and GreenTrees123 as your SLT! :confused:
    agathamorse, Morgelyn and meggyd like this.
  17. Bedlam3

    Bedlam3 Star commenter

    We know and we are very impressed so please don't feel you have to keep repeating yourself.
  18. Morgelyn

    Morgelyn New commenter

    Or has Calf123 been promoted? Has Calf123 morphed into GreenTree123?
  19. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    With the 123 being a subtle clue. Wish there were an "aaaaaaargh" button!
    Morgelyn, agathamorse and Bedlam3 like this.
  20. keyboard2

    keyboard2 Established commenter

    I've been summoned for so called informal chats. Key thing to remember: there is no such thing. An informal chat might take place with your head of department, head of year, etc. but rarely with the actual headteacher of the school. Heads are too busy doing pointless stuff to call teachers to their office for random, informal chats.

    A couple of observations:

    1. I always - always - recommend recording these meeting. Do it on your phone, face it down/put it in its holder and leave it on the table. You do not need permission to record a meeting. It can prove very useful in subsequent discussion should they arrive.

    2. The "speak to your union" advice is good but, sadly, unions are almost an irrelevance when it comes to modern schools. They hold little sway. Unions, in my experience, are good for emotional support and making sure things are done by the book. They rarely, in my experience, bring about change and often acquiesce to management decisions.
    annascience2012 likes this.

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