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Is this bullying.

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by deeljay, Jul 23, 2011.

  1. Where to start, I have been at the school for many years, my head of department does not like me, I know because he has said so to pupils and we have had many issues over the years, if he is in my room he looks in my desk drawers or reads my classbooks then calls me in to "discuss" them. I walk into my room and he has left memo's on the desk reminding me where i am going wrong. My union have been into school 3 times regarding this person, i have also had time off due to just not being able to face work. occy heath were involved and stated that they felt my work conditions were unfair. When i returned to work one of the conditions were he was not to approach me but within a week that went ignored. SMT held a meeting where i was told that i had lost top sets due to the sickness and i needed to work on building up my confidence again.
    3 weeks ago he reported me after talking to me and i am under investigation.He had told me off in a meeting but i was not aware it was a meeting, it was he and the 2nd in dep who is his sidekick. I was devestated but stood my ground and am waiting to see if that goes further. I was then called into the ht office the day we broke up, 10 mins before the bell went to say i have been reported again for something that i have no idea about, They will not tell me and did not even tell the union. The union are now putting a full time officer on this as they and i feel I am being made to be the worst teacher in the world which i am not.
    I have lost all love of this job and actually feel like just walking away but my family and dr tell me not to, that i have worked to hard for this career. I am a single parent and need this job but am trying so hard to not let it ruin the quality time i have with my child in these 6 weeks. Are all schools like this, i have been worn down to the point where i actually feel a worthless human being.
    What do i do?
  2. Yes of course it is bullying, and no, not all schools are like this, altough bullying is quite common. Many of us have been treated badly in the past, (not always to this extent) but have oved on and grown to love the job again, somewhere else..
    Don't brood, Let the union worry about it for now.Enjoy the summer. Once autumn is here, then fight your corner with your union's support ,and/or start looking around to see what other vacancies are available. Don't leave unless you have a better job secure.
    You mustn't feel alone, this happens, and people do get over it, in the long run.
  3. Thanks for replying. I agree with all you say and seeing it in print, i know what it is, but it is soul destroying when it happens to you all because someone dislikes you. I just hope I am allowed to get another job as I am scared with all this going on another school won't look at me even though my results are proof I work hard.
  4. Sadly, what you are experiencing is not only commonplace, it may even be endemic. There are many things you can do but the priority is the need to build yourself back up. It is the bullies who have the flaws - often inadequate in many ways, which is why they abuse their position. You can investigate this yourself, and that process should show some interesting perspectives. You are not alone.
    Your union should have told you this, but I emphasise Ensure you document the facts carefully . A pattern of abuse is easier to investigate, and corroborated evidence is particularly valuable.

    There is a wide range of help online ; http://teachersupport.info/news/announcements/Bullying-of-teachers-a-massive-problem.php is a good site, but you can search for many more.

    http://www.workplacebullying.co.uk/index.html is a useful portal, and a commercial service is offered at http://nationalbullyinghelpline.co.uk/index.html but the site is worth looking at for useful resources - it shouldn't necessary to pay for support given that your union is working with you. But the online resources there are well worth reviewing

    Good luck, and hang on in there.
  5. Bullying is a big problem in many schools. I don't know how much you know about it so please have a look at the first linked thread, then have a look and whatever seems most appropriate.

    <ul class="initial_items">[*]
    upon a time there was this brilliant teacher who seems to have lost the
    plot. - The rumours that he wasn't coping must be true.

    </h3>[/LIST]<ul class="initial_items">[*]
    One Trick Pony a19pb hotlist -- All about life andhappy times!</h3>[/LIST]
    When dealing with these rather nasty people, its important to understand how they expect you to react to the things they do (or manipulate others to do). You clearly know that you are well able to do the job but it is important that you do not try too hard to prove it.

    I'll leave it at that for now, have a read and see what you think.

  6. deeley

    deeley New commenter

    im totally in agreement that this is bullying, and I urge you to continue to find the strength to stand tall and use the union.
    however, the last poster suggests putting hidden cameras in your classroom. Just. Don't.
    There are children in there. It would be a huge error, and will backfire spectacularly badly if children/staff/smt/parents hear...they would imagine all sorts. It would be very bad practice to have anything recording like that within a classroom. please don't.
    Make sure you go to meetings with someone with you that you trust? or ask for an office member to be present to document what is said. or hold your meetings in the heads office until it is sorted to your satisfaction.
  7. They have cameras now that are virtually undetectable. But if you can't be sure you can use it without getting caught, then certainly do not.

    But at the least, I would take a recording device into the adult meetings. The technology for this is really quite amazing these days. Otherwise, it is really your word against theirs. And you can be sure, they will lie through their teeth about you.

    I forgot to mention be careful what you say at school. Your words will be used against you. Try to limit how much you converse in the teacher lounge, copy room, etc. Also be careful what you say to students. Some principals will try to enlist students or their pet teachers to ask you questions in hopes that you can be led to share what is happening to you and say something that they can use. Keep everything very, very close to the vest. Besides people whom you completely trust and your union, don't talk to anyone about your principal or the administration at the school.
  8. Zadok1

    Zadok1 New commenter

    I'm really sorry you feel this way and, sadly like many others, have experiences exactly what you're going through. Something I would suggest is that following any meetings or conversations you email your head of dept, CC the sidekick and BCC (blind carbon copy... they don't know you've sent it) your union rep. In your email go through what you understand the head of dept to have told you and what he expects you to do... phrase it as a clarification of what the issues are and what you are meant to be doing. Make sure you ask for confirmation that you have understood correctly. The response you get is confirmation that the conversation took place and what they are asking you to do. Getting it in writing can be very helpful if you get to the point of any proceedings. If it's any consolation my experience is that these people tend to target people they see as a threat in some way... it indicates that he thinks you're better than him at some aspects of the job. It's usually the confident, capable staff who are targeted... and often the staff who are popular with the kids themselves.
  9. continue to get advice from your union - is there anyone else you can talk to at school? there are good schools out there, but sometimes it is better the devil you know!
  10. Zadok1

    Zadok1 New commenter

    I'm not suggesting that anyone should rant at anyone at all. All I'm doing is suggesting that if you have an email trail of events as they occur it's very hard to deny it ever happened.
    All I'm suggesting is that whatever is said in person should be repeated back to the speaker in an email under the guise of, 'Can I clarify that you were asking me to.... ' because a failure to respond makes them look as though they realise they were in the wrong to have asked in the first place and any form of response acts as confirmation of what was said. It's just a very useful way of creating a times and dated record of events out there in the ether. I would think that they will catch on very quickly what's going on and it may even stop a huge amount of the harassment as they won't want it to be written and presented to them.
  11. Dragonlady30

    Dragonlady30 Star commenter

    Ahh! I get your drift and it's excellent advice. Nothing better than taking a sheaf of papers into a meeting and using them to say, 'But on such a day you.............I've got it here in the email you sent!'
    I believe my point still stands. [​IMG]

  12. Well I had a meeting with the union who have asked what I want, they seem to think that the school want to dismiss me and would i accept a "deal",poss resign for a lesser charge. I thought about this then said no because I haven't done anything wrong, I went into today and it was an inset. The HT was away so there was no chance of me knowing what is to happen, my union are going to try to set up a meeting with HT. I just have to get my head down and get on with it but I feel so low.

  13. Dragonlady30

    Dragonlady30 Star commenter

    My heart goes out to you, it really does.
    It's too awful being kept under this cloud.
    Remember, the union should be working for YOU-for Heaven's sake, you've been paying your fees as they request so they have a duty to now work for you. Accepting a deal just means they don't have to do much except dot the is and cross the ts.
    Tell them you want a meeting with the HT as soon as possible and no, no deal! If the union has an officer on this full time, ask them what your position is and what they are going to do to help you. Ask to see Occupational Health again and see if they can recommend redeployment.
    Keep up with recording anything, including how you're feeling and how events have made you feel. Keep a diary on your thoughts either handwritten or as an ongoing diary on the computer.
    Keep your chin up, even when you feel like crawling under the nearest rock.

  14. Oh I feel for you too, you are me a year ago as now pretty much, I thought I would stay and fight the fight and use my notes and emails etc to show evidence of the bullying and harrassment.
    A word of warning - my union told me they were worthless, I couldn't use any of them - as it was only the charge against me that I could answer - I do think it depends who you have as a rep.
    I am still fighting though. I wish you all the luck, just be clear about what you can do, and be specific when you ask your union questions.
    All the best
  15. Ok well an update. I have been back in school since lst week, my new HOD stated that they want to put me forward for courses to improve my confiedence which they feel is low and to continue my professional development. This really confused me, anyway union called yesterday to say they had spoken to the HT and they want to know if this is a dismissal case. Also they want to know what the exact allegations are. They were told by HT that the allegations appear a bit petty, I supposedly spoke out against someone, it was heard by a third party who felt pupils could have heard it. I have no idea when I did this!! HT feels that if I am prepared to say I have made a few mistakes and apologise then they may be able to not go to governers and hope I can learn from my mistakes.
    Union stated that we will go into the meeting and explain that the depression caused by this has really affected me, if an apology is needed then I will do that but this has really made me ill.
    What is going on because last term it was all doom and gloom now school seem to be saying something different. My doctor has increased my medication and is furious over this, stating that this is all a vendetta against me and that now the school are backtracking as they must have been told by HR to back off. What do you think?? What do I do?? By the way am just getting on with teaching and being told by HIOD that I am doing a great job.
  16. I'd be very wary of apologising for something that is deemed a series of "mistakes". Once this is put in writing, you have admitted culpability. Do take advice from your union here.
  17. I think you should go to doctor and get yourself signed off with stress. You should consider it. It might make them back off, although I can see that this might make the whole thing even worse. Look after yourself.
  18. rosievoice

    rosievoice Star commenter

    Go to your GP, and get some time signed off, if only to give you a breathing space and some time to plot a strategy with your union. You have to take care of yourself.
    You asked, "Is this bullying?" the answer is yes.
  19. well another update, the HT has now gone off with indefinate sick leave. This puts the deputy who is investigating in charge as acting HT but also the limbo back, as I have no idea what is happening now. The union had advised we wait until they contact as actually my work is being praised all the time, I do think I am depressed but don't feel like I am battling anymore, I enjoy teaching again. I still have the threat of whether it will go to governers or the outcome hanging over me but nobody has said a thing to me, and I have no idea what is happeining. It is an awful thing to live with everyday, but I won't go off sick as I feel that may be what they want.
  20. Blimey what a palaver! I hope all is okay. This sounds like the school I escaped from a couple of years ago- the HT moved on- possibly to your school by the sounds of it! If HT is off sick that is a good sign I reckon. Get some anti depressants-and some counselling and look for a new job. I did all three and haven't looked back! x

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