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Is this Bullying?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by whistle4it, Jan 22, 2019.

  1. whistle4it

    whistle4it New commenter

    Just started a new job. My HOD has been, what feels like, “getting at” me but I’m not sure whether to challenge it.
    She has ticked me off about photocopying, rolled her eyes when I asked for clarity about where some things were on the system, told me someone had complained about me not signing out, told me someone had complained about me showing some of my classes film clips ( pulled me out of lesson to tell me,) and has since been in to interrupt my lesson asking what I was doing.
    It’s making me incredibly anxious. Other members of the dept have suggested that there’s a problem and that it’s not just me, but it’s incredibly unsettling. Any advice would be very welcome
  2. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    The major question here is whether you are being 'singled out' or whether this is their management style (and plenty of managers think that management means relaying/criticising the negatives and not focusing on the positives without realising that this approach will totally denegrate the morale of some people.) It is hard to comment on specifics without knowing the full context but the rolling eyes thing seems harsh (unless you were asking something ridiculous of course!) and the film clips too, although maybe you have walked into a school where the Head is anti YouTube or something and sadly youve learned the hard way. Although context of course, we don't know whethrer your film clips were relevent to the lesson!
    TBH in both cases if you have a 'critical 'line manager your best approach is to try and be as amenable as possible while secretly trying to get out as soon as reasonably possible. The other approach is be uber patient and try and change them slowly or stay long enough they are promoted up but in your shoes I would keep a weather eye on the exit sign but be aware the grass might not be greener, in fact it might even be worse on the other side and you might need to jump more than once to find an environment and line manager you get on with!
  3. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Well if you're new to the job, it may just be your HoD is just a bit under pressure at the moment. Especially if you're secondary with mock exams. They are probably missing their former colleague more familiar with systems in the school and just find having to explain basic a bit time-consuming at the moment.
    Personally I'd say not 'bullying' , more signs your HoD is under pressure. She shouldn't be allowing others to see, but we're all human.;)
    mothergoose2013 likes this.
  4. whistle4it

    whistle4it New commenter

    Thanks so much
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  5. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    It's tricky starting in January. The general wave of new people starting is over, and it is harder for you to find newbie allegiance with others not knowing about, say, the photocopy limit.
    If your HoD is being short or snappy with you it is shocking, and unlike previous post I would not be so understanding. You are new to the team and you are important to the team, and any decent manager would see that for what it is. The time invested in explaining things in a decent and humane way is time spent well, for once you know something you don't need to ask it again.
    If she is curt and off putting then clearly you will not want to ask her much in the future, and yet as a new colleague it is always better to ask than to guess. More importantly, you're more likely to do the things the kids expect of you properly. Short sighted of her.

    However, not being understanding is not the same as feeling at odds with them. Don't. No need.
    Could you arrange a time with her, say, half an hour every fortnight when you present all the new stuff you'd like to ask, and when she can also help you adapt if you have not done things the school way?
    Put it to her.
    And then if she confronts you again in such a way, you can respond-"Ah, I did not know that. Can we go over it when we meet next time please?". And walk away.

    Indeed, anybody who talks to you this way should not be shown either interest or concern in engaging beyond the factual minimum. It's the nouveau-school-management-beast; you need to stay too distanced a person to be taken in by it.

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