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Issues with HoD

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by AnotherDayAnotherHassle, Jul 18, 2019.

  1. AnotherDayAnotherHassle

    AnotherDayAnotherHassle New commenter

    Hello, I'm new, and I'm worried I've upset my HoD.

    I've been working as a supply at a school for the last three months as a teacher in my non-specialism. I've been offered a contract from September after being observed by one of the Assistant Heads and am really excited! But I told my HoD before I got the job that I couldn't wait to be part of the team, and that I could re-write some of the SoW, as its been on the system for the last four or so years. I also told her I'd be happy to take some A Level teaching off her hands. She looked a bit surprised at this and said it wasn't up to her, it was up to the timetablers who are SLT. She did ask why I wanted to re-write the SoW, and I told her that I felt that the lessons needed to be fun and engaging so the students didn't misbehave. She told me that my attitude was a little surprising.

    It sounds stupid, but I feel really crushed. I feel that she dislikes me and thinks my ideas are rubbish. I've tried to be friendly but whilst she's always polite, she doesn't chat to me in the Staff Room and seems to avoid me. But I know she has other friends on the staff. I told her that I feel honoured to work with her, but she seemed to roll her eyes at me slightly. I like the school and the students - but what do I do?
    pepper5 likes this.
  2. newposter

    newposter Occasional commenter

    People invest lots of time in a scheme of work, and it’s a very personal thing. You have been over enthusiastic when everybody is tried and wants to crawl home for the summer.
  3. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    Assuming this isn't a wind up -oh dear. And as its the very end of term, you have got limited time to sort this.

    You've been offered a contract - the school clearly value you. But you've gone charging in to tell your HoD you think you know better. That's the subtext I can see from your comments. As a Subject Leader, I would be rather taken aback. People wanting to contribute? Great. People with ideas? Great. But someone announcing that they think everything should be scrapped and done again? Er...unless its really not working...no.

    I suspect you did not mean it like that. I suspect you merely wanted her to know how enthusiastic you are. But you've muddied the waters. Your best strategy is head down, do as you're asked. Perhaps apologise to her for any misunderstanding you've had. It reads to me as though she's trying to be professional with you - she doesn't have to be your friend. If you really feel that you've blown it, might be best to look for another job.
  4. A_Million_Posts

    A_Million_Posts Star commenter

    You've come on a bit too strong in dashing around saying you are "honoured" to work with your HoD and in suggesting that everything can be changed now that you have come to save the day. I'm sure your HoD will recognise it as the enthusiasm of someone newly appointed and not hold it against you!

    Remember that while you're excited about a new job, everyone else in school is exhausted and limping towards the holidays. Chill out a bit and take time to settle into your new role.
  5. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    I wouldn’t hold it against you and think you’re overthinking it.

    You’ve come on very strong though, no doubt. You, to the wrong ears, have criticised the SoW, started to make claims on the a level teaching and suggested the divisive idea (one that I don’t agree with either, sorry) that bad behaviour is caused by lack of fun and engaging activities.... just think about what you say going forwards

    As for the staff room thing. It’ll take time to build a friendship. Calm down.
  6. steely1

    steely1 Occasional commenter

    Writing as a HOD myself, I agree with the comments you've had already. It's clear you're very enthusiastic and nobody is going to knock that - but I do think you could have treaded more carefully re. the re-writing of schemes of work, e.g. I don't know how prescriptive this department is but perhaps suggesting you have one or two different ideas for lessons / activities and would it be possible to add to the existing schemes of work and share with colleagues in the first instance. Part of the job is about learning to "read" the department you're in, certainly to begin with: how receptive they are to new ideas; what the dynamics are like in the department.

    In terms of the HOD not apparently chatting to you - try not to take it personally. Yes, I agree with Dynamo67 - it takes time to build up friendships in schools. Equally, some of the best HODs I've worked for at previous schools have not been my "friends" as such - as in they may not be the first people I'd go to chat with in the staffroom - but that's not to say I didn't get on with and respect them (and vice versa).

    Try not to let this hang over you. I'm pretty sure your HOD is just feeling the effects of end-of-term, as are we all. Have a good summer.
  7. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    She might be very happy with (and proud of) the SoW, and very happy doing all the A-level teaching. And along comes a non-specialist who seems to think they're going to change everything. I'm sure you've got lots of ideas to contribute, but you just need to use some tact. Provided it's not a very prescriptive SOW, you could try some of your ideas with your groups, and then suggest them as a possible addition/alternative.
  8. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I'd be a bit hacked off if a non specialist supply teacher arrived and said they were pleased to be offered a post so they could rewrite the schemes of work and teach A Level for me.
    I'd roll my eyes at anyone who told me they were 'honoured' to work with me!

    Get your head down and learn how to teach the schemes that are in place. They are probably effective and enable learning and progress, which is more important than fun.
  9. ViolaClef

    ViolaClef Lead commenter

    @AnotherDayAnotherHassle It’s great that you’re enthusiastic and full of energy about your new post in September.
    When you are the ‘new’ person in a job situation, you need to listen, watch and learn. This will help you to develop smooth working relationships with your colleagues.
  10. DrJay

    DrJay Occasional commenter

    If I’m right (except you failed to express yourself adequately), having taught subject(s) other than the one in which you’re a specialist (meaning you’re yet to demonstrate your ability to teach your subject specialism), or have taught subject(s) in which you’re a non-specialist, you over-enthusiastically now wish to run things—revamp the SOW (allegedly responsible for poor behaviour) and “take some A Level teaching off her hands.” Far-fetched, in my view. As HOD, I’ll be concerned having a non-specialists teaching my GCSE and A Level classes except they have sustained years of doing so with some enviable results data. Rather than “take some A Level teaching off her hands” why not co-teach those classes (assuming there are no timetable clashes). Instead of seeking to re-write a new SOW, why not establish yourself first as a trusted colleague and subsequently offer to revamp aspects of the SOW.

    Take the job, be great team player, establish yourself as a trusted and hardworking colleague, get some great results and be rest assured that your HOD would trust you to “run the show” while (s)he gets the TLR;)
  11. Curae

    Curae Star commenter

    Yes re writing sow is a bit much and s others have said you need to tread carefully. Making close friends at school l for me is a no no.

    However you sound lovely and genuine. I would warmly welcome such a person in my faculty and it would make such a nice change as so many of my own faculty them have oddly become very lazy after promotion doing very little for their hefty TLRs and need a swift reminder of that.
  12. Honeydew

    Honeydew New commenter

    I couldn't agree more with Frustum and Caterpillartobutterfly.

    You are a non-specialist and tell your HOD that you want to re-write their schemes of work? That sounds very arrogant to me. The HOD has probably worked hard on those sow and your suggestion shows you lack tact and awareness.

    For you to say 'I' d be happy taking to take some A Level teaching off her hands' is really shocking. Why are you assuming she wants her A level teaching taken off her hands? She may well love teaching it. A level teaching is something even specialists don't always get the opportunity to teach (A level teaching is prestigious and requires excellent subject knowledge) and yet you come along and make this suggestion.

    In all honesty, I would probably have treated you the way your HOD did if I had been in the same position. Actually, your HOD was very good considering what you said. I don't think I would have been so civil.

    I commend you on your eagerness, but you need to be more respectful and careful when discussing schemes of work and what you can teach. Be humble and tactful. Your suggestions to the HOD alll imply you're better than them - maybe not your intention but that's how it comes off to me.

    If I were you, I'd apologise for coming off as cocky and say you'll do whatever you're told to as a member of the department. Any suggestions should come from your HOD - that's their job.
  13. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    You are no doubt keen and grateful for the job but you have fallen for over keen and over promising. When in Rome, do as the Roman's fo at least at first. The start of your job is not the time to go reinventing everything. Teaching A level, teachers can be very precious about their A level and suggesting you teach it as a non specialist......
    The end of term is also a very bad time to go promising the Earth, everyone is tired and has one foot on the plane out of Blighty.
    You haven't blown a thing yet and dont expect your HoD to necessarily be your friend. Just go back in Septembet with your tail slightly between your legs rather than wagging madly and knocking everything over!
  14. Curae

    Curae Star commenter

    I don't entirely agree. Yes OP was over eager and too generous in their offer to take A level off her hands ( its actually better to over yourself up for KS3) But for me an eager beaver is always a good thing. I definitely dont expect the HOF to be the only person making suggestions otherwise what would the point of faculty meetings be about.
    OP shouldn't worry its not a big deal HOF will get over it... could be far worst... you could have been a lazy so and so like a few in my dept :rolleyes:
    Maybe if the mood is right next September you might want to mention that you felt you got a little overexcited and that your helpfulness may have come across the wrong way. Gosh I wish I had you in my faculty because half the sow was a load of....

    Have a great summer break your faculty is lucky to have you.
    ATfan and blueskydreaming like this.
  15. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I would have as well. :cool:

    Honest I would.
    I can be just as gentle and tactful.
    Honest I can.
    I really wouldn't have said 'Don't be so bl oo dy ridiculous!' when told it was an honour to work with me.
    I really wouldn't.
    And I'd not have said 'Over my dead body' when the OP suggested they take A Level off my hands.
    Honest I wouldn't.
    nervousned likes this.
  16. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Oh for goodness sake!
    Internet speeds are sooooooooooo slow!
    Then it posts twice in one go.
  17. ATfan

    ATfan Star commenter

    Hi! As a former HoD and department newbie, I have a different view on this to some of the other posters on this thread:

    A HOD's job is to manage people. To do this successfully, you have to be professional and manage your own emotions. Moreover, she's not paid to be your friend, she's paid to lead the department by helping you and the rest of the team to get the best out of each other and the students. As for having friends from the other staff, give yourself time! You're still new and you and she are still learning about each other. I therefore wouldn't worry about whether she dislikes you and thinks your ideas are rubbish even if this were true (I don't think it is, btw). As a professional and manager, she will listen to you and your ideas, regardless of what her personal feelings towards you may be. If she's a good HoD, she will also recognise the ones which could help her to move the department forward and act upon them.

    As for your comments about the SoW and A-Level teaching, I agree that the wording in both cases was unfortunate and may not have gone down too well in her mind but as others have already said, it's because of your excitement about the job. There have been many occasions when I've realised that innocent comments that I've made could be misconstrued including to members of SLT but a swift apology and rephrasing has resulted in amusement from them rather than hard feelings. I therefore wouldn't spend all summer worrying about it but instead, if it still bothers you, in your first private meeting with her in the new academic year (call one if you don't have regular scheduled meeting like this in your department), you say to her in a polite but clear fashion that your realise that, in your excitement of getting the job, you may have come across as tactless or arrogant (or whatever adjectives you care to use) when making these comments which wasn't what you meant at all, clarify what you did mean (e.g. just wanted to say that you were keen to help her and the rest of the team and are really looking forward to continuing to work with everyone in the department), and are sorry if the comments offended her.

    In the meantime, congrats on getting the job, hope that you have a good summer holiday and that this post helps!
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2019
  18. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    With vigour like this what you really need to be doing is applying very quickly for a very big promotion to SLT while you are still young, and then you can formalise your desire to rewrite schemes of work which are disgracefully older than three years, and additionally have non specialists teaching A level. Your HoD will not be so unnecessarily cool to you then!

    You'll also be empowered to visit other departments and assess how much fun they have written on paper any time that behaviour issues are mistakenly referred to you. You'll soon make lots of friends on the staff by working your way round like this, especially when you find you need to go back to certain people again who simply haven't bothered to address the areas upon which you've insisted.

    I actually don't understand why people have been so negative about your approach, when I see little other than great promise in your opening post-you'll go far!
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2019
    GirlGremlin and phlogiston like this.
  19. friedgreentomatoes

    friedgreentomatoes Star commenter

  20. teacher_new81

    teacher_new81 New commenter

    Good morning ADAH

    This reminds me of an over eager puppy, just so excited for a new job, and wanting to make that first real impression. If I take the positive first, I can see that you thought A Level teaching can be strenuous too and so helping out the current HoD would make you look good, like a team player. Howeverhe post reminds me of Mike and his FE college exploits.

    If you're still in work on Monday or Tuesday next week (like me), try to speak with the HoD calmly and that you came across wrong, and apologise for confusion. I'd rather have the air cleared before summer holiday comes.

    As for SoW and fun...well why not inject that fun into your own lessons, show the HoD then how others may be lacking and your fun injection has solved behavioural issues in the department?

    Personal note I would've nodded my head at you and then walked on. Unless you've got results to back up your theory then I wouldn't reinvent the wheel. I am strict in certain aspects and every student knows my expectations of homework standards and punctuality as I am rigorous with them. That's how I ensure behaviour in my lesson, consistent non-negotiables of certain standards from my students.

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