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Looking for advice

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by newyorky, Jul 7, 2018.

  1. newyorky

    newyorky New commenter

    Never posted on here before so thanks if you're reading!

    Friday afternoon, whilst I was teaching, my headteacher came and pulled me out of my classroom and shouted at me in the corridor for sending a child away from my full up classroom. She then said I was "putting up barriers" and needed to think about the emails I'm sending, and then said I was to see her Monday, then before I could reply turned and walked off down the corridor.

    Completely shocked I then went back in to my classroom to find the children inside asking why I'd been told off.

    The head is known for unreasonable behaviour towards individuals, and I've been on the receiving end before (after returning to work after a miscarriage and when I was later pregnant) but this was extreme even for her! And now I have no idea what I'm walking into Monday.

    Any advice? Go to union?
    pepper5 likes this.
  2. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Not a bad idea. Bullying behaviour. Shouted? As in - raised her voice? Must have done if the kids noticed.

    Union. Yes.
  3. mothorchid

    mothorchid Star commenter

    Nasty experience for you. Union, without a doubt. And don't go to the meeting without someone else present.
    It would do no harm to make (dated) notes about what happened and also about the initial incident (?) where the child was sent away, maybe even look over your emails to see whether there is anything you can be picked up on and print them out? Did you write one in the heat of a moment, for example, or use slightly tetchy wording?
    What a nasty way to approach the end of term. Sympathies.
  4. carriecat10

    carriecat10 Established commenter Community helper

    Your HT has behaved completely unprofessionally. Whilst she deemed it important enough to drag you out of class rather than waiting until the end of the day, she should not have spoken to you in that manner and definitely not so that pupils could overhear.
    In these situations you really want to keep your cool but make sure you explain yourself clearly. Maybe write down exactly what happened and why. Then if you are asked for your version of events, read it out. This will help you to remain calm.
    When she referred to the emails you have sent, do you know why she might be making this comment? Again, prepare a response. If she says things which make no sense to you, say so: "I was completely unaware that my emails would create a problem, I appreciate the feedback."
    It is very likely that she will have calmed down over the weekend and the gap between then and the meeting will work in your favour - imagine if she had called you into a meeting that afternoon!
  5. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I don't understand this. Do you mean you open the room and once it is full, that's it no other children can join the lesson? What was the problem here?
    have you sent emails which could be construed as a problem? A chat on Monday, when everyone has rested and cooled over the weekend, might clear this one up.

    It's not an ideal way to solve problems, but if this is the usual way of things in your school, then it is unlikely to change any time soon.
    Give the union a ring and have a chat, but also wait and see what happens on Monday...might just all be a misunderstanding.
  6. newyorky

    newyorky New commenter

  7. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Presumably you said, "Go and ask Mr Thingy next door for a chair."
  8. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    You did do that? Please tell me you did that.
    pepper5, Lara mfl 05 and digoryvenn like this.
  9. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    OK, putting two and two together here...(could, of course, be making five!)

    You receive an email saying said new child was joining your class
    You responded to the email in a slightly too blunt manner, saying there was no space
    Child arrives at your room anyway
    You send them off, telling them there is no room
    Child has no clue what to do, so wanders about the place
    Child, unfortunately, wanders into the head who is doing something or other
    Head speaks to your HOD, who mentions the not quite correct email response you'd sent
    Head is then totally frustrated by having to sort out something that could easily have been prevented, on a hot Friday afternoon, so lets you know (in maybe not quite the right way) that you and they need to have a bit of chat on Monday

    A chat in the office on Monday, apologies on all sides and you're done and dusted.
    rolysol, thistledoo, pepper5 and 3 others like this.
  10. meggyd

    meggyd Lead commenter

    This is the thing. If there is no space there is no space. Incredibly silly and rude not to check or to check and presume it would be ok. On receipt of e mail they should have said "Sorry my mistake. I didn't check . " But they didn't and now as usual as the class teacher you are in the wrong and will have to apologise. You might as well just do that because you won't get anywhere if you argue.
    gold19951 and agathamorse like this.
  11. newyorky

    newyorky New commenter

    Sorry no! No email regarding the new child, and I apologised to her and sent her to a parallel set with the child she had been following for the day, in fact the head of year had let no one that girl was starting. However, had someone looked at the class numbers you're right this could have been easily prevented!
    I think the email and barrier comments are unconnected, the head just came out with it all at once.
    pepper5 and agathamorse like this.
  12. newyorky

    newyorky New commenter

    No and in hindsight I completely should have done, though it is a practical area so would have been unsafe, but I am happy to hold my hands up and say a complete mistake on my part, but to be shouted at in the corridor?!
    agathamorse likes this.
  13. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    No. No shouting in the corridor.

    A more sensible approach by the HT (and you'd think they were paid enough to behave in a sensible fashion) would have been this:

    "Oh, I understand you told NewGirlieGirl there wasn't room for her in your class? She seemed to think that's the set she's supposed to be in. I think one of us may have made a mistake here."

    But that didn't happen. And you've every right to expect to be treated properly. Even if you'd sent the child away and she'd been a little upset/confused. Two wrongs don't make a right. You don't scold the staff. Not if you're accusing them of being uncaring towards the students!

    Also. Never. Because that's NOT modelling the correct behaviour. And, if you can't look to the HT to set a good example, then how are we ever to conduct ourselves appropriately?
  14. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    Easy to say in hindsight but I think a better response would have been to let the child in for that lesson, even if they have to sit on the side of a bench and/or get a stool from next door and question it afterwards?

    This does seem like a lot of mountain out of molehill making that smacks of end of term itis/heat on several fronts, your sending the child away, a colleague whinging to the Head that they had to have them instead maybe (unless the kid was picked up by the Head) and the Head herself, I personally think it is always bad management to tell off someone on a Friday and ruin their mood for the weekend with a looming 'meeting' on the Monday.

    If the child exceeded known health and safety limits/guidelines on numbers, I would use this as your defence.
  15. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    As for Monday?

    Act daft.

    "Gosh, she just turned up. Nobody had told me. I knew she'd been with So-and-so yesterday so I just assumed she had got lost. And, of course, having got my Health and Safety maximum numbers in the lab...well, it didn't occur to me she ought to be in my set. I should have just got her to perch in a corner, shouldn't I? Maybe have tried to check with someone somehow? Yes, definitely. I'll know better for next time. So. She's officially in my set, is she? How do I square that with my risk assessment? You know. For practicals. I'd appreciate some guidance on that. Just in case we get an OFSTED and they realise I've got too many students."
  16. thistledoo

    thistledoo Senior commenter

    Accommodating new students in a practical area can be tricky, especially if you are in full practical flow. If someone such as HOY should have informed you and didn't, I understand your panic but there are ways and means to deal with this type of occurence (and it will happen more than once!).

    Okay, how to deal with this to learn and diffuse?! This was a new student/ new to school because she had a buddy in the parallel group? If it were me, I would apologise for sending the student away but make the point that you had not been told to expect a new student by HOD and/ or HOY. You thought it was a mistake because you already have XY number in your group. If the student was wandering because she didn't find her 'buddy', apologise for that also. Sending students away from your room means all sorts can possibly happen... in future, deal with the problem after the lesson/ later.

    You may also need to apologise to the member of staff whose group the new student interrupted? You see, your problem became some other busy person's problem, possibly in another practical area?

    Be careful of saying how busy you were with practical if you sent an email to someone. At your next dept meeting ensure you raise the procedure for incorporating new students into practical groups, you will find the rest of the staff agree with you!
    I was a HOD/ HOF in a practical area - what happened to you was not ideal but it happens. Staff who do not work in practical areas do not always realise the 'busy' nature of practical sessions or the quota of numbers in a room for safety.
    Place newcomers with another student responsible enough to share their productivity, keep them with you and rant with your arguments prepared on paper later! It could be that the new student said they had already experienced what was happening in the other groups... automatically a HOY will send students to the new experience not wanting to duplicate the learning. Big sigh. I really do sympathise.
  17. thistledoo

    thistledoo Senior commenter

    @grumpydogwoman has it right in her last post! Definitely you should not have been shouted at but hot Friday afternoons at the end of term has everyone frayed.
  18. HelenREMfan

    HelenREMfan Star commenter

    Taking of people not understanding about practical subjects..... how about the staff who thought it was fine to send their classes out onto the school field (unaccompanied at the start) when we were teaching javelin and discus out there !!!
    ATfan, gold19951, thistledoo and 2 others like this.
  19. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    What? Unaccompanied? Some people have no bloody sense, do they?

    As a general rule in the workplace you should rarely go in all guns blazing. Always try to sort things amicably. If your reasonable approach isn't reciprocated then you may need to talk to your union.

    But the union is rarely going to be your first port of call. It always helps to be able to show you've been the soul of moderation. Always offer others a chance to apologise and to backtrack a bit. It's like the Cold War. You don't bring out your big guns. Diplomacy, diplomacy, diplomacy. Catch more flies with honey.

    But I wouldn't go to the union yet. Not for this. Maybe the woman is a serial offender but you can only act on your interactions with her. Dont be tempted to advance as evidence her run-ins with other colleagues. You can't back them up unless everyone gets on board.
  20. thistledoo

    thistledoo Senior commenter

    This maybe too late to be of help now - if you have electronic registers, was the student added to the class register? It was usually the case where I worked... I knew at the start of the lesson I would have another 'body'. (Whether they eventually stayed with me depended on several factors!)
    Thought it might be worth mentioning if defending your case on Monday.

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