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Management treatment after corona virus

Discussion in 'Career clinic' started by edenhendry, Jun 29, 2020.

  1. edenhendry

    edenhendry New commenter

    Good morning all,

    I'll try to keep this brief. Need advice and some positivity (if possible!).

    I'm a primary school teacher and middle leader. I've been a teacher for 6 years after changing careers from sales and marketing.

    Like all teachers, love my job but hate the workload. This past year, I was doing a 70 hour week. I did it because I felt valued and I was making a difference.

    Then lock down happened.

    I became the temporary workplace union rep and I couldn't go back to school for keyworkers due to my asthma (DHT made that call although I offered to go in).

    Suddenly, I was not part of staff communications. It seemed it was thought I was having a jolly at home, despite having a truckload of admin and future planning to work through, with 3 children to home school too.

    I talked to my HT and said I was finding the isolation at home challenging. I'm a single parent with no family in the area.
    My work has been completed ahead of schedule, to a high standard and I've been available as technical support for parents 9-5.

    However, I've had 3 phone calls from HT since lock down. I've been asked not to bother calling in to staff meetings held on site, as it's only for those who are in school (I. E everyone else), even though I've expressed that it would help me to feel part of the team.

    I began to realise, I'm only valued as a minion, not as a person.

    70+ hours a week, losing my free time and time with my family, and then, when I'm not seen as any use to the school, it feels like I've been dropped.

    So, I resigned at half term. I didn't state the reason above. I said that I felt like I needed a breather from teaching and to decide my 'next steps'.

    As you can imagine, the silence has been even worse since.

    I found out that my class will be invited back for a day next week as a transition to close off this school year. I would love to see them. But the school haven't told me about it. That kills me! I love that class and been in constant contact over lock down.

    So, firstly, I take this as proof that I was right to resign. I am clearly not valued as a person.

    But my question is: what to do at the exit interview (if I get one?).

    Clearly, I need a good reference. But I also understand that it is there to help retain staff in the future. I need to spin it positively, without grumbling.

    Should I even bother explaining how this lack of communication was the catalyst for the resignation? Do I mention the impact of working hours on my family (the phrase, 'that's just what you have to expect from teaching' is always touted).

    Or do I smile sweetly, stick with the bland excuse of wanting a break and move on quietly?

    Any thoughts would be appreciated.
  2. thejudgesscoresarein

    thejudgesscoresarein Occasional commenter

    You are classed as vulnerable - I think that’s why the school doesn’t want you back at the moment. It’s too risky.
    They’re only thinking of you- I think you are looking ‘too deep’ into situations?

    With an exit interview, you won’t gain anything from ‘slagging them off’- it will tarnish your reputation as a teacher and won’t look favourable for a reference when you need one!

    Personally, I’d decline the offer of an exit interview if you get one, thank them for the experience and then leave. Move forward onto better things, if you’re not happy!
    agathamorse likes this.
  3. ABCDETeacher

    ABCDETeacher New commenter

    Have to say I couldn't disagree with the above comment more. OP, I think that you have every right to feel aggrieved. You may not be able to be in the building physically, but you are very much still a member of the staff team at that school and so should, at the bare minimum, be kept in the loop. You're working from home, not off on the sick. They're two very different things.

    In terms of the exit interview, I think it's a case of picking your battles. I do agree with the above comment (in part) on that. Any feedback you do give will likely become quickly outdated as the home working situation is changing constantly, and no matter how positively you spin it I think it'll still more than likely be take as criticism. So if you're offered one I'd say you should go - refusing to attend could create unwanted confrontation too. Just smile, grit your teeth and get it over with in a professional way as quickly as you can.

    Good luck for the future! There are good schools out there!
  4. edenhendry

    edenhendry New commenter

    Thanks to both of you for the replies.

    I had a call today from the HT (first time I have spoken to him in 3 weeks) who has said I should be in school for the last 2 weeks as they want to welcome more year groups back. He didn't ask, he instructed. I asked whether the government guidance had changed for vulnerable groups of people and he said it hadn't but other members of staff who are vulnerable (including someone who is pregnant) had been in since half term so I should be there too (I was unaware of this and was not given the option to come in - maybe I'm just a **** teacher and they don't want me there).

    First I am told not to come in, despite offering. Then I'm ignored for 3 months. Finally, I'm being told I HAVE to come in because they want to have Years 2, 3 ,4 and 5 in before the end of the year and need the cover.

    I have to admit, I am miffed. I'm only being contacted when they want something - of course employers have every right to give directions for working, but given the circumstances of the past 3 months, it seems hollow and cold.

    I shall take your advice regarding the exit interview, which is what I thought. Smile sweetly, say how much I have enjoyed working at the school and the opportunities it has given me. Wish everyone the best for the future and say how much it would be lovely to stay in contact.

    However, I have contacted the union for advice regarding going back into school. I have proved that I am able to work from home, and I am loathe to chuck my 3 children into a key worker group at school for the final 2 weeks. My school have taken enough of me and affected my family enough. If I'm vulnerable, I should be working from home, which is what the school told me back in March.

    I left the conversation as asking what the HR guidance is from our LEA regarding clinically vulnerable people working in schools. I will follow the guidance from the HR, whether that be to go to school or work from home. It's petty, I know, but if the school had treated me better during lockdown, I would have rocked up with a smile on my face. Instead, I feel forgotten about and used.

    It's a learning opportunity. Treat your staff kindly and make them feel valuable, and it will pay dividends in good will. It is an experience I will learn from both as an employee and a leader.
  5. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    Yes, I agree. Mind you, I doubt you'll be offered an exit interview, it will be low down on their ToDo list.

    I agree.

    No, not if they say you should be in. If you are vulnerable, you stay at home.

    You might like to check again with your Dr., so that you know for sure if you are still considered too vulnerable to go to school, among numerous children, and having your own children exposed to the virus and potentially bringing it home.

    Best wishes, do let us know what happens
    agathamorse likes this.

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