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Meeting to Discuss Workplace Issue

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Sealhawk, Feb 24, 2017.

  1. Sealhawk

    Sealhawk New commenter

    Hi all,

    Let me start by apologising in advance for a bit of an essay, but I want to try and ensure that all of the details are covered as best as possible.

    This doesn't relate to me directly but involves my partner, who is also a teacher. She is currently experiencing a very difficult time working with a particular colleague who, due to the nature of their roles, she is required to work very closely with on a day to day basis. This has come to a head recently, to the extent that yesterday my partner felt unable to physically leave the house and go to work as she couldn't face working with this particular colleague. When she did finally get into work she went and explained all of the issues and ongoing problems to her headteacher, who was very understanding and concerned about what is going on. It should be noted that this is not the first time that my partner (or some of the other members of staff) has flagged these concerns, but it is probably the most extreme that things have got to.

    Today she has gone in and things have not improved and once again she became very distressed and anxious. When she spoke to the Headteacher regarding the issue again, the Head, clearly trying to be forthright and 'decisive' decided to try and resolve the situation by going and getting the colleague who has been involved in the issues and holding an impromptu meeting to try and solve the situation. Unfortunately, this largely turned into the other colleague rounding on my partner with various complaints or patronising comments and the Headteacher largely supporting the other colleague. Naturally, my partner felt very let down and attacked by the Head and didn't feel that the meeting had in any way been a balanced discussion as she struggles to form her thoughts when in a situation where she is clearly emotional and anxious. As a result she ended up largely apologising for her own actions when, in my (admittedly somewhat biased) opinion, she is not in the wrong.

    Off the back of this she has visited the doctor this afternoon and been signed off for two weeks, as well as strongly considering submitting her notice next week so she can leave at Easter. However, my feeling in relation to all of this is that such a meeting over such an ongoing, difficult issue should not have been held in such an impromptu fashion and that a member of the school's HR team should have been present in order to appropriately mediate and record the discussion. What do others think? The headteacher at the school is new to the role and I feel this is an instance where she has mishandled this situation, to the extent that it has actually worsened my partner's anxiety and distress.

    I actually work as a member of the same trust and feel that something needs to be said about this incident to the HR team, what do you think?
  2. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I think your partner should speak to her union.
    They will help and support her in setting up another meeting which can be rather more positive and resolve issues.
    It is one of the reasons unions exist.

    The head was probably trying hard to sort out the issues fairly and simply didn't manage it. Trying such things on a Friday is never a good idea, everyone is tired and so more emotional and defensive.

    Tell your partner to relax, forget about school, apart from chatting to the union (ring the helpline) and not hand her notice in. This can be resolved in other ways,
    missRV, Rott Weiler and FrankWolley like this.
  3. Sealhawk

    Sealhawk New commenter

    Thank you for the suggestions. The union idea is a good one which a friend actually suggested too.

    I agree that the Head was probably just trying to resolve things but unfortunately based on some of the comments that were made it sounds like it was badly handled.

    Have a good weekend.
  4. slingshotsally

    slingshotsally Star commenter

    It might be a good idea to make a list of things (said, done, effects) with dates and the consequences of those actions, too.

    This would help to order thoughts and check to see if a pattern emerges eg incidents occur just after break, during particular lessons, on a Friday or Monday morning.
    Laphroig, Mrsmumbles and wanet like this.
  5. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    It's a shame that she was professional and innocent enough to assume that approaching her Head was the way to handle things, No issues like this should ever be aired without union support and representation at every meeting. That includes meetings with untrustworthy HR (they are all, in my experience, in league wit the HT) or the Head, SLT or HOD. Afraid it is very them and us now.

    I could be wrong, but I suspect that things will not improve for her at the school. I'd advise total rest whilst signe off, then looking for better jobs or doing supply, using the union rep to negotiate a good reference, ideally not an agreed one, and to leave in July or at Easter. She might get a good mat leave post at Easter which would tide her over. The current workplace sounds toxic and I had many of her symptoms at my old school. Read the posts on capability and staff bullying.

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