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Meeting with Principal tomorrow and I’m a wreck

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by adollarshort, Jan 14, 2019.

  1. adollarshort

    adollarshort New commenter

    So I had an email this afternoon, completely out of the blue, asking me to meet the Principal and another member of SLT to “discuss the progress of my classes” and I am filled with absolute dread.

    I only started at this school in September, after 5 successful years in FE. All my classes are low ability and behaviourally challenging. All of them are under target (as they were last year, from looking at their data). I’ve tried asking for support but none has been forthcoming or someone tries to help but then I’m quickly forgotten about and left to my own devices again.

    I didn’t even want to go back to school this term but I dragged myself in anyway. On my way home, I gave thought to crashing my car just so I don’t have to face this meeting.

    How would you approach this meeting? How do I prepare? I don’t even know what the tone of this meeting will be.

    ROSIEGIRL Lead commenter

    I'm sure someone will be along with more useful advice than I have to offer but I didn't want to leave you unanswered.
    You may be over reacting but we don't know that. So, can you get a colleague to go to the meeting with you, for moral support and as an extra pair of ears?
    If it does turn out to be a critical meeting I'd advise you to say as little as possible and ask for time to respond to what they say later. Then contact your union for support.
    In the meantime you can talk to the Education Support Partnership
    They're good!
    Fingers crossed you're worrying for nothing. Take care .
  3. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Stick to your guns.

    You are not a miracle-worker. You're following the SoWs. They have a history of under-performing. You'd be thrilled to know what magic you can perform. Perhaps they can just tell you the secret and you'll get right on it.

    Well, you can't be that sarcastic but you can only just repeat the truth. You're working hard and they have a track record of slow progress and low attainment. You're one term in. A term. A single term. These guys just don't have accelerated rates of learning. Sorry.

    Let's hope the meeting is to support you. We won't know. Tell us tomorrow. Don't get very defensive. Just listen and repeat the mantra about their previous (lack of) progress and your effort.
  4. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Star commenter

    If you have time contact your Union before the meeting.

    If you feel that the meeting is non supportive (you are being bushwhacked) and you are feeling intimidated, after all it is 2:1, then do not be hesitate to adjourn the meeting in order that you may get union support, do not take no for an answer.

    As others have said listen carefully and do not be tempted to say anything "to fill the silence" if anything keep schtum and let them fill the silence, it is surprising what people will reveal in the silences.

    I would strongly suggest you take in a pen and pad for you to use to take notes, you might not think you need one but a) it makes them more careful and b) it is a prop to use when and if you are a little flummoxed and so ask for a little time whilst you take some notes this gives you time to think of an appropriate response and also gives them time to put their foot in it by filling the silence.


    Even if they are provocative and unfair they maybe after a response, wait until the silence is uncomfortable before making a measured and considered response.
    stonerose, Jamvic, bevdex and 15 others like this.
  5. ThereAreBunniesInMyHead

    ThereAreBunniesInMyHead Occasional commenter

    This is probably just me, but I'd be tempted to email back as though this was a meeting YOU organised with a response such as:

    "Thank you so much for organising this meeting after I requested support with these classes. I was beginning to think the school hadn't seen my emails. Here are the issues I have identified previously and here is what i've already done, and here are my suggestions about what support I would like with the classes. It would be great in the meeting if we can discuss what the school do to help with these ideas?".....

    I would think it would put them on the back foot and it throws the ball firmly into their court in terms of them supporting YOU and puts you in control of the meeting's agenda rather than them. That way, in the meeting if it does go pear shaped, you have a written email to show you have asked for support and provided suggestions, and if they ignore it or try and blame you without offering those suggested support options, then it makes them look bad rather than you?
    jarndyce, stonerose, Jamvic and 22 others like this.
  6. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    Definitely contact your Union (or, if not in one JOIN TODAY before the meeting!!!)

    I like the strategy in post #5 as well...
  7. Lalad

    Lalad Star commenter

    Is this the first pupil progress meeting you will have had? If so, it could be that SLT have just looked at the SDP and realised they have no evidence to show they've been monitoring progress - and they have to report back to governors on this next week!

    As regards the last part of your post, the fact that you were thinking of crashing your car to escape from your current situation suggests that a visit to your GP and /or contacting Education Support could help.
  8. Bedlam3

    Bedlam3 Star commenter

    Start keeping evidence. Have you got evidence that you asked for support and that it was not consistent? Try to get things in writing via email just in case it develops any further.
    Maybe also see your GP.
  9. Presleygirl

    Presleygirl Occasional commenter

    Talk to edusupport, union and Samaritans too. GP
    You must look after you...... the thought of crashing the car is red flag for me, please see it as that for you.

    Seek support .... and don’t be scared to ask.
    If you feel stressed, you must address it GP can help too
  10. Flowersinspring

    Flowersinspring Lead commenter

    Urrrgghhhhh - I really feel for you. Hoping all went well in the meeting for you.
    stonerose likes this.
  11. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    When corresponding by email always bcc your emails to your home address and forward any replies home also. Then you have a record of what was said.
  12. mothorchid

    mothorchid Star commenter

    I would agree, @blazer, but I remember giving this advice to someone a while back and being warned there might be GDPR issues. I wonder if anyone can clarify?
    stonerose and mothergoose2013 like this.
  13. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    I am not an expert here, but I think a lot depends on the contents of the emails. If they contain sensitive data, such as student details, then it probably is a breach of GDPR. Also, I don't think that using bcc stops the school knowing that you have sent yourself a copy, as they can probably check anything on the school email system.

    If it starts getting nasty, then printing out copies and keeping them at home won't be visible at school, so might be a safer option. But I wouldn't do anything like that until you know this is happening.
  14. mothorchid

    mothorchid Star commenter

  15. adollarshort

    adollarshort New commenter

    It was absolutely awful. HR was in there too. I tried to adjourn to get someone from work to be with me and was told no. They tried to open it by saying it is supposed to be supportive but it wasn’t supportive. A member of SLT (the one in the meeting) found out before Xmas that I was feeling suicidal. She gave me a counselling phone number and told be she’d see me tomorrow.

    They tried to say the wanted to support my wellbeing but the discussion was mostly about why I’m **** at my job.

    I really tried to leave but it was 3:1 and I was petrified.

    I’ve sent 3 separate emails to my union rep and had no reply despite him seeing me in floods of tears yesterday.

    I just don’t know how to walk back in tomorrow.
    agathamorse likes this.
  16. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Star commenter

    I am no GDPR expert either but I cannot see making a copy of an email that you wrote or are a party to would be a breach.

    If it is then isn't accessing your emails from a home machine a breach also? After all you are making a copy onto your local machine.
  17. amysdad

    amysdad Established commenter

    @adollarshort - don't walk in tomorrow. Go to your GP and tell them how you are feeling - they will sign you off at least for a week or two.

    Then get in touch by phone with your Union's local office - explain that the rep has not been responding and you need to speak to someone urgently. If HR was in attendance then that makes the meeting you had formal and you are at least morally, possibly legally, entitled to have someone with you - if you attend another meeting and this happens then you have to be strong and walk out if you are not permitted representation.

    But holy c**p. HR at a first meeting about performance? I'm afraid to say that just wouldn't happen in any other field.
  18. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    Not your school rep, time to move up the chain, I think.

    As for the rest - you've been given all low ability classes and your requests for support have been ignored? They are at fault, not you, and personally whatever other krap is going on I'd be planning on leaving at the end of the year anyway.

    "Of course I'm grateful for the offer of support but this environment isn't for me. I will stay until the end of the year to give you time to find a more uitable replacement."
  19. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Star commenter

    It sounds like you were bushwhacked/bounced. I know it is REALLY hard but with 2 from SLT and one from HR I think it is highly inappropriate for the meeting to go ahead esp when you requested an adjournment.

    How did you ask for an adjournment?

    (I hate to say it but in that situation sometimes it may be better to succumb to the stress of the situation and ask for 5 minutes to collect yourself after all they have expressed that they want to support your wellbeing they could hardly allow the meeting to continue under those circumstances. After 5 minutes you may feel well enough to continue.)
  20. SundaeTrifle

    SundaeTrifle Occasional commenter

    So, so sorry you have been put through this. Highly inappropriate. I can’t believe SLT make claims that that they are “supporting” when they call you to a meeting with 3 heavyweights. How dare they sit there, three of them, and not allow you to have a supportive friend. They are either nasty or totally thick. You mustn’t trust them, do not have any further conversations without a union rep or at least a friend to support and observe.

    Sending you big ((((hugs)))). You have been placed in an impossible situation with regards to the progress of your classes. Look after yourself and take time away from work if needed.

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