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My colleague wept today...

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by slingshotsally, Jan 8, 2016.

  1. slingshotsally

    slingshotsally Star commenter

    Hi all,

    Today I saw a lovely colleague weep on her way to collect a class from Lunch time play.

    Her distress was extremely raw, obvious and she looked like prey. She said she wanted to hand in her notice on Monday. A number of colleagues already resigned at Christmas. At least 6 members of staff left at end of summer term.

    It seems she was called at short notice to cover a class, no resources were left for her at all by the class teacher (who is quite senior and should know ).

    Very sad and there is nothing I can do to help her.

    JeannieMc likes this.
  2. RedQuilt

    RedQuilt Star commenter

    You can help a bit by doing little things that will support her and remind her of her strengths. It doesn't have to be very obvious but just enough to reassure her.
    It's so hard to see someone so distressed but you sound as though you care and hopefully she knows that. It can be a lonely experience in schools if you're going through the worst of times :(.
  3. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    How distressing.

    Both for your colleague and for you, @slingshotsally .

    I am so sorry for you both. And indeed for your colleagues overall.

    Best wishes for things to get better

  4. rosievoice

    rosievoice Star commenter

    Left no resources? I knew a (teaching) DHT who would put off any pesky science lessons he didn't want to do until he went on a course. Then he would leave a list of what he wanted the agency supply teacher to do that day. And that was it, just a list, no resources, nothing. We were expected to respect this man.

    I am sorry to hear of your colleague's distress, and yours by witnessing it. xx
    JeannieMc, lanokia and pepper5 like this.
  5. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

    Is this primary or secondary? Primary in this situation must be a nightmare. I spent a long time as a CS in a school where - until we got stroppy and insisted on change - I used to go into classes with no work left and be expected to entertain them for an hour. I used to carry around Sudoku and wordsearches, or get them to make up their own, for the subject. You can do that at secondary, but not Primary. Virtual hugs to your colleague!
    JeannieMc and pepper5 like this.
  6. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    I agree with redquilt. Just support your friend by helping where you can and in some cases it might be small things like a cup of tea and word of support.

    Your friend may be tired. Teaching is exhausting and when we our bodies and mind are tired, we might cry more easily.

    Maybe you and your friend could make up a secret stash of resources to fall back on when put in the same situation.

    In the longer term though you'd colleague will have go think abouf whether or not she wants to work in a place so disorganised.
    notsonorthernlass and RedQuilt like this.
  7. ValentinoRossi

    ValentinoRossi Star commenter

    When I have been in the situation which your colleague found herself in, the one thing that saved me was having another teacher who picked me up and didn't judge me. Please don't underestimate how much you being there helps.
  8. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Can't add much more. Teaching can be an exhaustive career. Often we have things going on in our home lives too and suddenly some tiny thing becomes overwhelming. She may feel better on Monday, but it does sound as though the school does have its fair share pf problems.

    Just give your colleague a ready smile, when next you see them. Don't refer to the incident- she may well be embarrassed, unless she herself brings it up.

    Certainly if you can provide positive support in any way, do so and see if you can spot something particularly good in their teaching to mention as an example of 'best practice' should the opportunity arise.
    Dragonlady30 and monicabilongame like this.
  9. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    Awful when things go this way on a Friday, hope she gets some rest and relaxation over the weekend. Sadly I doubt she is alone.
    monicabilongame likes this.
  10. slingshotsally

    slingshotsally Star commenter

    Thanks for replying.

    As it's the first week back after a long holiday, the children have to be reminded of school rules and routines, it was every bit as difficult as I expected it to be.

    Unfortunately, my colleague has left in deep doo-doo by a much more senior member of staff.

    If this had not occurred before, I would have considered it to be an anomaly. Unfortunately, it is something I have seen happen towards the end of last term as well. (To a different member of staff, during the fall out I suffered as a direct consequence too)

    I feel wary of the behaviours and actions that I am observing. These indicate that the senior member of staff maintains power and status through destabilising those in less senior positions. Behaviours and actions with regard to those more senior are interesting too- professional, responsible, flattering, fawning (giving slightly flirty nick names to them if they are of the opposite sex).

    It is very difficult to keep this member of staff at arms length, as one needs to be aware of what is going on in order to have a damage limitation (MAJAX) handy.

    The distressed colleague was supported- I shared my work with her, photocopied extra items, ensured that copies of whiteboard presentations were sent. I will follow through with the supportive actions mentioned by the previous posters.

    However, I am deeply concerned about the more senior member of staff, their motivations and the inevitable consequences of their actions.

    JeannieMc and notsonorthernlass like this.
  11. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    This will be no consolation to you at all, but where I do my voluntary teaching in Spain, this is dead easy.

    Theo, can you do Year 6 for a couple of hours while Paco goes to the Dr?

    I walk in, ask What subject is it now? Get out your textbook. What page are we on?

    There is an official textbook. Well, there is a choice of them, but once the school has got it, it has two pages per lesson - 4 pages for Literacy or Numeracy. Teacher's Book has the answers to everything.

    It's dead simple, and very very very awful teaching.

    :( :( :(

    I go off-script all the time. Vaguely following the outline (unless its Numeracy which I stick to like Velcro), but getting group work, presentations, and questioning that isn't in the book.

    I also have no hesitation in telling them that the book is wrong.

    :) :) :)

    E.g. Question in pupils' book. Why does it rain more in the mountains?

    Explanation given both in Teacher's Book and, on next page, in pupils' book:

    The clouds bump against the mountains, get torn, and the rain falls out, so it rains more up in the mountains.

    (Just letting my hair down a bit here folks, after this morning's horrors. This is what I mean if you don't know why. )

    Best wishes

  12. slingshotsally

    slingshotsally Star commenter

    I am always pleased when anything I post merits a response from you...

    And yes it would be lovely to have a set text, a national curriculum book..

    BUT no. Our planning is individual to the cohort we are teaching, we can tinker with a few things for our classes, but the objectives and lesson will be mostly the same.

    JeannieMc likes this.
  13. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Bet the teaching is better in your school @slingshotsally , than in one where everyone just follows a textbook . . .

    Best wishes

    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  14. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Time, a shoulder, a box of tissues and words of encouragement may not seem much but will be gratefully appreciated. The lady with the Earl Grey helped me maintain perspective when things were rough.
    I would suggest that you join together with a variety of instant lessons that can be used next time you're dumped in the poop.
    Stay strong
  15. Jolly_Roger1

    Jolly_Roger1 Star commenter

    In my last few years in teaching, I saw things that I had never seen happen before, such as colleagues just walk away. I remember one chap, in his mid-fifties, who was being given a very public and humiliating tongue-lashing, at a staff meeting, by someone decades his junior, who just laid down his keys on his chair, walked out and didn't come back! We were all to stunned to cheer.
    JeannieMc and InkyP like this.
  16. HelenREMfan

    HelenREMfan Star commenter

    Shocking ! Why do we allow such things to happen? The trouble is "divide and rule" wins so much of the time :(
    JeannieMc likes this.
  17. slingshotsally

    slingshotsally Star commenter

    The thing is, I was so pleased to get a permanent position after supply for a number of years. It has the potential of being a great school.

    Unfortunately, the school is losing too many staff too quickly and retention is very poor. In any other industry this would be considered a terrible indictment of management.

    I often wonder if the HT has actually analysed which Phase Leaders seem to be losing most staff. If it seems that a Phase/Key stage is having staff passing through almost as though an enema has been administered, then you would have to question leadership of that phase.

    As teachers we are expected to reflect on our teaching, where is the reflection of the HT and SMT with regard to management? It seems that the HT and SMT are deliberately ignoring staff retention and prefer the status quo rather than attempt to do anything about it at all.

    There is no glory in dealing with retention- nor any opportunities for being heroic in a stable staffing situation!

  18. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    I should jolly well hope so!

    Excellent point, @slingshotsally . Should be central focus of their PM.

    Best wishes

    JeannieMc and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  19. slingshotsally

    slingshotsally Star commenter

    Thanks Theo,

    JeannieMc likes this.
  20. marlin

    marlin Star commenter

    sabrinakat, JeannieMc and Lara mfl 05 like this.

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