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NQT's - **** Mentors ? -- Do you realise you are being bullied ?

Discussion in 'NQTs and new teachers' started by a19pb, Mar 20, 2008.

  1. Many NQT's come onto this forum as they think that, despite doing their best, they believe they are failing. Many of these people did really well as student teachers and are very keen. A common problem is mentors who, instead of supporting their charges, choose to undermine and damage them.

    NQT's generally 'want to succeed' and 'try to please' but many don't realise that even though they are coping well, their mentors are giving them contrary feedback and are also telling lies about them to others. The result is a loss of confidence, a feeling of isolation and can be very damaging.

    Why would a mentor do such a thing? A good question. The most simple answer is that they do it just because they can and because they enjoy seeing others being harmed. These 'workplace bullies' do not have a normal mindset. (no guilt, no empathy, no remorse, no conscience).

    It is important that all those starting in the profession take time to read about and understand how workplace bullies operate, why they do what they do and how to avoid being damaged by these people.

    All that said, there are excellent mentors and excellent schools and of course, you will make mistakes.

    a good place to start is :-


    Please don't assume that you are too good to be bullied or that you know how they operate. Its a whole new world for most.

    another thread is


    some of the links at the start don't work, but they are fixed later in the thread.

    Enjoy your career - believe in yourself.

    yorker27, vhsemper and Sanz1981 like this.
  2. EVH28

    EVH28 New commenter

    I was certainly bullied out of my first post which I left after failing the first term as it became clear that I couldn't trust the people who were meant to be supporting me.

    I only realised the extent to which I was bullied after I left & worked in other schools on supply.

    I'm on a long-term supply placement now & am really enjoying it. I feel my efforts are recognised and am motivated to work hard; and all because the support is there.

    One thing I took issue with in my first post was the definition of 'support'. They seemed to have a completely different idea of what support was and made it clear that they wouldn't even consider they were at fault in any way.

    My point being, don't always assume it's your fault. You have a better understanding of what support is as you have just come from an training year whereby it's common for one placement to be better at providing support than the other. But it is school's who are unable to provide adequate support who will turn it on you and make you wholly responsible for the mistakes you make.

    It is becoming apparent to me that teaching is incredibly political and had I understood this before embarking on that bloody hard training year, I may have thought twice about it. As it is, I'm here now and may as well stick with it...at least for now.
    berolontia and vhsemper like this.
  3. I agree with EVH28. Some mentors think that support is simply confined to undertaking the statutory rquirements such as observations, mentor meetings, 10% timetable reduction etc. However, what is lacking from a lot of these mentors is the psychological suppport such as reassurances when your struggling with behaviour, giving observation feedbacks which are very negative and very little acknowledgement of positive contributions made.
    When you get the LEA involved, these mentors will get a seal of approval from the LEA person as the mentor had fulfilled all the legal requirements to NQTs.
    These mentors are therefore allowed to continue to bully NQTs with their unfair assessments etc.
  4. I was totally knocked down by an observation done by my HoD. It was extremely damming although it was classed as satisfactory (which I did not find out until several days later) In the meantime I had spent a whole lunchtime in floods of tears in my classroom, gone home and carried out being a complete wreck. I then wrote 4 sides of issues I had with the feedback comments and took them to the Head the following morning. I have since had a meeting with the HoD and she has withdrawn 2 of her comments. Had a job interview the other day in which I had to teach a lesson. This did wonders for my confidence as I realise now how good I am and should be starting a new school in Sept. I know I shouldn't have took it to heart so much but it was the culmination of several bullying incidents. My advice is don't put up with it. Write it all down and go to the Head and or union.
    vhsemper likes this.
  5. One of the things teacher training does is teach you to take criticism.
  6. There's constructive critisism, which should be helpful, and then there're just damning reports which are there to undermine, give no recognition of what you *can* do and constantly focus on what you can't do, with targets set which often have not bearing on the areas they've said you need to improve. These same reports often dismiss areas you've set out to improve in the past, are making headway in and are now considered 'unimportant', just to REALLY make their point. PLus of course the report where what is *said* is not, and will not be confirmed in writing, despite requests. PLus instances where when fellow teachers do something which is praised as 'fantastic planning', and yet when you do the same, under the same plans, it's planned 'completely inappropriatly'.

    Teacher training doesn't teach you how to deal with bullies, but perhaps, given the volume of tthem, it should!

    Not very eloquently put perhaps, but it's only 7am!
    vhsemper likes this.
  7. PS. That was in response to answerman!
  8. Yes, that's all true but you do get bullies in any job. You have to develop a thick skin. There are nasty people around and they will try and pick on newcomers. They see it as sport. You have to show them you are fine, laugh at their bullying attempts. Obviously, bullying is not on.

    Also, you need to be pro-active and come forward if you have a problem with a mentor. They are not mind readers. Like most teachers they have little or no time to deal with matters due to the pressures of the job. Many mentors take on the role relunctantly as it is a role that can be passed around and seen as a burden.

    Also, believe it or not, like your ITT providers, mentors should leave you to your own devices to fend for yourselves - it's part of the training.

    'Toughening Up' if you like.

    You are going to meet worse situations throughout your teaching career - you just get used to it. Now is the time to learn the strategies to deal with the bullies.

  9. I've worked in all sorts of industries, and different countries, and despite having met with very unpleasant people in management, have so far found the worst to be those who ran my last school.

    I agree, there is a degree of 'toughening up' esp to perhaps younger people who are working for the first time (that's not intend to be patronising) but there does seem to be a lot of bullying going on in schools, and when you're an NQT there is that need to look after yourself. Now the NQT year is no longer simply an induction to help ease you in and look after you. furthering your skills, but is a make it or break it, I think some people have taken the 'power' of mentoring to their head and use it to further their own careers at the expense of those they're there to support.

    I for example received 2 pages of negative feedback on a lesson *I* observed SMT teach.... go figure.
    Rfortheday likes this.
  10. Part of the higher proportion of bullies in teaching comes back to the 'actors or Hitlers' old chestnut of the personality types that are attracted to teaching. (IMO)
    vhsemper likes this.
  11. It is an unpleasant characteristic of the profession. I would suggestion anyone coming into it to therefore be well prepared with strategies to fight the bullies.

    As you say, you have found the pervasiveness of bullying more apparent in teaching than in the other jobs/careers you have had.
  12. *suggest
  13. "It is an unpleasant characteristic of the profession"

    Think they should put that on the TV adverts?

    That'd have them rolling in.

    I got bullied for the first term as an NQT. It was bloody awful. I never want anything like that to ever happen to me again. I wasn't bullied at school and as a latecomer to the profession (I'm 30, but by the way could easily pass for 21) was never bullied in any other job and had even had a spell as an MD of my own company where nobody to my knowledge was bullied. It came as a shock, especially as I'm a lady with a fairly big pair of puppy's privates and 'life experience'. I also wasn't aware I was being bullied until someone pointed it out to me and it made perfect sense.

    Those balls are now even bigger because after the mini breakdown (I knew it was bad when I started crying in Sainsbury's because I couldn't decide what type of toilet roll to buy- seriously!) I decided to get 'political' and take the power back. I've still got an open case with my union and am in contact with my personnel department on a regular basis as I make a point of 'grassing up' and wrong doing flung in my direction and then emailing the DH to let her know exactly what I've told personnel about and who has recorded it. Also, I will be leaving the school at the end of this academic year to pursue a lifelong dream of working overseas.

    I've never felt more empowered. The confidence is soaring, and the bullies are in retreat. I do think you have to develop a 'thick skin' in one sense, because as I discovered no one at ate work will have your back except you- especially if there is an environment of bullying and all the bile that comes with that. My 'mentor' was so demoralised as she had been bullied for 17 years at this school that she was literally incapable of doing anything other than perpetuating their treatment.

    All I would say is know your rights and understand that leaving a place where you are being bullied is not 'running away' but in fact its making a conscious decision that your labour is your only commodity in the workplace and you decide where you will work and under what conditions.

    Lots of inverted commas in that 'shpeel', what what!

    Bullying is rife in a lot of professions, I would agree- my mother is a nurse and says its something she has come across in her trade too. Doesn't mean you have to put up with it or accept its just a "characteristic" of your chosen profession, does it?

    And a **** mentor isn't necessarily a sign of a bully- they might just be a **** mentor...!
    vhsemper likes this.
  14. Your story should give others relief and know that they are not alone. The general public should know what goes on. I salute you.
    vhsemper likes this.
  15. Thanks.

    Its not over till the fat lady sings, but leaving all this behind me and getting out is a grrrreat feeling!

    Its scary at first, but you do feel better for taking the bullsh1t by the horns. I would recommend it to anyone and urge people who are in a sinking ship to start bailing out and standing up for themsleves.
  16. I like the 'actors and Hitlers' theory, certainly rings true.

    Ironic too given the fond nickname I had for my old mentor ;-)
  17. Yes a retired gym mistress told me the 'actors or Hitlers' theory -and it is uncannyly true , once you look around you......
  18. Does this thread ring any bells?

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