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Oh dear....

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by luvinit, Sep 9, 2011.

  1. I have to think quite carefully how to phrase this problem as I think it could be very easily identifiable. I joined my current school quite recently and I am very happy there. I took a pay cut to join the school (lost my TLR) because I found the headteacher to be inspirational and can honestly say that I have learnt a massive amount, and feel that my practice is greatly improved with the support of the SLT.
    All of this is great so the problem: At the end of last year the HT called me into his office and explained that sadly he had been forced to start competency procedures against one of my colleagues. This person is someone I have known and respected for years but since starting to work with them again realise that their practice needs some attention. He explained that he wanted to lighten her work load to give her chance to act on her targets and asked me if I would share her co-ordinator role, as a temporary post, as he knew that I had done this role very successfully at my previous school. While I was worried about her response I was also really excited by the opportunity.
    Today we had our first joint meeting with the HT to sort out our action plan, the HT wants me to lead one key stage and her another. She refused to speak at all during the meeting. Eventually the HT sent me out and said that he would speak with me later to resolve some of the issues. I understand her frustration but feel that I just accepted a role which was offered. I thought all of this could be resolved between us as we have a long and happy history and she would come round to the fact that this is a temporary situation to give her the space she needs. Then, as usual, I went to the pub with colleagues for a couple of quickies after work tonight. To my horror absolutely everyone there had been told that I was employed to ensure that she got the sack, and that I had been conspiring against her from the day we met 10 years ago. There are now 7 members of staff that point blank refuse to talk to me, and after a few drinks one of them hurled some very distressing and frankly obscene abuse at me. Two people are apparently going to call the union to complain that I was given the job without it being advertised.
    Obviously I know that some time needs to pass for people to accept this, but how on earth do I handle this on Monday, especially given that I am running an inset after school?
  2. DaisysLot

    DaisysLot Senior commenter

    Firstly - the union will tell any such staff who come forth with that complaint that no job other than that of headteacher *has* to be advertised at all, and certainly not the passing of temporary responsibility to support another colleague. Secondly - I despair at this kind of 'not speaking to so and so' behavior in teaching - I mean bloody hell - Do they have an average age of 10???? Hang in there. Do your job. Go home and enjoy the company of those who don't subscribe to staffroom nonsensical politics.
  3. Torey

    Torey Occasional commenter

    Tell the head what happened and let him deal with it. He supports you so if anyone does anything inappropriate he will know the background.
  4. lardylegs

    lardylegs Occasional commenter

    You are so clearly not telling us the whole story here. How do you know these people for 'ten years' if you have only just started at the school? Tell the truth.
  5. We worked together at a different school then went our seperate ways.
  6. Zadok1

    Zadok1 New commenter

    I agree that you should probably have a quiet word with the head teacher, the bottom line is that he put you in the difficult position in the first place and should therefore support you. If I'm honest, although I would usually recommend getting the union involved, I don't think I would at this stage.
    Why don't you ask the head to have a quiet word with the other teacher in question, to reassure her that he is trying to be supportive because she is a valued member of staff and he just wants her to up her game a bit. Hopefully if he has started capability and if it's really being done in the way it's mean to be... with the intention of helping the member of staff, rather than a fast track to sacking as is often the case... then hopefully he could show how targets can be achieved and give the process a reasonable time limit, the light at the end of the tunnel. You might also ask the head if he could mention to her that his intention in appointing you to support her in this period was because he thought you were friends and that would alleviate rather than add to the anxiety she might experience. The point I'm trying to make is that if you can find any way to fix the relationship with your old friend it would soon put an end to the terrible behaviour of the other staff... while leaving you with a professional and mature perspective on the whole thing.
    If the head teacher isn't in a position to talk to her... why don't you send her an email explaining your side of the 'story' and how much you wanted to support her etc... I would also give her an account of what took place in the pub, the way the others have reacted and how it made you feel, if she really has been a friend for 10 years she might realize how horrible the situation is for you and make an effort to come around. If she doesn't then it seems she was never the friend you thought she was and she not only has issues with her standards of work but serious professional conduct problems and the capability process might just be what she does need to make her aware of it.

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