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Only just back and reminded how awful it is - advice please

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by sarton51, Aug 14, 2019.

  1. sarton51

    sarton51 New commenter

    I have been a lurker on here for a while but rarely posted but would value some advice with this. I wont go into too much detail but basically I work in a school I feel very unhappy in. I am an experienced, competent teacher (was highly regarded in previous schools) but made a move to this school a few years ago and have known since early days that my face does not fit. I have been on the receiving end of some very unprofessional comments, am ignored by significant key players in the toxic wee in crowd that dominate school activities, management are inexperienced and shy away from tackling the problems of which there are many.
    I have had a series of very inexperienced line managers - a revolving door kind of situation. Each one has not really got to grips with the job and then left and then replaced by a newer, even less experienced version. Wearing as I have to effectively start afresh each time and show them the roles. I'm unpromoted.
    Anyway, I was seriously ill last year - maybe stress related who knows, and had a lengthy absence. On return , I learn by email that my remit has been changed significantly. No prior consultation. Cant go into too much detail as it would be easy to identify me if any of my colleagues read this. I was really taken aback but did say I would give it a go. Not my area of expertise or anything I would have chosen to do. Honestly feels like they just want rid of me. I feel devalued, belittled, ignored , deskilled, unhappy and not even sure what my role now is. I have attempted to address this with SLT but am dismissed in either quite a hostile or patronising way. They aren't well regarded by most of the staff have to say. Being referred to by one of them as "an expensive resource" is maybe a clue to how I'm viewed.
    I have also enjoyed great relationships with my pupils, enjoyed working with them and in previous schoosl, had good relationships with my colleagues. My current school is different. In my absence, I had zero contact from any teaching colleagues. On my return, some people did not acknowledge my return to work at all. Having been critically ill, I feel I owe it to myself to find a better place to work. I had hoped things might improve but after only 2 days back, I know they wont.I feel trapped to be honest.
    Any words of wisdom, advice would be most welcome. Thank you!
  2. starlightexpress

    starlightexpress Occasional commenter

    I always say, and have said, the moment I know that I’m unhappy in a school/ organisation (having tried all strategies to support feeling better about it), I will move on. I’ve followed through on this. Tough decision sometimes, but always the right one.

    That would be my advice.

    ROSIEGIRL Senior commenter

    Much sympathy to you.

    It sounds like you've tried all the obvious things to make it work but to no avail.

    One sentence in your post stands out to me -

    "Having been critically ill, I feel I owe it to myself to find a better place to work."

    The situation at your school isn't going to change so maybe start looking for something different?

    Have you spoken to your union about these issues? Not the school rep! They might be able to support and advise you in the short term while you do your job searching.
  4. smurphy6

    smurphy6 Senior commenter

    Definitely look for a new job.

    Your current situation says everything about them and nothing about you.

    Of course no one can be expected to like and be friendly with everyone they work with but there should be an expectation in all work situations that people are at the very least professional and polite. That is the way I was raised so would find the situation you are in now stressful.

    Best wishes to you from me for the future. There are lovely schools out there and I am fortunate to be in one. It makes such a difference feeling valued at work. Find a school that gives you this.
  5. grumbleweed

    grumbleweed Lead commenter

    Plan your exit, preferably as soon as possible. Mr GW sttok out an awful job in the vain hope it would get better. It never dId. Even his GP told him to get out and quickly. Your health is more important. If finances are difficult then you might have to just find something before you can go, but if you can afford to be out of work a bit, then I'd resign as soon as you can and just grit my teeth until I can go. I had a short 3 month break between jobs and it was the best thing I ever did.

    Good luck with the next few weeks.
  6. HolyMahogany

    HolyMahogany Occasional commenter

    I am guessing that you are on UPS - sorry to have to say this, the last thing you need right now is a load of stress in your life but I fear you are being 'set up'
    The use of the phrase 'an expensive resource' rings all the alarm bells, and the changes to your job in your absence is a serious concern.
    I fear that you will be pushed into informal capability at some point during the year.
    If you are not already in a union - join and get advice, check out these forums for advice on capability.
    Make sure that you have records of all meetings and watch your back.
    It sounds like you are already planning your exit - focus on this and pursue every likely prospect, this does not sound like the right place for you anyway.
    All the best, try to be positive, things can and I am sure will get better.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2019
  7. tonymars

    tonymars Established commenter

    Sympathy. I echo the above. an expensive resource says it all.
    lindenlea, pepper5, sarton51 and 2 others like this.
  8. Marshall

    Marshall Star commenter

    Life is more precious than this. Get out. Quickly.
  9. Bedlam3

    Bedlam3 Lead commenter

    I echo getting out as soon as you can and in the meantime get written evidence where you can and keep it just in case.
  10. sarton51

    sarton51 New commenter

    Thanks Rosiegirl - yes I've been now in touch with my Union, and not the school rep. Don't trust her. Far too friendly with management and lets things "slip accidentally"
    pepper5 and ROSIEGIRL like this.
  11. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Glad to hear that you've recovered. Sorry to hear you've returned to a cold shoulder. Good advice above.
    I would start polishing my CV. Spend a bit of time thinking about what your ideal job would look like. Then accept that that job probably doesn't exactly exist. Then apply for jobs somewhere between the ideal and "I can work here for a while ". Good luck.
  12. sarton51

    sarton51 New commenter

    Thanks HolyMahogany. I teach in Scotland so the terminology is different although the message is the same! I fear the same. They arent very subtle (or smart) my management team really. It sadly is not a place I wish to be for much longer. I cant see things getting anything but worse.
    lindenlea and pepper5 like this.
  13. sarton51

    sarton51 New commenter

    Thanks phlogiston - the cold shoulder isnt a new thing, just so much more galling when I have returned after being critically ill. Thought it might have prompted a change but now see, why would it? If I wasnt valued before, I'm even less valued now having been absent. Ironic if you knew the school motto but would be too revealing!!
  14. sarton51

    sarton51 New commenter

    Thanks smurphy6. I agree. I dont want new friends necessarily as I have good friends outwith work, thankfully, but basic civility would be appreciated. I do find it very stressful and it makes me feel very uncomfortable at work.
    pepper5 likes this.
  15. sarton51

    sarton51 New commenter

    Thank you to everyone who posted a reply. I find it interesting that with only knowing the minimum of detail, you are all telling me the same thing. I know I need to get out of that toxic environment. The problem is I'm only a few years away from retirement. I will need another major operation within the next year or so which will mean I need several months off to recover and, maybe the most difficult bit to accept, the way I have been treated over the past few years has basically knocked my confidence badly. I had been thinking for all those reasons maybe I just need to find a way to deal with work and accept it isnt great but dont think I can do that. After only 2 days back, I felt miserable and fed up. I spend months in hospital and survived serious illness and managed all that with a positive , upbeat attitude. 2 days back at work and I feel crushed. They arent going to do this to me for the next few years. I have contacted my union and will explain the situation and see what they recommend. In the meantime, thank you for all your support and kind words. it is reassuring to know that some teachers still have kindness and compassion at the centre of their thoughts.
  16. scott1980

    scott1980 Occasional commenter

    Definitely get out. Good luck, I've been in your position. It's not easy but it is possible. Keep smiling. See your gp if it all gets too much and talk to the union.
    pepper5, curlylouise and sarton51 like this.
  17. sunshineneeded

    sunshineneeded Lead commenter

    Oh sarton51, I am so sorry you are in this horrible situation. I have nothing to add to the excellent advice already given, but didn't want to read and run. Keep talking to your union. Is there supply work available in your area - would that be an option? I hope you find a way to get out of the toxic environment very soon. Sending a hug x
    pepper5, curlylouise and sarton51 like this.
  18. Catjellycat

    Catjellycat Occasional commenter


    I left a job where I thought I’d be for life when after two periods of emergency sick leave (as in two emergency surgeries) in six months it became clear that I really was a warm body to stick in front of some children. That was my value to them.

    It was so hard and I made myself so unwell debating it. I will never ever do that myself again and I advocate strongly that no-one else does.

    A young colleague died in a terrible way recently. Everyone was very upset. There was leeway for a week or so on deadlines. Her job advert went up two weeks after she died. That’s not callous or horrible but the truth of it all.

    Leave and look for another job.
  19. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    Get yourself out ASAP.
    pepper5 likes this.
  20. FrauRussell

    FrauRussell New commenter

    I realise there are long standing issues for you in this school, but one vital thing that seems to be missing here is return to work support after your serious illness, including reasonable adjustments where needed. If this is the case, then that may be because of inexperienced leaders with inadequate HR support. However, that's no excuse for them, it is a duty of care and health and safety requirement. It probably comes from Europe so Scotland should be the same. That may be something for your union to follow up while you job hunt. As an experienced and older teacher it's not impossible to move jobs. Lots of teachers manage it, so hopefully you will too. As others have said, life and health are precious. Take care.
    sarton51 and pepper5 like this.

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