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Possible capabilities

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by cbogue, Feb 6, 2018.

  1. cbogue

    cbogue New commenter

    Just in need of some advice...

    I’m in my 4th year of teaching and up until the end of last year I had all good and outstanding observations.

    At the end of last year I had a pretty bad lesson obs. I had a really hard class and some serious stuff going on in my personal life. Then summer came and I had a lot to deal with in my personal life and when I started again I was feeling anxious and bogged down after only a few weeks. I had been promoted to year group leader before the bad obs and this added loads of pressure plus my deputy taught part time in my year group and I felt pressure from all angles. I stepped down from my year group leader position in January so I could focus on my teaching.

    Anyway, this lead to some inadequate and requires improvement observations. I have been on an informal support plan since before Christmas. I actually can’t fault my school they have been very supportive and can see that there is other stuff going on that is effecting me.

    I got a bit better at one point but it wasn’t being shown consistently. I’ve been told that if I haven’t improved by Feb half term then I’ll have a meeting with the head and the union rep to discuss capabilities. I will find this out on Friday. The reason I’m feeling anxious isn’t my head dropped in on my phonics lesson today and I’m not feeling very positive about it. I’m hoping I’ll have another drop in where I can hopefully show how hard I have been working to improve before Friday but we are doing practice tests all week so there isn’t much time. Plus I haven’t had many obs over the past couple of weeks but I really feel I have improved.

    Anyway, I’ve already let my head know that I’m looking for other jobs closer to my family and she’s been very supportive. I just wondered what do I do if the worst happens on Friday? Do I continue or leave? I can’t see how I’ll get another job with capabilities on my record and the thought of not being near my family by September fills me with dread. My school have been supportive but this has been the hardest time of my life and I’ve spent whole evenings in tears.
  2. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    Get some sleep, think about it another time.
    grumpydogwoman and pepper5 like this.
  3. clarefrankie

    clarefrankie Occasional commenter

    if you have a look through this group you will see that many many other teachers have been in your position. Some people have gone on capabilities after just one dodgy lesson. perhaps you could hand your notice in (but give an end date of end of summer) so that capabilities does not show up on your record? but discuss with your union first xxx bless you
  4. Anonymouse4

    Anonymouse4 Occasional commenter

    That's really hard @cbogue. I had some personal issues over the last 18 months: surgery and also nursing my dad through cancer then bereavement when he died. I really tried to prioritise work as much as possible through all that but in a really unsupportive work environment.

    It seems there is little compassion left in the profession now and we all have to be robots rather than humans.

    Don't let what has happened this year make you think you aren't a great teacher. It sounds like you have a very high level of integrity and an open line of communication with the head to tell them you're looking for other work. I really hope your HT respects that and that you find a fresh start somewhere else soon.

    Get support from your union rep regarding the capability ASAP. It's best not to have it on your teaching record (even though I'm sure most heads know it's now used in a farcical and bullying manner to drive perfectly good teachers out in many many cases).
  5. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    It sounds as if you are normally a good teacher, but circumstances this year have just knocked that. It also sounds as if your school and head are supportive and understand that. I'm afraid I don't know what your best course of action is, but hopefully if you are applying for new jobs, the head will not be basing their reference on just this year. Whether it comes to leaving mid-year or having capability on your record, you need to stay clear in your mind that you are a good teacher who just had a difficult year.
  6. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    Advice here is limited by us not knowing the school and it's capability policy. The Union Rep should know both by now. Make sure you have a long chat on precisely what you need to know about options.

    All the best.
  7. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    They've reduced the number of obs? Probably means they feel you're improving?

    You believe they're trying to help you.

    How is your job-hunt going?

    Plead with your HT (but not in a desperate way) for more informal support. Suggest more team-teaching. You're planning to leave. You're serious about it. That will give them a chance to recruit someone else. It won't help anyone at this point to put you on Capability. Is it really worth while making such a big investment in that arduous process when you'll be leaving of your own accord? If you represent a problem for them? Well, that'll be solved when you leave.

    Do they believe you're so inadequate that you deserve to be booted out of the profession? If they do think that then I'd say they're duty-bound to put you on Capability. Fair enough. But your practice will probably improve when you're closer to home and more relaxed so are they really saying you're not a proper person to be a teacher?

    Really up your game with applications. And reiterate that low-key support is more likely to be effective in your case and given your set of circumstances.
  8. Timeforachange2017

    Timeforachange2017 New commenter

    Sorry to hear about your situation, which sounds all too familiar to me.

    I would advise you to speak to your union rep asap. I felt better after talking to mine as it made me realise that I hadn't been treated fairly. She also persuaded me to go to my GP which is what I needed to do at the time. I ended up signed off with work related stress and the union supported me to negotiate a settlement agreement. I managed to get out before being put on formal capability thankfully. Even though my agreed reference isn't amazing, it's still better than the alternative. I know that if I had stayed, I would have ended up on capability, as nothing I could do was good enough and my anxiety and stress were making matters worse.

    It's hard to come to terms with when you haven't had any problems with the school before. It's scary how fast things can change though...

    I hope manage to do what you need to do in order to start feeling better. Feel free to PM me if you want to. x
  9. Anonymouse4

    Anonymouse4 Occasional commenter

    Great advice @grumpydogwoman
  10. cbogue

    cbogue New commenter

    Thank you all very much for your kind words and advice.

    I think my headteacher is going to start capabilities. I feel devastated and lost honestly.

    I’m going to look into contacting my rep and keep applying for jobs. It’s just a kick in the teeth after everything I’ve worked for.
  11. baxterbasics

    baxterbasics Senior commenter

    You need an urgent meeting with your union rep to negotiate an exit from that school. If the capabilities become formal, you will find it very hard to get another job. The union rep will negotiate a settlement plan so that you can leave with a decent reference.

    Sorry that this is happening to you, but believe me, it is far from uncommon. God knows why anybody would become a teacher in this threatening and demoralising climate.
  12. clarefrankie

    clarefrankie Occasional commenter

    do not go into the meeting without contacting your rep
    agathamorse likes this.
  13. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    My advice... from being in a similar situation a while back...




    Capability can be used to destroy your career. A new school, a fresh start, could be just what you need.
  14. Fer888

    Fer888 Occasional commenter

    I agree - you need to get a regional rep involved asap as possible and before this moves into formal capabilities. I too have been at a school where nothing I did was good enough. I handed in my resignation and moved abroad to teach. Best decision I ever made. In the June of the my last term I organized an Olympics Sports Day for the whole school. Made my day when all these parents came up to the Headteacher saying it was the best sports day they had ever attended and how lucky she was to have me in the school. Seeing her sour face having to agree how great I was made me laugh
  15. jazzyjess22

    jazzyjess22 New commenter

    I have recently negotiated an SA with the help of the union. This was after being told I would go on formal capability. I know what you’re going through and it’s horrible.

    The feeling that I don’t have to go back into the situation for much longer is wonderful!

    Absolutely do not go into any meetings without speaking to your rep first as even one meeting about capability can set off the process and the school are then duty bound to put it on a reference.

    This one situation does not dictate who you are as a teacher or a person, keep that in mind.
  16. Flowersinspring

    Flowersinspring Senior commenter

    This. Just this. A mantra.
    Anonymouse4 likes this.

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