I am a new head of department in a core subject, as from September. The school I am at recently converted to academy status complete with new name, new uniform (but the same staff and of course, the same children.) It isn't a brilliant intake by any means, however by the same token it is nowhere near as bad as some would like to make it out to be. However, results in English have not been good and one of the reasons I was brought in was (supposedly) to address this. The department have not really gelled very well with me (or I with them to be honest) - one woman in particular I have to admit I find rather irritating. She certainly cares about the students, but she makes a constant and endless fuss about things: going into her classroom to get a piece of data can take around quarter of an hour because she starts to ask me about other things. I have tried to avoid her in break and lunch times therefore which has resulted in the department having their lunch in the office while I am in my classroom alone! They are also so negative about everything I try and do that I do get really weary and fed up of it. Every time I make a suggestion, or try to change something, or try to work around a problem I am told it wouldn't work and given the various reasons as to why. I know I have to be firm and on a few occasions have been, but on other occasions have felt I had to back down. I don't feel I am properly running the department. A part of me feels guilty as they are hard-working and committed although I think work needs to be smarter rather than harder to coin an SLT phrase. If I ever try to show I am a nice person by making a joke or by praising somebody it ends up backfiring on me by an embarrassing silence or it being brushed off quite brusquely. Teaching in the department really isn't wonderful, hence our low GCSE results, but I am feeling increasingly as if I am trying to teach and manage from a distance. I'm wondering if I should just start to become the "HOD from hell" but it's so at odds with what I believe in and who I am that I'm not sure I can bring myself to. Any advice, please?