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Resigned from teaching... Should I go to my union about what happened?

Discussion in 'Career clinic' started by streboramme15, Nov 3, 2015.

  1. streboramme15

    streboramme15 New commenter


    I have resigned from my current teaching post and I finished at half term. I had been a teacher for 2 years at another school and I had done well - the 2 classes I taught made very good progress, my observation / learning walk feedback was always good and the children I taught were happy and focussed. The school had a lot of challenges (incredibly disruptive pupils, SEN children who weren't supported appropriately), and this job was also over a 1 hour drive from home and this just was an added exhaustion on an already exhausting job. So, I made the decision to move to a different school and I started a new job at a school much closer to home in September. All went well for the first few weeks. The school seemed to be happy with how I was getting on. In the third week I was told I had made a really good start on my books and my next step was to get the children to respond to my marking.... they are year 1! However, as this was the only thing identified for me to work on, I dedicated time to doing this. I was also told that they wanted the continuous provision done differently (I hadn't been spoken to about this before I started - I did what I had done in my old school but when they told me they wanted it done differently, I was given time out of class to change it to match their planning format - so far, so good!) There were also concerns about the behaviour of some children in the class (mainly in the playground) and I was told they would start a Thrive group straight away, although this didn't actually happen until the seventh week.

    In the fourth week, we had a learning walk which involved my head teacher and 2 other head teachers from different schools. They came in classrooms for 10 minutes, 2 times throughout the morning and spoken to the children, looked at books etc. Whilst they were in my classroom, the first time we were doing story making so the children were up and about, acting out a story they were learning. The second time, I was working with a guided group whilst the other children were doing continuous provision. All was well in the classroom - the children were excited and I had to remind a few children about their behaviour (being too noisy, not sharing etc) but they were engaged.

    At the end of the day, I was told by my head teacher that everything they had seen was inadequate - apparently, the books showed that the children's progress had gone backwards (yet I had had good feedback the week before), I had been story making for too long (they came in 30 minutes after play time and we didn't start it straight away) so this made the teaching inadequate and one child had picked up a chair in the role play area so this made the safety in the classroom environment inadequate. I asked if the child had thrown the chair (knowing that they hadn't) and the head said "No, but they picked it up and it could have been very dangerous." This was topped off by me being told that if I didn't improve after a six week plan, I would be put on informal capability and I would struggle to get another teaching job! I put my heart and soul into the job for the previous month and ran myself into the ground to keep on top of everything with minimal support. I had made myself unwell in the process. I had already been questioning whether I could sustain the work load and deal with the pressure for the whole academic year and I had also questioned whether teaching was the career for me. I was so angry, shocked and upset with the feedback, given that I was giving everything and things seemed to have been going well that I resigned from my post the next day. I left at half term. I was on the point of having a nervous breakdown and I was not sleeping or eating properly but I went in every day for the next 3 weeks, planned and taught the best I could and the children's last write they did with me was so much better than their one from the first day. Many parents commented on their children's progress and told me how happy they were.

    I will not go back into teaching ever. All I want to know is whether this situation is as outrageous / badly handled as I think it is. I am shocked that I could be told I will struggle to get another teaching job, 4 weeks into a new job when I had worked on the 2 things they had asked me to develop. I also know that essentially telling someone they are incompetent is not the way to motivate people! Everyone close to me has said I should go to my teaching union about the way this whole situation was handled. Whilst part of me just wants to walk away and move on with my life, the other part is disgusted that the school seems to think that is an acceptable way to speak to and treat people.

    Should I go to the union, or should I walk away?
  2. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    Honestly? Walk away.

    You will be unable to prove that you were treated as you describe, whereas the Head will present copious amounts of documentary evidence to 'demonstrate' that there were issues of capability and that he behaved reasonably towards you in the circumstances.
    ilovesooty and pepper5 like this.
  3. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    GLsghost knows what she's talking about.
    monicabilongame likes this.
  4. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    What a horrible situation you have been in!

    I do hope that you are beginning to feel better.

    The first thing that springs to mind is : why now? Why not when this learning walk took place? Why didn't you get help from your union then instead of resigning there and then?

    It certainly seems to me from what you have said above that this was not well handled. Apart from anything else, I would like to think that a Head would not accept a resignation from someone who was obviously upset and under stress from being told that there were concerns. In such a situation, I would prefer the Head to say that this seemed like a spur of the moment thing, that you had not given proper thought to it, so s/he was refusing to accept it.

    And to sit down and outline the support that would be put in place for you.

    I think that having your union on your side at the point when you felt like resigning would have been helpful, helped you to see things more clearly.

    As for talking to them now, just check that you are still a member . Then sit down and type up very clearly and succinctly, with dates and names, what happened throughout the half term before you get in touch with the union regional office.

    And ask yourself some questions

    1. What do you think that the union could do about it now that you've left?

    2. What would you like the outcome to be?

    3. Is this actually likely to be achieved?

    4. Are you prepared to go through some difficult moments to achieve 2 above?

    I am asking these questions because I think that you should have a clear view here of both what you want, what is possible, and what us desirable.

    And what is impossible and undesirable.

    So give this a good deal of thought.

    You would be best advised, in my honest opinion, to write it all down in full detail yo get it off your chest, .and start looking for other jobs.

    That would be the kindest thing for yourself in the end.

    Best wishes

  5. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    The others can type faster than I!

    So there are three views with one opinion.


    Best wishes

    a_muse likes this.
  6. streboramme15

    streboramme15 New commenter

    First of all, many thanks for your advice. I really value it.
    With hindsight, I should have contacted my union when this happened - however I have never had any dealings with my union as I had never needed to and I didn't really know what they would do and in all honesty, I wanted to avoid any more confrontation and just get through to my leaving date. It's now that I've left and the dust has settled that I have talked about it more and this is when other teachers have said I should go to a union. Although I'm not expecting to gain anything from this myself, I just want to avoid the same thing happening to someone else, as since leaving, I've found out that other members of staff at the school have been put in the same situation several times and it just seems to be the way that the management of the school deal with people.
  7. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    I can see why you now, with hindsight, want to "do something" about the head's behaviour, but realistically that boat has sailed. You are no longer employed at the school, you've negotiated your own exit and left. You are now an ex-employee so why would the head even be willing to discuss it with the union? The union cannot 'warn off' potential staff members applying for jobs there.

    What, specifically, is it that you want the union to do "to avoid the same thing happening to someone else"?

    Did you negotiate a reference?
  8. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    @TheoGriff An awful sign of the times that you seem to be writing that phrase more frequently here on TES.
    jomaimai and GLsghost like this.
  9. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Too true, @snowyhead , too true.


    Best wishes

  10. ilovesooty

    ilovesooty Star commenter

    Sorry to hear about what happened but honestly - just walk.
  11. Katierobertson

    Katierobertson New commenter

    My experience is that Unions are pretty useless for the hard core offending management anyway.

    In the end, walk away. Even taking a backwards career step e.g. supply is better than being in a toxic workplace. I had extensive documentation as to how I was working and my toxic manager refused to even look at it, instead feeding me innuendo and nonsense.

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