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Sexism in the workplace

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by topcat82, Nov 11, 2011.

  1. Today I learned that one of my colleagues openly had a discussion with his class about me. He said he thought I was 'fit' and then the rest of the class had a discussion with him about which teachers they thought were good looking. Many of his students are also my students and are hormonal year 11s. Two of them are the most arrogant and sexist boys in the entire school and, as a result of this conversation one of them asked while I was forced to squeeze past him in the corrider 'would you **** her?'.
    I confronted the teacher and asked him not to discuss me in this way in front of his students, especially not said boys but he felt I was completely over-reacting and being sensitive. He felt the conversation was merely 'banter' and there was nothing with having these discussions and objectifying teachers in this way. I said I wanted to be viewed as their teacher and as an intelligent woman, not judged by a level of attractiveness but again, he could not see my point.
    Is this type of attitude normal in schools? (I am an NQT). I find it deeply insulting to not only be objectified in this way but also that a teacher is setting the example that it is perfectly acceptable to judge someone on their looks and not their intelligence or personality.
    I now feel incredibly angry but have no idea how to deal with this. I have to work with him every day so I don't think it will solve anything for me to pass on this info. Am I alone in this kind of thinking?
    TC
     
  2. Today I learned that one of my colleagues openly had a discussion with his class about me. He said he thought I was 'fit' and then the rest of the class had a discussion with him about which teachers they thought were good looking. Many of his students are also my students and are hormonal year 11s. Two of them are the most arrogant and sexist boys in the entire school and, as a result of this conversation one of them asked while I was forced to squeeze past him in the corrider 'would you **** her?'.
    I confronted the teacher and asked him not to discuss me in this way in front of his students, especially not said boys but he felt I was completely over-reacting and being sensitive. He felt the conversation was merely 'banter' and there was nothing with having these discussions and objectifying teachers in this way. I said I wanted to be viewed as their teacher and as an intelligent woman, not judged by a level of attractiveness but again, he could not see my point.
    Is this type of attitude normal in schools? (I am an NQT). I find it deeply insulting to not only be objectified in this way but also that a teacher is setting the example that it is perfectly acceptable to judge someone on their looks and not their intelligence or personality.
    I now feel incredibly angry but have no idea how to deal with this. I have to work with him every day so I don't think it will solve anything for me to pass on this info. Am I alone in this kind of thinking?
    TC
     
  3. Captain Obvious

    Captain Obvious New commenter

    I'd hope not. While students are always going to be judging every aspect of a teacher (down to their shoes in my case), it's not on for a member of staff to get involved in such discussions.
    I'd always tell students that it's not an appropriate conversation for a classroom and move on, even in the face of more mundane "I don't like Mr/Mrs/Miss/Dr X's lesson" I'll usually redirect with something along the lines of "Everyone has a different style". It's not fair or professional to give the little darlings ammunition against another member of staff.
     
  4. Dear topcat82
    This happened to me recently involving a Year 10 class, albeit luckily not to the same extent as what you have experienced, more along the lines of 'Mr so & so loves you'.
    I actually reported it to SMT, and the teacher in question apologised, although also said that it was intended as a joke, to which I replied that it underminded my professionalism, my relationship with the students and how can that be a 'joke'?
    It has since stopped, yet it has created an atmosphere, which I would rather have than continued inappropriate comments being made regarding my perceived level of attractiveness rather than my teaching abilities.
    The students have not mentioned it since and I feel that we have moved on. I think that your case, especially with the two sexist Y11 boys, is far worse than mine and should be drawn to the attention of the SMT straightaway, who should hopefully listen and support you in this. SMT havea duty of care to all their staff and so should explain to the teacher why his conduct is inappropriate and inexcusable, and therefore cannot be accepted as 'banter'. It is abusive and he is clearly in the wrong. You have not overreacted topcat82, this is the excuse that is always used, whereby, neatly and most perniciously, projecting the blame onto you. Horrible.
    You should not have to stand for it. I strongly encourage you to take it higher. If you don't it will escalate. You have the right to feel safe in the workplace.
    Good luck
    Farfetched

     
  5. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    Having spoken to the person and got nowhere you have no alternative than to take this to the Head teacher. If you get no joy there then the Governors is your next step. You should also mention this to your union rep in case you decide to make a sexualy harressment case against him.


     
  6. Morninglover

    Morninglover Lead commenter

    I agree. You have to take this further.
     
  7. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    It almost seems surreal that such a situation could arise that a member of staff would discuss another member of staff in any way with students.
    I think the very least you should do is make a formal complaint to your headmaster regarding this incident, complete with details as to what happened. You should also inform your union.
    Would the member of staff have made these comments about a more established staff member? More than likely not. Such behaviour, singling out those that are new or inexperienced is bullying behaviour in my book and should never be tolerated.
     
  8. thank you all, I feel overwhelmed by your support and relieved that it is not an overeaction on my part. I am going to report this to my induction mentor who is the deputy head on Monday and hopefully it will not all explode in my face with a horrible atmosphere.
     
  9. Of course you are not over reacting. The very fact that you have been made to feel as if you are demonstrates how manipulative this nasty individual is being. This is serious proffesional misconduct, quite apart from being morally wrong on a personal level. Good luck, at let us know how you get on.
     
  10. ilovesooty

    ilovesooty Star commenter

    Any news? I do hope you've documented this and informed your union too.
     
  11. Hi
    Yes I did report it to my induction mentor who is the deputy and documented it for her. She also deemed it so serious that she passed it onto the head. He is being spoken to by the head of behaviour management as apparently there are other issues that he needs to speak to him about. I feel better that there are other issues and that senior management found it also as serious as everyone on here did.
    Thank you all for your support and for pushing me into reporting him. I am so glad that I did now.
    TC
     
  12. Yes I do feel much better about it and looking forward to finishing for Christmas and starting afresh in January. Thank you crabapple.
    TC
     

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