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Staff issues

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by jumpingstar, Jun 2, 2019.

  1. jumpingstar

    jumpingstar New commenter


    I have two staff who don't get on and are required to work together. One of them is very skilled and the other thinks they are skilled but in reality just "thinks" they are and are lazy. (has been heard saying they don't bother with a lot of stuff to other staff members) They do enough to stay just out of capability ...

    The problem is that this has now had a negative impact on the strong member of staff who is becoming very disheartened, losing their love for the job and I am afraid may leave.

    Any advice?
  2. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    What is your role? HoD? HT? DHT?

    This is where good old fashioned talking comes in. Speak to them separately. Make it clear to strong staff member how valued they are. Make it clear to the alleged lazy staff member that the game is up. Or you could just threaten them with capability. Up for that? Probably not - unions will eat you for breakfast if there is no evidence for this.

    Do you have evidence - actual evidence - of both staff members values and shortcomings? Or is this based on gossip and back biting?

    Or you could talk to the HR and personnel advisors that your school should be paying for, who will give you infinitely better advice on how to deal with this situation than random strangers on the internet - whose advice, if you take it, could be costly professionally and personally. And if you are a HT, really does not show you in a good light.
  3. jumpingstar

    jumpingstar New commenter

    I am a Manager for a dept. I have support from higher team members and all support channels for the less effective member are being utilised in the correct way.

    My question was more about how can I address the issue of them working together positively. The stronger team member being the focus. I have spoken to them a lot about it, both very honestly and positively in terms of their own performance they know they are very valued. The issue is they feel like they are doing all the work and the other person is "getting away with" (their words) them taking the slack ... I have of course explained that regardless of anyone else's performance to remember why were are there and who for. They have become increasingly disheartened and their outlook increasingly negative.
  4. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    Is this in teaching? If you are a manager, are you a HOD or a HOF?

    The only way one person could feel like this is if it's a job share where they do all the planning, or someone in a small department is being expected to write SOW/resources and the other does nothing.

    To be frank, telling someone who genuinely feels that their concerns are being ignored should remember why they are there and not concern themselves about others can be seen as dismissive. Yes, you may lose them - but that tends to happen when people feel they are being told to put up and stay in their place.
  5. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Although taking onboard CWadd's point about getting professional advice.
    I would suggest you do more than just reassure the 'valued member of staff' of how you feel about them and address their very valid point about them feeling they're having to address the slack from their colleague. Or else you risk losing them to another school or stress or becoming un o-operative themselves and
    'working-to-rule' themselves.

    Split some of the responsibilities and ensure some parts of the work do fall on the other team member's shoulders and they have to be held responsible for them. Kills 2 birds. Addresses one colleagues concerns and will help the one who gets by with just enough to stay out of capability (your words) gets a chance to address their own CPD and become a useful member of what is, and should be, a team!
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2019
  6. jumpingstar

    jumpingstar New commenter

    Totally agree. I have already (this holiday) thought about that and written up a plan so that everyone is clear about their separate responsibilities hence nothing falls on someone else's shoulders.

    Team work is so important, when someone is working to rule and you have so much passion for what you do it's so easy to feel frustrated and dis-heartened by someone who doesn't have that passion. Does that make sense? I think this is the problem really. It's the dis-belief and frustration that someone doesn't love what they do to go above and beyond.

    It is hard when you are told things as a manager based on "hearsay" about someone stating they are just there for the money and don't bother with the extra's. There's nothing you can do with that information apart from also become frustrated. I guess even if you are the most passionate person about what you do - you can't always make everyone feel the same way.
  7. jumpingstar

    jumpingstar New commenter

    I tried to reply to both of you so some of my reply to the other poster may be relevant here.
    I am a manager of a small department which is separate from the rest of the school. (very hard to explain whilst staying anon) I have SLT above me who are supporting all issues but day to day management of support staff is down to me as would be every other teacher with a TA.

    Yes totally agree about what you are saying and totally see it from their point of view, I am as frustrated as them, but without a magic wand to change an outlook despite incredible passion and love for what we do. Our job is tough, it is tough for all of us, but we love it. I guess I am kind of stuck with how to keep morale up in a situation where not all staff have the same outlook.

    I totally get it and things are being done which follow procedure to address issues. We have team meetings weekly and plans, schedules and routines couldn't be any more clear (well I am sure they could as they always could ). Its just about keeping morale up and stop the atmosphere becoming toxic as it is becoming as they are starting to have problems with the other team member that if anyone else in the team did they wouldn't bat an eyelid, as everyone is human and makes silly little errors from time to time - but if this person does it winds them up to the point where they know they are being irrational but they can't get out of what they've built up in their head ... does that make any sense?
  8. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    So one of them does the job well enough. No support required. The only criticism is that s/he isn't as brilliant and dedicated as the others.

    I'm afraid that's what I'd be telling the brilliant colleague. OK, you're fabulous and s/he's OK. S/he does what s/he's required to do. We can't all be like you. It's doing you no good to become impatient or disgruntled or dismissive. Don't look at others. Don't compare yourself. That way dissatisfaction lies. As you are discovering. To misquote Malcolm In The Middle, "You're not the boss of me .... or the boss of other people in the department." Get used to it. You may always be the brightest star in the firmament and that's not going to be easy.
  9. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    It's rare for me to disagree with gdw and whilst I agree with and take her point about the difference in 'dedication' to the job, that still wouldn't, in my opinion address the indignation on the teacher's part that they are shouldering more than their fair share of the load. The colleague does need to feel that issue is being listened to and tackled.

    I do agree though that you may need to realise that this 'passion' to which you refer can cause problems But this criteria must not be used as a judgement on teachers.
    There could be all sorts of reasons why the second teacher no longer has that passion. It may go back to the way she had previously been treated. There may be things going on in her personal life which have caused her to cut back on 'the extras' she used to do. She may be suffering stress . . . . . A host of reasons why teachers decide to keep their heads down and just do the minimum and you may need to find out if this colleague has genuine reasons for her attitude.
    jlishman2158 and CWadd like this.
  10. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    I really wouldn't slate the allegedly ok colleague to the apparently brilliant colleague.

    Not everyone does feel passion for the job. That's a dirty secret in teaching which people need to discuss. For many, it is a job...and that is perfectly reasonable. For many, it's part of a jigsaw of their lives. I would be careful. Just because someone doesn't seem willing to stay up until 3am every morning planning or stay until 7pm every night doesn't mean they're not doing a decent job. You yourself have said the ok colleague does what she's required.
  11. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    The OP says this other teacher is lazy. I'm not sure there's an objective measure of laziness. I think it's more likely that, of all the people in the department, this one teacher does less than the rest. But she's still doing her job and capability is not on the cards.

    If the others choose to do a great deal more then that's great. They will probably be rewarded with promotions and they'll feel a degree of professional pride. But the lazy teacher isn't doing a bad job. She'd be out on her ear if that were the case. They have to reconcile themselves to the fact that not everyone is the same. She doesn't have to change but the others, for their own peace of mind, need to revisit their attitude towards her. Nothing they can do.
  12. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Which sounds as if the bits they are not doing are clearly not essential. If the things they aren't bothering to do were essential, then this should be addressed via appraisal in the first instance, moving to capability of no improvement.
    If there is no issue with their capability, then the adjective of lazy is seemingly rather subjective and possibly unfair.

    Then this member of staff needs to grow up and stop being a stroppy so and so because other people don't do what they do.
    If their love for the job can disappear because someone else doesn't share their passion, then there wasn't much love there in the first place.

    Leave them alone in the sense of whether or not they get on.
    If their performance is above any thoughts of capability then there isn't a problem for you as a manager to address.

    Given you talk of being a manager and managing support staff, I'm guessing these two people are TAs or a teacher and a TA. TAs certainly don't get paid enough to go over and above that required and more fool any of them who do.
  13. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    This lost his beginning to remind me of a colleague at my former school who I'm still.in touch with.

    When I was at the school, she was one of the most dedicated staff I've ever met. Staying until late, getting in early. Then she got engaged and gave birth.

    I found out a couple of weeks ago that she's planning on going back on a 0.6 as her priorities have changed. Good for her. Maybe the ok teacher has had her priorities change as well. After a hideous year last year for me, including family death, a horrible school, and a cancer scare, my life priorities have changed. I love being in the classroom, still like marking and planning, love my crazy, funny, super bright kids- but its not the only thing in my life and, sorry, nor does it take precedence over everything in my life. I still have passion - but its in its place. As for your superstar colleague - well, life can throw curveballs, and expecting everyone to be a fizzing elastic firecracker 24/7...it doesn't last.
  14. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    As for being heard to say you don't bother with stuff?

    That was probably me too. As in:
    • you know those tick boxes - I don't bother - they're not a true record of what my KS5 kids can do as they've been inflated every year to make my colleagues feel better about themselves
    • you know those lessons plans - I don't bother - I know what I'm doing and I don't need to put it on paper
    Did people think I was lazy? Maybe they did. Maybe I was. But I was still pretty good at the job. According to my students and their parents. There was plenty I didn't bother with and considered superfluous to doing a good job.
  15. border_walker

    border_walker Lead commenter

    That is the way you survive in teaching.
  16. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Indeed. Certainly to survive long-term.
    And often those who have 'the passion' and go above and beyond end up on longterm stress leave or as seems to be the case nowadays, leave within 5 years of qualifying. :(
  17. jumpingstar

    jumpingstar New commenter

    Oh yes - there are reasons I am aware of these reasons. I think my frustration is I aspire for what I offer as a provision to be as outstanding as possible and without staff who have that same aspiration then that's not possible. Perhaps this is my own frustration . I am totally aware that I am always seeking to get better and improve and do place a lot of pressure on myself to make that happen. I feel like the like minded member of staff has the same frustrations hence my empathy with that.

    I think perhaps SLT haven't explained to them what's happening to address the issues and therefore they feel let down. This is now my job but I am reluctant - as you would be with a parent of another child - to share too much. It's a tricky balance.

    I love that misquote. It's what I am also trying to get them to realise
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  18. A_Million_Posts

    A_Million_Posts Star commenter

    Are you Tomforever's line manager?
  19. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    He ponders and adds: "As someone once said, nobody lies on their death bed and thinks, ‘I really should have spent more time in the office.'"

    This person is? Gerald Ratner. And he's not wrong.

    I also never knew a teacher of retirement age who said they should have spent more time during their career on meetings or revision sessions or form-filling.

  20. jumpingstar

    jumpingstar New commenter

    The "laziness" originally referred to is not just not doing extra it's not doing what's required. (ie - only doing what is required when being watched and when questioned at other times has an excuse why not doing) Or talking to others in the team saying "Just look like you're busy and you won't get asked to do things" therefore the rest of the team are annoyed as they now know that they are being left to pick up the slack.

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