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Students complaining and posting nasty things about me

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by unicycle2012, Aug 27, 2012.

  1. Hello,
    I would really appreciate some advice. I have a small year 12 class and have found out that all of them have been complaining about me to other teachers, and some on (public) social networking sites. I can't post too much, but they have said I wrecked their confidence by underpredicting their target grades, with some personal insults thrown in. One thing students have always said is that they think I'm one of the nicest teachers they have, so I can't understand how I have become so hated by this one class. My HOD says they are just kids and to ignore it, but it is hard! Have other teachers experienced anything similar, and how did you deal with it?
     
  2. Hello,
    I would really appreciate some advice. I have a small year 12 class and have found out that all of them have been complaining about me to other teachers, and some on (public) social networking sites. I can't post too much, but they have said I wrecked their confidence by underpredicting their target grades, with some personal insults thrown in. One thing students have always said is that they think I'm one of the nicest teachers they have, so I can't understand how I have become so hated by this one class. My HOD says they are just kids and to ignore it, but it is hard! Have other teachers experienced anything similar, and how did you deal with it?
     
  3. erp77

    erp77 New commenter

    Welcome to TES!
    *Take screen prints of any offensive comments on Facebook/Twitter etc.
    * show them to SLT or if they are that bad then request that Facebook remove them.
     
  4. Thans; SLT asked student to remove one, but no sanctions were given.
     
  5. What does your school's IT code of conduct for pupils say? If comments are ally offensive and untrue, print them off and - if SLT are unsupportive - take them to a solicitor. A letter from him/her warning of possible further action worked for a colleague of mine. And no, I am not over-reacting; what might seem to be "a joke" by pupils (though by Year 12 they should surely know better) can ruin a teacher's career and a school's reputation.
     
  6. scientist555

    scientist555 New commenter

    Sorry to hear that you are going through this.

    Speak to your regional level union rep. Have printed copies of the evidence and written statements (if possible) from other teachers and students who have heard about these comments.

    Then organise a meeting with the Headteacher, your regional level union rep and yourself to sort this matter. These Year 12 students should be given some kind of sanction and not just asked to remove this.
     
  7. Comments are along the lines of me being a b1tch, etc. IT code does say that no threatening communication is allowed, but there has been no sanction for breaking this code. School wants no hassle with parents - they would go bananas if I involved a solicitor or union. Very strong message that I just have to put up with it and not look online if I don't want to see criticism. Can't post much more in case I am identifiable! The worry for me is having to face this class for another year :-(
     
  8. If all is exactly as you say, this is disgraceful response from SLT. If you really cannot bring yourself to involve union or solicitor (and I still think that the threat of further action from either is the best move - you would be making a stand here and surely other colleagues would value that?) - then is there another member of staff who would understand your predicament, who is respected by ese pupils and trusted by you? Could you and s/he have a civilised conversation with 2 or 3 of the group and try to get them to understand why this behaviour is so hurtful and wrong? You might also then be able to see the issue from each others' viewpoint - in their heads, they might really believe that they are "in the right" until you explain your side of things.
     
  9. Thanks for th advice.I genuinely think getting a solicitor etc involved is too heavy handed and could lead to more aggro, just because these are moans about me being harsh, not allegations of say, inappropriate conduct. My school are unsypathetic and said that all of us probably have kids moan about us, and that if we look hard enough online, we'll find something. I agree, but it doesn't make it ok. I don't have anyone that would be willing to meet with the students without siding with the students!
     
  10. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Where are they doing this moaning? How is it that you are looking? How often is it happening? how long has it been going on for?

    If this class have genuinely told you that they like you more than any other teacher, then surely you can just speak to them en masse at the start of term and let them know that you are very upset and hurt by their comments and that you expected more from such a class. they will probably be hugely embarrassed that you have even seen the comments, bit like they are when they realise you have been listening to them in a corridor.
     
  11. Can't say where it is exactly in case I am identifiable. It has been going on most of the year, but mainly low level grumbling and moaning to colleagues, which my colleagues have supported me on. The class have never said I am liked by them, but lots of other classes have so I know I am not just an unpleasant person with a teaching style that no one likes. The problem for me has been these more recent online comments, which are more unguarded than the comments to colleagues.
     
  12. MrsArmitage

    MrsArmitage Occasional commenter

    Hang on, they've made comments about you via social networking sites to other members of staff?! Regardless of the fact they're over 16, I'd still be questioning why they had other teachers as online friends, particularly if they feel it's ok to moan about other staff to them. I find that a wee bit creepy.

    In September, I'd be most tempted to ask them outright what the prob is, so you can all work in improving the situation. And then politely remind them that complaining and moaning is utterly pointless if it's done in such a way that the problem is never actually aired. Although it sounds like they might have been doing it to suck up to someone else's sense of importance IMO!
     
  13. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    When I taught secondary (trained and then only did it for 2 years before seeing the light! and moving to middle schools) a more experienced teacher told me that there is always one class that just don't respond to you, get along with you or even like you. There is never any reason why they don't, but you always have just one class who, no matter what, just do not behave and be how you would like. He was right, for the 10 years I taught secondary and middle there always was.

    I honestly think your colleagues have a lot to answer for. What the heck were they passing such information on to you for? Sheesh! Children always tell one teacher that they hate another, happens all the time. Most staff respond firmly and wouldn't dream of telling the teacher concerned. This isn't reporting back, it is just being horrible. Ignore them or tell them that you don't want to know.

    I assume punlic sites means, things like FB and ratemyteacher and so on. To be honest you shouldn't bother reading what they write, it won't ever be complimentary. Teenagers aren't like that. Stay away from sites where you can see such things. They are being bullying in the way children are when they think they are unsupervised, but you are allowing yourself to be a victim by bothering with it all.

    Just turn up to their lessons, teach them as well as you can, mark their work, forget about them. Put your time and effort into classes who make you feel good. This is just a few children from the many, many that you teach. Don't allow them to upset you.
     
  14. Sorry, I wasn't clear. The low level moaning was done to colleagues in school time, the personal comments were only between students and written outside of school hours. No teachers are online friends etc. I had already asked the class what the issue was when colleagues told me things, and they all sat quietly and agreeably, with not a single complaint voiced to my face. I thought it was sorted, then the online stuff started!
     
  15. Thank you, this is really helpful and helps me get it in perspective a bit. It is only a handful of students, I know. I have worked so hard to help them, have given up hours of free time etc and to have them saying the things they have has been terrible. And yes, I think some of my colleagues have rather enjoyed being 'good cop' to be honest, and instead of nipping it in the bud, they have encouraged some of the pupils to go into detail about their complaints. It is unprofessional, yes. Anyway, the main thing is that they got good results so they can't fault my actual teaching, and at least no parents have complained!
     
  16. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    And it is far, far better that your estimates were lower than their results rather than higher!

    Maybe start the year with a big friendly smile and say something like "Wow! We did soooo well last year! Remember all those months ago, before I knew you so well? I wasn't sure about you then and had to give predictions! Stupid system, I'd forgotten all about them until someone mentioned how much better you had done than predicted. Let's make this year even better and show them all!" Then get on and teach.
     
  17. I know I should, but I also want to say to the student who called me a b1tch that it isn't on, but I don't know how to go about it...
     
  18. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    I dunno, I've said such things about my colleagues on occasion. OK so I'm sensible enough not to post such comments where I'd get into trouble, nor to say such things where I'll be overheard by the powers that be, but that's because I'm not a teenager.

    And when I was a teen I definitely called some of my teachers this and more...they just didn't know about it.
     
  19. Zadok1

    Zadok1 New commenter

    I think if it was a bunch of kids I had to teach for another year I'd either follow Minnie's advice and just ignore the little sods... teach and forget them.

    Or I'd take the bull by the horns and print out come of those comments and confront the kids with them. I'd ask what exactly makes them think I'm a Btch and start talking about who will be writing references for them when they leave school... because now all that info is on their school file.. and of course any college, uni or employer worth their salt does a very thorough background check of their social media habits... and the problem with this kind of thing is that once it's out there... well it's out there. Not sure who would want to offer a place to a student who doesn't value their teachers.... and not sure who would want to employ someone who likes to bad mouth authority figures in a public domain. Could lead to all sorts of legal action and way too many problems.
    That should make them think twice... to be fair, scaring the pants off them like that might make you a bit of a btch... but hey... they already think you are... and this way you're just a way more savvy one who's not going to be intimidated by a bunch of kids!
     
  20. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Loved Zadok1's answer, made me chuckle. Definitely could do that if you feel annoyed with them still on the first day.
     

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