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Time to leave?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by academicgown, Mar 16, 2011.

  1. I qualified as a teacher ten years ago at age 32. I got a job in a girls' school for 5 years - essentially it was great. I really enjoyed it, and put heart and soul into my job and did as much as i could for the pupils (years 7-13). I then applied for HoD in the school, but they appointed a man with no PGCE and one undergraduate degree. I was told I lacked experience for the job (I was 35, had been in education one way or another since age 4; I had a PGCE and PhD in my subject and had even written a couple of articles on teaching my subject in professional journals and had always gotten fantastic GCSE and A level grades for my pupils ... so could not understand why i was not considered good enough).
    <address>I quit my job to live in the USA for a term with my husband who had a temporary job placement out there, during which time I got an MA in Education by distance learning. The man that got the HoD job was asked to leave the school .... there were lots of issues with his lack of commitment etc. I then got a job in a boys' school and found the boys aggressive so i left and got a job in an independent boarding school (mixed). it seemd ideal - 50% post, good salary supposedly posh setting. But within 6 weeks i had decided i should not stay. Bullying began on the most horrendous scale. I thought it was just me, but everything i did was questioned, or turned around - constant interviews with Head and Deputy, nasty comments, unfathomable behaviour from my HoD who was mentally ill and had been sectioned in the past, and horrible horrible harrassment by some yr 11. I logged everything - was 100 pages after the whole year. i was constantly in trouble and yet .... my GCSE group got 90% A/B grades with one C grade (21 pupils) so was i REALLY that bad?!!! Yr 9 were horrendous - one or two trully nasty pupils who were a problem for all staff across the school documented in the school system, constantly in detention, excluded for a day or two etc.) I was constantly in trouble for these kids, no matter what i did. In the end I wored 40 hrs per week for a job that was in theory paid for 22 hrs per week. I worked til 1 am often in the week, and then for about 6 hrs each weekend, every weekend.</address>
  2. I then got a job in a local comprehensive covering a maternity leave. I had been a teacher for nine years by that time, and had always got the pupils v good GCSE and A level grades (of about 300 pupils i had taught GCSE in my subject, about 2 pupils had got a grade D, about 6 got a grade C, the rest always A/B so surely i was not that bad???) I had taught NINE widely different A level syllabi - which shows i am v flexible, adaptable and quickly able to get to grips with new environments. I have experienced 4 schools in 10 years so i regard myself as quietly competent, self assured, committed and v experienced.

    Suddenly, after about 3 weeks, the new HoD turned on me. 95% of the puils were fine ... but the usual tiny minotiry of about 10 porblem kids were causing me trouble. These pupils were a problem across the school for many many other staff as the children's misbehaviour was logged in the school system and punishments (detentions etc etc0 recorded). Thus it was proven that the children who cause me problems were also a problem for everyone else. My sixth form were great - everything was fantastic, good essays, good lessons, nice discussions etc.
    And yet, once again, I got blamed for the pupils' behaviour - even though all the other pupils were doing fine, lots of writing in their books, evidence there for all to see. Suddenly, my head of department literally said that because i was covering a maternity leave, she wanted me out - said 'for the sake of the children' i should leave. I was heartbroken. She claimed i was 4 weeks behind with 6th form syllabus ... but i started in January when the other teacher went on maternity leave ... and i had only been there 6 weeks so how could i have gotten 6 weeks behind so quickly!!!! Plus i asked pupils in another group where they were in the syllabus and my group were also doing the same topic!!! So i had no idea why this claim was made. Plus every Sunday i had diligently prepared my 6th form lessons without fail - took hrs to sort it all out.
    Also, I asked my HoD for precise evidence about my supposed 'problems' and she replied i do not need to produce evidence.
    Thus i had no option but to leave as she wanted me to go. They got in a young man on supply who had taught only 3 years (I've done ten in 4 schools) and who had never taught A level. Remember i taught 9 syllabi successfully!!! To be honest i feel broken, utterly exhuasted and so angry at this kind of treatment esp after last year when i was bullied so badly and could do nothing except leave. I feel i have no energy left at all and obviously no job at present.

  3. IN all honesty mate, you sound like one of those students who is forever destined to be a victim - and absolute proof that teaching requires skill beyond academic qualification. Surely every school/ pupil/ student/ colleague you encounter cannot have it in for you????
  4. That was because they wanted someone cheaper-nothing to do with bad behaviour or exam results.
    There's bad behaviour in most schools/colleges and these days it's usually blamed on the teacher.

  5. I feel for you! Could it be that this school had contact with the previous school/s? It is funny how a bad reutation can follow you (HTs speak to each other). I speak with experience on this, having been the victim of a bully, after doing supply for a while to shake off the reference, I went to another school on a year contract where I got on really well and was considered gold-dust, but one day my HOD warned me that the HT hadspoken to previous HT and he had said some nasty things about me. Needless to say, although new HT had said to my HOD that he was ignoring the report, my contract was not renewed.
  6. In fact, you are protected by your professional union and by the employment agreement the school has with its local authority.
    You quite rightly feel that your excellent work ethic and qualifications will endear you to employers - who are often flying by the seat of their pants academically. You have been unfortunate in meeting a series of unpleasant nutters - but - maybe you need to connect with your inner street-fighter a little more. You do not have to accept that you must leave a school on some one person's say-so, and certainly not without leaving a scene behind that will cause them a few bad nights.
    You don't say whether you have ever put a grievance procedure into action, but this is the armour you need to prepare if you feel anyone is going to try it on again.
    Take time to decide what you want from work and life - and bear in mind that there is no rule that says it should be fair. Many teachers (most? all if we're honest?) are constantly at the end of their tether with pupil behaviour. Why not try the FE / HE sectors where your qualifications might be better valued?
  7. She had a temporary contract covering maternity leave, so what could her union have done?
    She could have taken out a grievance though-but what for?
  8. ilovesooty

    ilovesooty Star commenter

    And you go on to criticise another teacher while focussing on his gender. Why is it relevant?

    If you feel you were badly treated did you not involve your union?
    I find that comment incredibly offensive.
    You just sound like a serial "victim" to me.

  9. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    And using your post to calculate, this was 5 years ago! Are you seriously still bitter about losing out on a HOD post 5 years later? OK so you threw a strop at the time and left, but you need to get over it. Sometimes you face just doesn't fit. That's life.

    This won't look good on an next application. Boys are generally aggressive, more so in all boys schools. It shouldn't have been a surprise.

    But then you say you had 100 pages logged after the year. Why did you stay so long knowing it was so bad? Why did you just log the details? Why didn't you go to your union to get it stopped? Why didn't you negotiate an exit strategy with your union, to stop your then HT causing trouble later?

    More likely your HOD gave you some times to settle in and then realised things were not getting any better at all, so started to say something. 10 children causing you serious problems is not 'the usual tiny minority'. The usual is more like 2-3 at most.

    The grades your classes got are meaningless. I could say this year that 70% of my maths class will get level 5 in year 6, but hey I have the top half of the year group so of course they will! I don't know what subject you teach, but 90%A/B grades at A Level in a private school is not that unusual.

    I'm sorry but the 'I spend ages planning and have taught for 10 years and have written books in my subject' does not add up to make you a good teacher. Nor does the 'they have lots of writing in their books'. Nothing you have written shows you are a good teacher. You might well be one, but you haven't shown it in your posts.

    Yes having no job is a problem right now, and you don't seem to have had the best of times. But you need to think how YOU are going to improve YOUR career and life. Sometimes life sucks, sometimes it is unfair, but it is no different for anyone else. Take this time to decide what sort of school will suit you and get on with working towards getting that post in a fab school and showing your leadership potential. Then next time it will be you with the job you want and someone else with the sour grapes.
  10. jazz2

    jazz2 New commenter

    Time to build a bridge.
  11. baitranger

    baitranger Senior commenter

    Slightly harsh post, but you're right that teaching is not for the faint hearted.
  12. DaisysLot

    DaisysLot Senior commenter

    But you have had major issues in each of those schools - It seems a pattern has developed where after a certain period of time things 'suddenly' go downhill - I would guesstimate that things start going downhill a lot sooner than that but you are oblivious until the fan gets completely clogged. My ernest advice would be to address what it is you do or don't do that is causing you such crunch crash moments and pack those boxes of the past up completely instead of hankering on them.
  13. ilovesooty

    ilovesooty Star commenter

    I don't think anything said has been more offensive than the OP's comments about her HOD who had been "mentally ill and was sectioned once".
  14. ilovesooty

    ilovesooty Star commenter

  15. Interesting point Sooty. So mental illness must remain the gorilla at the tea party and not be mentioned, alluded to or named.
    I'm not looking at the OP just now, but from recollection didn't HoD previous workplace behaviour go on to have an affect on his subsequent behaviour?
    If it was alcohol, anger or incompetence it could be spelled out. But not mental illness / sectioning - which implies a pretty fragile frame of mind, without placing any judgement on the person involved.
    I'll be absolutely frank, I've worked for unstable people in the past - and some very nice normal people too - but the preparedness of organisations to tolerate bizarrely nasty behaviour from managers who were clearly close to the edge or missing a couple of yards of the tarmac never ceases to amaze me.
    Shush though, musn't mention the M word.
  16. ilovesooty

    ilovesooty Star commenter

    That's not what I said.
    That was the implication, but we have no way of knowing if the two were connected. There is no reason why previous mental illness should render one incapable of behaving rationally or managing people properly.

    You have just made a judgement: a massive one. If someone's been previously sectioned why should their state of mind in the future be "fragile"? In any case mental health and incompetence don't deserve to be compared.

    Managers have a duty of care in terms of staff wellbeing: agreed.

    That sarcasm ill becomes you.


  17. I don't think anyone supported that 'mental illness must remain the gorilla at the tea party'. For all we know the OP could well have mental health issues of their own and such decalred paranoia and inability to leave behind bad experiences may well be an indicator of this.
  18. ilovesooty

    ilovesooty Star commenter

    Thank you!
    Exactly. No one's saying this is the case, but like any other story on here we only have one side and can only know as much as we are told. All I would say is that the OP has described a seemingly recurring pattern of alleged ill treatment/misjustice, and does seem to be finding it difficult to move forward. I'm also surprised that no one else has noted her focus on the gender of people who were appointed when she feels she was overlooked.

    It can be difficult to let go of the past and stop brooding on perceived injustice, but I hope the OP does manage to accomplish it.

  19. Academic, sorry to hear about your experiences. Thing in: the world of education in the UK is 5% academics (if you want any proof of this, check e.g. the UK maths curriculum - and then compare it with that of Germany or Spain or Hong Kong, for that matter...) and 95% behaviour management, paperwork and politics, politics, politics, i.e. placing yourself well, s*cking up and down to the right person, etc. Some people are better suited for this than others. How about working in HE/FE or tutoring?

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