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Trying to prepare for September without a timetable

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by jaguarette, Aug 17, 2019.

  1. jaguarette

    jaguarette New commenter

    The department manager prepared the timetables for all my colleagues before the end of term. She told me she had run out of time, but that she would get it for me in the first week of the holidays. I've sent her two emails so far through late July and August, but had no response.

    I feel I'm the last priority for her. I also feel that she is very unpredictable - that she would react well or badly to my words, depending on her mood (we have had two *awkward* interactions since September 2018). I'm worried that she is forgetting me, but that I am going to be penalised for leaving my preparation until September.

    I started teaching in January 2018, so I'm relatively new, and she became HOF in April 2018. She seems to see me as sub-par. What advice could you offer me?
  2. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    One more email. Copy it to a bunch of other colleagues. Wait. Prepare what you think you can and won't be a waste of time.
  3. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    If you've seen everyone else's timetables, you can probably work out which groups you will have. Then plan for them.
    Marshall and phlogiston like this.
  4. install

    install Star commenter

    Has she told you which groups you will have? Go above her head and request a timetable. Still 'cc' her in though.

    Dear ......

    Really sorry to bother you in the hols..Can you let me have my timetable please as I need to prepare the lessons for the year? Or possibly let me know which groups I will be teaching?

  5. Elly40

    Elly40 New commenter

    I would do another email, adding a read receipt so you can see if she has actually seen it. (You could of course also copy in her line manager)
    I know loads of staff who refuse to look at school emails in the holidays. Perhaps she is one of these?
    jlishman2158 likes this.
  6. Grandsire

    Grandsire Star commenter

    I’m ‘one of those’ who doesn’t read any work emails at home, and rejoice in the fact... but then again I don’t have colleagues waiting anxiously for stuff I was supposed to have done before the end of term.*

    * I hope!
  7. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    How do you not give your staff their timetables?

    I'm not one for much work in the holiday but if I hadn't done what I should have done then I'd be....DOING IT the first weekend of the holiday.

    Especially after having PROMISED to do so!
  8. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    I would have thought that it would be on the school's "systems" by now. Who is in charge of the whole-school timetable? Are they likely to be in school on Thursday? Consider going in/emailing and asking them if they can print you off a copy of your timetable as your HoD has either forgotten or the email has gone astray.
  9. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    As above, send email, read receipt, copied into any other line managers.

    If no reply comes withing (say) 3 working days, I'd email the HT, pointing out you will need time off at the start of term to complete the work you had planned to do in the holidays if your timetable does not appear at once. Suggest that 2 weeks should do it if you are to maintain the standard you know the school expects...;)
  10. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Thinking about this dilemma, it all seems a bit odd.
    A HOD doesn't normally create timetables for one teacher at a time. And it is a matter of moments to sort the final one, as they simply fill in the gaps.
    I popped in to school last week and four people informed me they had sent me emails that I'd not answered. I pointed out that it was the holidays and so obviously I'd not read any at all and wouldn't be until the final week.
    Your HOD could be doing anything at all that is more important.
    Any member of one's department should be a very low priority in the holidays.
    My line manager would think he'd done very well if he and I had only had two 'awkward' interactions in a year!
    She should have forgotten you, and everyone else to do with school. It's the holidays!
    What preparation do you need to do? You talk of timetables and departments, implying you are secondary. Surely whatever you taught to year 9 last year, you teach again to year 9 this year and so on for all year groups?
    What happened last summer? Did you get your timetable before the summer holidays? Not all schools give them out that early. A fair few people don't get them until September. Seeing you as sub-par is a whole different dilemma...if it even exists.

    If you are desperate then email the timetabler and ask them. Otherwise stop fretting...all will work out in the end. I don't think I ever had a timetable before the summer when in secondary or middle. In primary we only got when hall slots were for PE and had to sort the rest ourselves. In prep we get a bit more filled in for us, but certainly not always before the summer holidays and it often changes in September anyway.
  11. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    When I was a timetabler I aimed to get the timetable out by the end of June...Not having it done by the holidays would have been a disciplinary issue..o_O

    I DO remember not getting one's timetable until (by post) during the holidays, but that was in the 1980s...

    If the HoD promised to send it out at the start of the holidays, and hasn't yet done so I would consider a grievance, unless there is an enormous personal issue (such as the death of the HoD...)
    strawbs likes this.
  12. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    I once worked in a school where the timetable was not given out one year until several days INTO the kids returning, in that time they were put into a holding pattern of whole year group activities!

    It is possible you are being singled out, or maybe you have a somewhat incompetent HOD. (Unless there are issues with you teaching other subjects can’t see why you haven’t got it with everyone else.)

    Although the whole cc the HODs own line manager might get a quick solution, it may well set the HOD on you too. I would personally chill and ask SLT if they have it next Wed/Thu on results day, frankly it is unusual for HODs to be custodians of the timetable.

    Long term I would give your HOD the benefit of the doubt on one mistake, there could be genuine reasons for it, a death in the family, illness and so on. If it becomes a pattern of being left out/left till last then take it higher.
  13. meggyd

    meggyd Lead commenter

    Who else is in school during the holidays? There is probably someone else who knows what is happening. Try the admin people. Ict manager?
    steely1 likes this.
  14. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    It seems very odd. Timetables all appear at once. I would chill unless you think that there is a nasty surprise like an exam group in a subject you've never taught.
  15. catbefriender

    catbefriender Lead commenter

    My antennas are activated o_O. There may be something sinister going on, or she just may be totally disorganised. I would copy the email in which she said she would send it, plus all the other ones regarding it, and keep it on the cloud and email it to a friend. If she is trying to undermine you, this may be her strategy. I sense you do not trust her, you may have cause to, it may all be in your mind.

    I would speak to your union about it. Not that you want them to intervene :eek:, but just to log it on your record that in August 2019, this lady was not responding to you, as she said she would and ask their advice. This way, if anything comes of this, e.g. you are disciplined for lack of organising resources etc. you have this as back up. You can prove your were proactive and it was not entirely your fault.

    Some people only believe they can look good at the expense of others looking incompetent. They need to create others as a problem to take the focus away from their inadequacies. I do not know what this lady's agenda is. She may not have one, but again she may.

    Best wishes and I hope it's nothing.:)
    jaguarette and phlogiston like this.
  16. jaguarette

    jaguarette New commenter

    Ah thanks all for the very useful and friendly replies! You have put me at ease, as I've decided to do a generic lot of preparation for each year, and streamline the plans as necessary.

    Last year was uncomfortable as I was singled out for "Support and Development" without any written explanation, and was taken off-timetable for six weeks. This all coincided with an Ofsted visit, but made me feel very unsettled generally. As you all say, it's probably nothing, but with such a fraught year in 2018-19, I'm feeling a bit jittery heading into 2019-20.

    Someone else said that teaching is a marathon, not a sprint. So I'm concentrating on making my systems work, and building up my relationships with the students from the word go in September. I'll be ready whatever gets thrown my way!
    catbefriender likes this.
  17. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    I am sorry this is happening to you, @jaguarette. Given that you were 'singled out for "Support and Development" without any written explanation, and was taken off-timetable for six weeks', like @catbefriender, my 'antennae would be twitching'. Might the reason that you have not been given a timetable be that the school has it in mind to offload you, so your HoD is trying to come up with a 'collapsible' timetable for you.
  18. catbefriender

    catbefriender Lead commenter

    @Jolly_Roger15 I so hope you can be proved wrong.:oops:

    @jaguarette Just go in, in September and do your best. If it gets hairy, contact your union ASAP.
    jaguarette likes this.
  19. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Sorry you're in this place. A pre-emptive polishing of the CV would probably be wise. No harm in reading the job ads either.
  20. Skeoch

    Skeoch Lead commenter

    Can't you connect to the school system remotely and download the timetable?
    border_walker likes this.

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