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Unhappy and desperate

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by changedforannon, Sep 18, 2017.

  1. changedforannon

    changedforannon New commenter

    I apologise in advance for any typos or incoherence, but I am trying to type this on my ipad on the train and it's a bit packed. I've been thinking about this for a few days now and have finally decided to post asking for advice. I've created a new username specially, but have been a member for <cough> years with a username which I'm sure that the person concerned has seen me use to download resources!

    I went for a HoD role at my current school (am the Second in Department) and didn't get it. Fair enough, they appointed the person that they thought was best for the job and after a few tears at home I dealt with it and was ready to start the new year with a positive mental attitude, keen to help the new HoD out and make the transition as easy as possible.

    The new HoD has been the bane of my life since the beginning - even before term started. I arranged a time for them to come into the office to go through everything that would be of use prior to everyone else turning up. That was a mistake, they were downright rude to me and "yeah-yeah-yeahed" their way through everything that I said. They then demanded that I come in and do some more work with them again (lets check that we're on the same page with marking/SOWs etc) only to act in exactly the same way. I was upset after both of these occasions, but kept on thinking that I would give them another chance.

    It has only gotten worse since. They keep on making stupid mistakes that make it very clear that they haven't checked anything before they have done it and then try and blag their way out of it by claiming that they're tired and that I wouldn't understand as I don't know what it's like to have young children. Fair enough, having kids is hard and having kids as a HoD or member of SLT is even worse at times. I've always tried to be supportive of those around me and was there lots for my last but one HoD who was going through the most horrible time trying to conceive.

    I've not flagged things up that she has been doing wrong as I put it down as teething problems and have just tried to be quietly helpful. She also only works four out of the five days each week and I'm expected to deputise for her on her day off.

    Last week on her day off I found that she had sent an email demanding that the school sectary send out a letter to all parents about something department related - school sec mentioned in passing that she was dreading the production of almost 800 letters again for my department. This had already been dealt with weeks before when I had, at her request, sent the job to the office to be dealt with. She had been copied into all emails/paper requests between myself and reprographics. The blank paper copy was also placed on her desk and another email sent to her confirming that it had been done. There should be no reason for her not to know that it had been done. She has been adamant that she will not access any emails on her time off and we do not have her mobile number to contact her. So as acting HoD (and something that had always been my job as second anyway) I got the school sec to send me the document that she had been sent to send out before she started and checked it against the one that had already been sent (and that we had been receiving responses to) almost two weeks earlier. It was identical and so I dropped the School sec a quick line saying to hold fire on the letters as I wasn't sure that these needed to be sent. I then received the MOTHER of all passive aggressive emails from this supposedly professional woman telling me that I had made her look like she was totally incompetent and that I should have waited to talk to her (on what would have been four days later and after the school had wasted time and money on 800 odd letters going out to the same parents that had already received and in most cases answered them) when she returned to work on the Monday!

    Was this the wrong thing to do? Should I have let the school send out duplicate letters? Do I need to check every single thing that I do with her before I do it? Little tasks like arranging homework help clubs and signing students up for talks which are already arranged and that get done every year (speakers are already arranged BTW, year in advance jobby).

    I'm sick of this woman making my working life miserable. I already had a *talk* from her a few days in about how I wasn't making any effort to make her feel welcome (this is after she had slammed everything that I had to say and reduced me to tears by her rudeness a few days in a row and so I decided to just be very professional and polite with her), and that it had been noted that I wasn't as enthusiastic about seeing her as I was other staff members as I didn't invite her out to lunch when I went ON A SATURDAY with a friend of mine that I have known for many years who happens to have started to work in the same department for a short fixed contract.

    I have nodded, agreed and done everything that she has asked. I'm sick to death of trying to tactfully chase her for things that she has said that she will do, but hasn't. I feel very much that she wants me out of the school and that she will do anything to paint me in a bad light. All I am doing is going on in exactly the same way that I have for the last ten years as second in department and have no desire to undermine her little. I'm doing nothing different to the what I did with my old bosses. If I wanted to make her look stupid there would be a number of better ways to do so.

    To top it all work-wise I've found out today that she has been cancelling her sixth form lessons left, right and centre and then just disappearing. Car gone, not signed out and nobody has any idea where she is.

    I don't want to sound like I have a bad case of sour grapes by saying something to our HoF about what's going on. My aim was to just do my job to the best of my abilities, but it doesn't look like I'm going to be allowed to do even that. I kept on telling myself that it was all in my imagination and that it would get better, until a member of staff from another department overheard her when I was trying to discuss something with me and said that she hadn't heard an adult be so rude or dismissive of anyone. She reducing the number of tasks that I'm "allowed" to do and taking them all onto herself.

    Hubby says that she probably feels threatened by me, but I spent ages trying to make her feel welcome and make it clear that I would support any changes that she wanted to make.

    I'm even at the stage of considering applying for jobs that start in January and just get out, even though I've always said that I would never do it and love my classes. I'm in a definite shortage subject.

    I've already reached the stage where I'm dreading going into work if I know that she will be there and do not want to be alone with her. Ever.

    I also happen to be going through a very hard time at the moment medically. My Headteacher knows what is happening and is very supportive. I do not want to discuss this issue with the HoD and it has no impact on my ability to teach or do my Second in department role. She is desperately trying to find out what is happening. I'm having to be very guarded at all times and have found her hovering around my computer/mobile when I come into our office. Luckily having come from a background where security is everything and it was a sackable offence to leave your computer unlocked when away from your desk she has no hope of finding anything out. But it worried me.

    Sorry for the rambling nature of the post.
  2. sabrinakat

    sabrinakat Star commenter

    Get out as fast as possible. Protect yourself by logging everything and get out. Good luck and a virtual hug!
  3. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    If she's cancelling lessons and vanishing, I suspect she'll be toast before too long. Sixth formers tend to be very vocal when they're not being taught.

    Still, the HT can worry about that. Get another post, and a nicer, better life elsewhere. x
  4. yodaami2

    yodaami2 Lead commenter

    @sabrinakat got there first. Get out. But in the meantime Inform your HOF, keep records. Ask for support. If it's not forthcoming keep records. The only person who made HOD look stupid was HOD!
  5. bombaysapphire

    bombaysapphire Star commenter

    Write down everything that you are aware of. Keep it factual and pass it on to your HoF. Let them know that you feel uncomfortable with doing it but that your main concern is for the pupils.

    It doesn't sound as if your new HoD is coping. She needs help and doesn't seem to know how to ask for it.
  6. install

    install Star commenter

    1 Keep a log
    2 Talk to someone you trust at the school
    3 Have a witness...maybe your 'third in charge' included for everything
    4 Do not be alone with the hod if you can help it :cool:
  7. EmanuelShadrack

    EmanuelShadrack Star commenter

    Well done for this. Not everyone is as diligent, or vigilant.
  8. install

    install Star commenter

    This post deserves a Trophy :cool:
    emerald52 and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  9. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Some of this is not for you to worry about, so don't.
    If she sends out a duplicate letter, parents will make a fuss. Leave them to it.
    If she cancels sixth form lessons and disappears, they will kick up a fuss. Don't do a thing about it.

    If she is rude to you and upsets you, then speak to the HOF and say you are struggling to know how to manage in X situation. Say it as a new experience and that you are unsure what the correct way to respond is, but you can't imagine going to your classroom and having a good cry is very helpful.

    And, as others have said, start applying. TES have a great alert system!
  10. Yoda-

    Yoda- Lead commenter

    I agree with the time to bail out route.

    It's not going to end well if you stay.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  11. nerak77

    nerak77 New commenter

    I am so sorry about your situation I am in a similar one with a new line manager, I am baffled with the reports we hear of late attributing workload to teachers stress. In my opinion it is the hierarchy, poor management, big egos and generally unsupportive/unresponsive attitudes we find amongst those supposedly 'managing/supporting' us that cause the most problems. It is a shame but you will probably have to leave and go somewhere more deserving, in my experience people like this tend to get worse or at best remain the same. Sending you positive thoughts.....
  12. Tinycat1234

    Tinycat1234 Established commenter

    Some of this sounds horrid and totally understandable that your upset. However I agree that not all of this is for you to worry about now. Take a step back, put your head down and work hard. Keep a professional distance and remain cheery. Log everything as everyone has said. Look for other jobs and I suspect she'll be gone sooner than you know it.
  13. marple1

    marple1 New commenter

    I am so sorry you are experiencing this horrible situation. There is some good advice here, which I would echo. Be careful however about making a decision to leave, though. Of course you should keep an eye out, but as suggested this lady probably won't be able to continue in this way for long, so don't leap out too quickly. Talk to HoF, keep a record but remember the grass may not be greener. Good luck; stay strong.
  14. meggyd

    meggyd Lead commenter

    Do you have friends at school in other departments? I know when I was in a bad situation I found my friends invaluable. We used to meet for lunch and socially and offload. But they were real friends if you know what I mean. Don't gossip! And good luck!
  15. theluckycat

    theluckycat Occasional commenter

    Good advice from the above.However I particularly agree with the excellent advice to stay put, and let the dust settle around you. Take a step back and maintain boundaries. Why should you be the one to leave? Keep your nose clean, and see how the land lies in a few days time. Maintain some distance and space away from your 'colleague,' hopefully this will serve to de-escalate the situation and allow for some reason and common sense to allow a different light to settle on the situation. :)
  16. Fer888

    Fer888 Occasional commenter

    Not much to add other than echo what everyone has said. Email any emails from her to your home email address in case they disappear from the server by accident. Hope things work out for you and keep us posted
    EmanuelShadrack and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  17. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Pace yourself.
    She's digging a hole. Lend her your shovel.

    Having said that, because you've worked at your school for a fair few years, (I think I replied to an earlier post) you don't want to see the department you've taken pride in building up being damaged by this arrogant but scared interloper.
    The vanishing instead of teaching 6th form will soon bring her down.
  18. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    What a very difficult situation. It sounds as if she's struggling with the job, far too conscious that you were also in the running, and probably petrified that they'll get rid of her and have you instead. And just about anything you might do will exacerbate that fear. Somehow she needs to realise that you could be on her side, and that you need to work together - but if anyone suggests that she's going to take it as criticism and a threat. Presumably she didn't know about your longstanding friendship with the new colleague, so assumed you were making sure you'd got even the new members of the department on your side.

    Is there anyone who might be able to initiate a "how are you settling in?" conversation without her knowing you've spoken to them? Another HoD, maybe? Maybe they could find a way to tell her you're no threat, and how the previous HoD used to delegate lots to you because there's far too much to keep on top of otherwise.
  19. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    Agree with post #15 - unless you WANT to leave, then just record everything, report factual errors she makes to your line manager/HoF/DH (like the duplicated letters - not her 'tone of voice' etc) and consider recording secretly any meetings where she speaks unpleasantly to you...just in case they might be useful later!
    emerald52, sabrinakat and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  20. changedforannon

    changedforannon New commenter

    Thank you for all the responses. One of the deputy heads spoke to me yesterday as they thought that I was looking more stressed and down than normal - I'm normally the happy, smiley one. I had a bit of a breakdown at them and some of this came out.

    The HoD has been even worse this week. I don't want to leave this school, I've been really happy teaching here and love the children that I teach. But, I'm desperately scouring tes for new jobs, but am so sad that in under a month I've gone from enjoying my job so much to being a wreck which my poor husband has to pick up when I get in from school.

    Logically I can see that she might be feeling insecure, but all I've ever tried to do is be helpful and professional. I've carried on doing my job the way that I always have done and am being belittled, ignored, spoken to like I am stupid and treated like an under performing trainee teacher who can't be trusted to do anything.

    To those who said they will be found out and let go? I wish. The school's main fault is that they never admit that they've made a mistake recruitment wise unless there's a safeguarding issue.

    I don't know if I can cope with this for much longer, on top of all the school stuff we've been trying to deal with the aftermath of another miscarriage and it all feels like just too much.
    emerald52 and GirlGremlin like this.

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