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Up at 3 a.m. and very sad

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by oceanroc7, Nov 13, 2015.

  1. oceanroc7

    oceanroc7 New commenter

    I am overwhelmed with sadness and unable to sleep. Everything is going round and round in my mind.
    I've been teaching for nearly 22 years and love being in the classroom, but this year a perfect storm of change and the encouragement to apply for a Middle Management role has meant I have to work harder then ever. I still get huge reward from teaching students; my favourite and safest place is in the classroom, teaching. But my best is clearly not enough and I have disappointed my Line Manager. She has emailed and told me so because I have not found time to fulfil one small (and relatively unimportant) part of the job.
    I am so sad. I work really hard like so many other teachers, and always try to keep smiling and set a good example for the students. I set myself the highest standards and regularly work 6-7 hours over a weekend as well as 50-60 hour weeks. I know I am an excellent teacher, although this year I have not been given the opportunity to plan as thoroughly as I would like.
    So now I am looking for an escape tunnel from teaching. And I will be very tired today while I go about the demands of the job - while this same Line Manager (who might teach one lesson today) wants to meet with me to tell me how disappointing I am. Sad. Sad. Sad.
  2. Grandsire

    Grandsire Star commenter

    I just wanted to give you a virtual hug - you sound like a very dedicated and talented teacher. Try and leave early tomorrow, and give yourself the chance this weekend to get out and do something special. I know you don't think of it as just a job, but that's what it is. If your school can't appreciate all you manage to do, they don't deserve you. Best wishes - Grandsire.
  3. oceanroc7

    oceanroc7 New commenter

    Thanks so much Grandsire. I really needed a virtual hug. It can be lonely in that classroom and I think I have a personal issue with being called disappointing.
    I just SLT let me leave early today now that they think I can't cope!
  4. drek

    drek Star commenter

    Your line manager obviously attended the same training session as the dfe folk. The word 'disappointed' is one buzzword I hear bandied about by school leads, a lot this year.
    Wonder if they were given whiteboards and three minutes to list examples of situations of where it is appropriate to use this word.
    I've heard it being used in weird ways, particularly in 'peer' discussions, usually to denote which peer is the 'superior' lead being, naturally.
    I know you must feel gutted after so many years of service to be treated so, but feel sorry for your line managers, they are trained to have 'fixed mindsets' and inflated ideas about their own godliness. They are stuck with this perception forever, thanks to the new line management responsibilities, mainly of helping their 'owners' (their line managers) get rid of teachers or keep them on lower pay and longer hours.
    I'm calling this period of stagnated leadership, SLT's folly.
    Get it into perspective and start thinking about next steps, and they don't have to involve making your SLT feel good. That can be setting yourself a Herculean task!
  5. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

    Tell her that you are also disappointed at not having the time to do everything she wants you to, and what would she like you to not have done so that you could have done this job instead?
  6. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    When you meet line manager be assertive, don't accept her 'disappointment' - give her a break down (written out) of what you have done, and ask her why she doesn't understand basic leadership principles which demand that a leader should recognise the work done by those they lead... Ask her if she is taking some training to rectify this fault. Ask her - no demand - that she explains what damage was done by your failure to prioritise the small task you failed to complete. Etc.

    From what I know, being submissive, agreeing to improve etc with their ridiculous demands or facile criticisms, never works. If I were you I'd go on the attack (in a reasonable, evidenced and assertive way).
  7. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

  8. Yoda-

    Yoda- Lead commenter

    It is unfortunate that a lot of managers seem to take this negative approach. I think by picking issues however small, to take you to task for, they think they confirm their position over you. It really shows how inadequate they feel they are.
    I am sure there are times when your manager has forgotten or not done tasks. You may even know some examples. These dropped into conversations when being taken to task may be helpful. "Ideally I would have done it by now. I have done x, and y. Have you got z for me I asked for last week?"
    They like to try and force psychological positions where they are the adult and you have to be the subservient child. By asking them for things they should have done or " why this is such a big issue?" You will get more of an equal conversation. It may still feel uncomfortable but you will not have the feeling of being told off like a child.

    The advice previously given to concentrate on the positive things you do, you should take on board. Note the highlights down. They can be useful in situations like these and in the future.
    Mrsmumbles and midnight_angel like this.
  9. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

    Being 'disappointed' with someone rather than something (as in behaviour) is a classic passive aggressive tactic to score over you else whilst making it look as though they are concerned about you. It's designed to make you feel diminished and small, but left with no argument against what they say as it's not overtly aggressive.

    One way to tackle this is to separate the 'you' from the 'thing' - hence "yes, I am also disappointed that I didn't get to this thing - unfortunately there simply hasn't been enough time".

    Stand your own ground, but don't be aggressive back (passive aggression is designed to make you get defensive and want to retaliate - unfortunately that gives them the opportunity to go all righteous over you).

    Respond in as detached and professional a manner as you can - almost as if instead of you and them being face to face with the 'issue' between you, visualise yourself standing beside them, both looking at the 'issue' from the same perspective. Yes it needs doing; yes it's disappointing that it didn't get done; what would she advise you drop in future so as to prioritise this issue?

    Finally, do try not to take this to heart. You must be doing an amazing job (and making her feel a bit threatened) if she has to resort to this sort of tactic to make herself feel superior.
  10. Jolly_Roger1

    Jolly_Roger1 Star commenter

    As Yoda said, a bullying, insecure and inadequate manager will pick on trivialities.
    Yoda- and jomaimai like this.
  11. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    22 years? ... Impressive.

    Be warned, as @drek said, many SLT now have attended some form of training in how to manage people of out teaching. At 22 years I'm going to assume you are well paid [and deserve it!] ... but it is possible your SLT won't see things that way.

    Your line manager sounds like they are about to do what they did with me. Started out as a data percentage discrepancy in A-Level results between my module and a colleagues, turned into capability. Every other good thing I did was ignored or dismissed as 'well that's what we'd expect from you'.

    Just be warned. I hope I'm wrong.
    midnight_angel and Mrsmumbles like this.
  12. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    Which is why I suggested taking an assertive, possibly confrontational, approach to the line manager & her nonsense. Acquiescing only encourages them to keep on bullying...
  13. MineField

    MineField New commenter

    This kind of story makes me want to cry. I can remember being treated like this. It's your call obviously, but it'd be such a shame if you left teaching - you sound too amazing for the teaching profession to lose you. In the short-term, try the suggestions that other posters have mentioned, but also look for a job in another school, where you're more appreciated - there are good schools out there, and there are bad managers in other jobs. (Unless you're looking at becoming self-employed.) I once moved from a genuinely nice school, to a school that was run like a dictatorship - awful bullying SLT etc., but almost all the teachers there, especially the ones who'd been there since their NQT year, thought that the school was one of the 'nicer' schools to work for (it really wasn't) - but they believed it because they'd been brainwashed to believe it by the Head, so they all felt very ground down working there, but were too terrified to try another school. Perhaps look for roles stepping down from middle-management?
    FolkFan likes this.
  14. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    What others have said with a caveat.

    You seem to be working something approaching a 70-hour week. That is too much. Students deserve someone who's fresh (or no more stale than the average employee in any line of work). These many hours must inevitably detract from your energy levels and enthusiasm.

    If you can't reduce the time spent (and I know everyone is under the cosh) you will continue to feel like this. So you have to manage your OWN expectations. Things won't improve unless you make changes and that may mean leaving teaching. OR soldier on as best you can and accept that some flak may come your way but it's YOUR life and your salary so hope to dodge the bullets.

    But the situation you describe isn't sustainable mentally or (perhaps) physically. Don't get caught up in the 'disappointment' ballcocks. It's just yet another colleague not coping and feeling under pressure.

    Working elsewhere? Be very careful. I know many people in other lines of work and I would say that Britain in 2015 is not a pleasant place to work for many.

    Good luck. It's only a job. Do something at the weekend that's just for you.
  15. darklord11

    darklord11 Occasional commenter

    Standup for yourself or this witch will walk all over you. As suggested document what you have done and ask what their approach would be(probably won't have any idea).
    Stay strong and state your disappointment at her negativity and lack of support and encouragement and willingness to remove some of the workload.
    Find a nice independent school where your experience and expertise will be valued.
    Mrsmumbles likes this.
  16. greencycledevon

    greencycledevon New commenter

    In very job and every walk of life there is always something we could improve on. However you need to know that you are feeling as you do not because you have not done enough, but because your Line Manager has failed in her role. If she actually did say that you were 'disappointing’ (and in an email!) she not has not only failed as a manager, but as a human being. If there is some work to be undertaken by you as part of your duties, destroying your moral and your health is not an effective way to ensure that work is done to a good standard. Mis-management will lead to unsustainable levels of stress which leads to lower work performance. Negative comments about actual performance are not necessarily a bad thing - they can steer us away from problems and help us improve. The Harvard Business School points this out.... but in all the very best performing organisations in the US they also found that a ratio of 9:1 positive to negative comments were the norm in manager / worker interactions. Not a ratio very prevalent in schools today in my experience. You sound a great teacher. I hope you get some rest and some time away from work to recover your strength and your joy in teaching. And by time away I mean time off. If people like you are getting chased out of teaching we are all the poorer. Take care.
  17. drek

    drek Star commenter

    22 years... You know your own worth. Don't be sad because they are using cheap devices and fakemetres to measure that.
    It has an ofsted approved stamp all over it. And harrassed teachers signing contracts, ratifying it.
    Your best bet is to look elsewhere. You can't fight a whole pack of rabid wolves on your own. Hopefully you may find a healthier pack elsewhere.
    But you can hold your head up high. You gave your best to scores and scores of students.
    There is absolutely no way anyone, least of all the SLT, dfe, and ofsted, and those they proclaim as outstanding, can put a measure on that.
    Their fumbling ineptitude is clear for all to see! Don't beat yourself up about it. There is more to life even though it can be hard looking for it sometimes.
    Particularly when the present teacher harrassment processes can be put a stop to with immediate effect!
  18. FraPandolf

    FraPandolf New commenter

    You are brilliant and your line manager is short sighted. I too want to send you a virtual hug. I know how utterly destroying it is when you give everything to the school/dept and then you are criticised for something small and less important. Makes you think what is the point. Just think how many children you have taught over 22 years and how many lives you've had a positive impact on - I bet they are far from disappointed. Don't feel bad or sad. They are just not worth it. Xx
    notsonorthernlass likes this.
  19. jomaimai

    jomaimai Established commenter

    Reading you I could feel your pain inside me! Please, do not let them!
    I have been in your situation and I am determine to stay in education. I have needed two years and lots of reading in the TES Forums to understand the situation. Think about pros and cons, speak up or move to another school. Do not be afraid!
  20. oceanroc7

    oceanroc7 New commenter

    Thanks so much. I love your reply. I have no intention of making SLT look good - they try hard enough to do that themselves with their designer beards etc. Actually I respect the Headteacher but think SLT are all blinkered/in denial and pass this on to him.
    I met with the member of SLT I had so disappointed today (her choice of time and agenda of course - the only 20 minute slot I had free). I did mention that I was also disappointed...
    Anyway lets see what happens.

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