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Workplace stress, depression and unwarranted disciplinary action

Discussion in 'Health and wellbeing' started by rosievoice, Jun 23, 2010.

  1. Gardening Leaves

    Gardening Leaves New commenter

    Dear Rosie
    How many more evil Heads are there? More than I ever believed possible, I'm afarid and,worse, LAs that know exactly what they are like but are prepared to cover for them
    . By and large they get away with it because victims are too worn down and traumatised to fight back. There0are ways of doing so, however. I am c urrently in the midst of a legal claim for harassment against my Head. It's not easy; it's long-winded and it'snot the besdt thing for everybody. Yet the more these evil people are properly held to account, the easier it will be for those who follow. Eventually they might just get the message that it isn't worth attempting to bully anyone.

    I wanted to reassure you that the way you are feeling is absolutely 'normal' given what you are going through - the short term memory loss et al.

    I am happy to share my experience and learning with anyone in a similar position. Do get in contact if you think it might help.
  2. Dear rosie

    Really plessed you are getting things sorted - you have received a lot of good advice on here :).
    Your school have a duty of care for you - this may well included opportunity to have counselling through occupational health - your union person should be able to advise. But so should occupation health. I had to wait so long through the NHS that I didnt get access through their services.

    Do not give up.

    I am constantly surprised by the number of similar cases heads and senior management can sometimes get away with 'murder' and it seems like they never pay. I wonder why there is no evidence for the department, ofsted et al to look at on this front and why cant prospective teachers find out about turnover?? Still that is another issue ....
    <u>Your health and well being must come first;</u> I have been able to work part time in another school which has restored my faith in teaching after a stressful upsetting destructive time. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

    things will get better - keep going.
    Remember to look after you.
    Keep in touch

  3. rosievoice

    rosievoice Star commenter

    Thank you everbody for your kind words and cyberhugs, I've never had a cyberhug before, but it has done me good! I am trying to take care and get better... this has been a wake-up call good and proper. I am off for a few days R and R in the countryside to charge my batteries. I am so sorry to hear about so many people in identical circumstances.
    My school was recently offstedded, and staff morale was reported as good, staff support was excellent, mentoring for new staff was superb!! Not a single teacher was asked these questions, so you wonder where the information came from....
    xxxxx Thank you.
  4. Gardening Leaves

    Gardening Leaves New commenter

    Sounds more and more like my last school, Rosie!! That's importatnt, in all seriousness, because it shows that it's not 'you' that is the problem but just another example of the kinds of activities incompetent, bullying Heads get up to. Now let me see; I bet the school's got investors in People accreditation! - bet the staff 'witnesses' were all rehearsed so thgey knew what to say, and I bet the Head used quotes from that to valuate staff morale in the SEF thgat Ofsted, in turn, used to inform their inepction,

    All these bullies think they are being so clever, Rosie, but they employ the same behaviours over and over again. It was brought home to me by the psychologist treating me when he explained precisely how my bullies had acted and how each stage developed without ever having met them.

    The good news is that because they behave the same, they make the same mistakes and tell the same kind of lies.

    Why not make a Data Subject Access request for disclosure of information of which you arwe the subject? Do it to thee Data Protection Officer of the school AND the LA. The LA should disclose the emails that have been flying backwards and forwards between your Head and the LA's HR department. It can reveal helpful evidence of correspondence thge Head never thought you would seem

    Take care. Stay strong.

    GL xx
  5. rosievoice

    rosievoice Star commenter

    Dear GL,
    Sorry to have taken so long to reply, but have been having a pretty horrible time of it all. The physical aspects of long-term workplace stress are becoming quite painful. I did a timeline for my counsellor and she was appalled. She wondered how I had managed to stay there for so long! My school is an indie, we have no access to LEA resources, and no HR dept to call our own. The report my GP produced did not tell the head what he wanted to hear, and now I must attend an independent medical service, which, to judge from the correspondence school have been unwise enough to supply me, (or perhaps they think it's OK to write blatantly biased things?) indicate that they believe I am making up my illness, and the dr they are now paying has to write a report to prove this. The head refers to the dr as a specialist in OHM, but his own website states that his specialisms are the writing of reports and the investigation of malingerers. What chance of a fair trial? I am taking a friend as a witness and to act as my memory, as I have short term memory problems, still.
    <u>Every</u> correspondence from the head has included the reminder that an unpleasant procedure is hanging over my head, and to please let them know when I will be back so that it can proceed. This doesn't help me to feel better at all, unsurprisingly. I have never had time off work like this. I have read some of your postings on your situation, and wish you success. Rosie x
  6. becky70

    becky70 Occasional commenter

    Hope GL will be along and respond soon but I just wanted to say how sorry I am you're going through this. I never felt strong enough to fight my SMT when they wanted me out and I just walked at the earliest opportunity. I hate reading all these stories and can't understand what makes people behave like this.
    I'm healthy and happy now in a lovely new school - I had to do supply for a while but my health improved once I left school from hell.
    Good luck with everything, Rosie.

  7. Good luck with all of this, it is a horrendous process. I was off work through a similar situation from October to January last year. I left in July and am now on supply but unfortunately getting very little work. That is stressful too but in a completely different way.
    My union rep was really good and said I could have taken a bullying case forward but I just couldn't face doing so. It is only now as I feel a bit better that I wish I had. However, I'm glad I'm well out of it all now, I don't know whether I will ever return to full time teaching.
    Good luck.
  8. Gardening Leaves

    Gardening Leaves New commenter

    Hello Rosie
    Huge cyberhugs winging their way across the ether to you <<<<HUUUUUUUUUGGGSSS>>>>
    Yes, it does all take ages and it is extremely stressful. I am two years adown the line with mine and we're still nowhere near the finishing line. Yes, I like the idea of making utter misery the lives of those who have caused such devastation and injury. I am not a vindictive person usually but I take great pleasure in thinking that those who hurt me are just about at the 'laying awake all night worrying after having had nightmares' stage. Once things started to turn in my favour, I began to feel a lot better.
    The most important thing is your health and you must always take doctors' advice and put that first. However, if you are up for fighting it is very cathartic. Not at first, mind you, when you are still immersed in the mire dredged up by the Head but as the huge ship begins to turn and things begin to fall in your favour, you really begin to feel better. (Aren't mixed metaphors a wonderful thing? )
    Your friend sounds an absolute boon - but don't let the union get away with not supporting you properly. Moan to region / head office if necessary. It's what you pay your subs for.
    Even though your school is private, the right to access of personal information is still enshrined in law. You need to find out who the Data Protection Officer at your school is, together with the DPOs of any organisation whom you think your Head will have been exchanging correspondence with and slap in a request for disclosure of information under the 1998 Data Protection Act. There is lots of excellent advice about your rights to disclosure of personal information on the Information Commissioner's website. You can make a request of the OH physician to disclose exactly what your Head has written to him about you and what he has written back. You also find odd emails are disclosed that they never ever thought would enter the public domain. Apart from anything else, if one side discloses and the other doesn't, you can make a formal complaint to the Information Commissioner about them breaching their statutory duty! Give them something else to worry about!
    Should you decide to do this I can help with a template for the letter you need to write and the guidance.
    You could also, as has been suggested, contact an employment lawyer and ask them to review your case. If there is a better than 50:50 chance of success, they will often take the case on on a conditional ('No Win, No Fee') basis. Having said that, I think that firstly it is the responsibility of your union to provide this for you. You may need to agitate to get them to do this but it's their responsibility.
    I think I said once before that liars and cheats make mistakes. They WILL trip themselves up if you give them enough rope to do so.

  9. Gardening Leaves

    Gardening Leaves New commenter

    Roseangel, it's not too late to make a claim for bullying. You may be out of time for a Tribunal but you have 6 years to bring a claim under the 1997 Protection from Harassment Act. As before, if you agitate with your union, they should support you - you have suffered loss as a consequence of your employer's actions.
  10. rosievoice

    rosievoice Star commenter

    To Gardening Leaves and Roseangel, and everyone else who has posted here, thank you for your support and understanding, and the cyberhugs. Thank you also for the offer of the template letter. I shall keep it in mind, and also the employment lawyer. The problem with insidious bullying like this is that it is a blow that leaves no visible marks.
    What sick mindset believes bullying is an acceptable method of "management". How come the teaching profession is so riddled with heads whose parents never married? My union rep told me he had defended a teacher at a disciplinary hearing, provided a huge number of witnesses and statements proving the head was bullying staff, and it was thrown out by the governors as the head had wormed his way into their friendship. Heads like these move from school to school wrecking lives, and ruining a noble profession. I can't see me ever going back to my school, nor indeed, teaching again. He has ruined my health and my professional life, is attempting to trash my reputation, and will shortly be depriving me of my salary. All to massage his over-arching ego, and to enjoy humiliating women.
    I am starting to feel a bit more fighty. I shall wait and see the report from the gp "gun for hire" and take it from there. I am sooooo hoping for a trip-up over a lengthy rope.....
  11. In this so-called 'caring profession' you are damned if you do and damned if you don't when you find yourself trying to balance personal crises and professional duties. For example, my mother was severely ill with a condition which eventually led to her death while I was trying to see out a two year contract in a developing country. Despite the malaria, the riot and the lethal car accidents, I was eager to see out my term as I was in my late twenties and I had wasted far too much time getting a foothold as a teacher.
    On returning to that country some seven years later, I visited my old school and bumped into a former pupil. What struck me most is that my former head of department had actually been sleeping with students as we had suspected at the time (hence his dying of 'the plague'), and that explained his virulent dislike of 'lakua'. I recall in particular being given Southern African history in my first term when it would have made more sense to have me teach European and World history while I found my feet. The 'character' in question even continued to teach the old Development Studies syllabus when he was awaiting a transfer to another school, much to the chagrin of the students I was teaching who believed one of their own until such time as I wallpapered my main classroom with the new syllabus.
    The irony of my putting up with all that is that on returning to Blighty nobody could care less where I had been and what I had done. It also bears mentioning that in an era of safeguarding and elf 'n safety anything that may contain a shadow of a doubt will be regarded as a mark against you. In other words, I think it is clear that you have no business in teaching in the UK if your voice and face do not fit, and you'd best scotch any notion that individualism and imagination have any place within the state system, ground down as that has been by the puritanical Gauliters who know the price of everything and the value of nothing, yah?
  12. Anonymous

    Anonymous New commenter

    How come you are still alive?
  13. At the risk of sounding flippant,I think that Indiana Jones nailed it when he said that it's not the years but the mileage that are a killer. From my own experience, I think that being plagued with regrets is the worst part, and that has literally given me sleepless nights for years on end, or rather nights plagued with nightmares.
    As I felt all of this brim up five years ago, I left London because I did not want to have a nervous breakdown. The irony is that I have subsequently been idle more often than not and I have been pepaid with interest for crossing swords with assorted bodies which seem to have less and less use for those of us whose faces and voices don't fit.
    Still, within a few weeks of an unaccountably postponed tribunal case where I hope to raise the matter of prospective employers disregarding my job applications for no sensible reason, I receive an enhanced CRB check in the post which has had some wild supposition scrubbed from it. While this is most welcome, obviously, I can't help thinking that it's odd that it should arrive some three months after I told the agency to rip up my cheques to cover that cost, which the confirmed at the time.
    In the unlikely event of my winning a prize in teaching, I'd use the event as an opportunity to lambast the local MP who ostentiously summoned me at an inconvenient time to meet with him only for him to serve up a no show, the union which argued the toss about what is and is not paedophile behaviour when defending a British colleague while I was left to my own devices when a council where I never lived or worked lobbed a great big dollop of supposition to Data Protection without informing me or giving me a right to reply and, last but not least, the FE college which recently chased up some missing attendance details some ten months after sacking me when I ended up in hospital with a neuropathy which rendered me virtually speechless, unable to walk or exercise fine motor control.
    Anywho, isn't it grand to be in the service of such a 'caring' profession? One wonders how many of my former colleagues either spoke against or stayed well away from the ongoing hate campaign waged against me online, simply because the social networking set can't abide anyone who deviates from the norm. I say this knowing full well that prospective employers and many other bodies who should know better feed off these sites. The less said the better about the extent to which many such sites are driven by those acting ;'off the clock'.
  14. How come you are still alive?

    An Irish nun died out there of cerebal malaria during my tour, although she contacted it in Hwange. Jose Camacho, a Science teacher at the school where I served, sustained injuries in a car accident where my last words to him as the pickup began to slide in the sand were 'whatever you do, don't lose the [box of] wine' (proving that life doesn't imitate Art so much as bad TV). The riot was farcical even though I managed to get caught out between the police as they doused the fleeing students with teargas and the students who, understandably, tried to flee back to the hostels (I had not anticipated the stand-off on the school playing fields ending so abruptly, obviously). And yet the closest I came to serious death was probably as I stood over a rain gulley on the road from Chimanimani went the verge collapsed beneath me. I was lucky as I landed on my bum, but there would have been no catching me if I had fallen into the gully as it ran at speed to a precipice some minute or so from that spot.
  15. Spike Milligan's tombstone bears the legend: I told you I was ill. My posts here bear witness to the legacy of having had a neuropathy. That said, I think that while all deaths are serious, some are more serious than others.

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