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Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by IceCreamVanMan, Dec 7, 2015.

  1. IceCreamVanMan

    IceCreamVanMan Occasional commenter

    Hi, I just started a new job and a complaint from a student has made me very worried and concerned. Without going into detail, my HOD and HT have now observed with no problems and all seems ok, yet....

    My last job was awful (yelled at, lots of paperwork, awful behavioural issues) and since this has happened, have panicked and am now worried. I don't want anyone to know that I am worried; I don't want to keep returning to the issue if it is okay but the stress that I felt last year has returned. Nobody has said my job is in jeopardy but nobody knows the hell I went through last year.

    Any advice? I really like my new school and am gutted that this student complained (and I was able to show it was easily resolved) but my past is giving me a huge inferiority complex. Grin and bear it? Or talk to someone (I do have a mentor as a new member of staff) or ....?

    Thanks for any advice!
  2. anon8315

    anon8315 Established commenter

    Honestly, this is so common once you've had a bad experience somewhere. I know that's no consolation where anxiety is concerned but we have all been there.

    One gentle tip is to keep it for the house. At school, be poised, confident, professional and cheerful. Fake it till you make it!
    Dragonlady30 and IceCreamVanMan like this.
  3. jago123

    jago123 Established commenter

    What was the complaint about? If your Headteacher and Head of Department have observed and concluded with no issues, there must be no major issue, unless of course, if it's a safeguarding problem then there will be a possible formal investigation.
  4. Katierobertson

    Katierobertson New commenter

    From what you have said it is a minor issue. It is very common to overreact in a new situation after a horrible one but it is still good practice to document everything in writing if possible. I email myself a short recount if there's something I think I will need so it is date stamped . do talk to your mentor but be careful what you say. I often ask for ideas on what I could do in a situation in the future or what the policy of the school is as this is useful.
  5. IceCreamVanMan

    IceCreamVanMan Occasional commenter

    Definitely not a safe-guarding issue - the student complained not challenged enough in class (although she wasn't finishing quicker) and not enough homework, although she seemed to forget that she was also able to do supplemental activities on-line. I think part of it may be that she also doesn't like me much, so am not sure how much is motivated by that.

  6. englishteach101

    englishteach101 Occasional commenter

    I'm going into a new job in January and I'm very nervous as my last job was incredibly stressful and I don't want to get back to that stress. I've spent a term on supply and this has really enabled me to assess where I am and what I'm good at.

    Focus on the positives and dismiss this issue as dealt with- for your peace of mind you might want to check with your line manager or the observers that this matter is indeed closed but then move on. Challenge the hell out of the student and see it as you've won this one. I'm going to focus on taking each day as it comes and to compartmentalise my new role otherwise I always end up taking too much stuff on.

    Have you thought about a learning menu where students can select their homework task and accrue points towards the terms homework? That way the student feels a certain level of choice in the task and you get to mark varied work. Definitely something I'm going to implement in my new post.

    Unfortunately teachers are questioned nowadays, I'm sure I saw a meme on facebook on this and we have to be whiter than white, but take comfort in the fact that you're not alone. I was questioned last year by a parent who felt that her daughter should have been given higher marks on her drama practical coursework and should have had a larger part in the musical, I had to go back to the parent with the markscheme and show why her darling wasn't working at an A, she just wasn't good enough. It wasn't pleasant but it was dealt with and I had to draw a line under it rather than let it influence me.

    Big hugs, you can do this!
  7. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    I've been there too. Start doing regular exercise or mindfulness, anything to refocus your mind. Kids are adept at sniffing out fear. Don't let them. You are good, remember that!
  8. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    I feel that having had their complaint dismissed - and the other students will doubtless know this too - the student is in a poor position whereas you, on the contrary, are in a very strong one!

    • They complained.
    • It was investigated.
    • It was found to have no grounds.
    • You were totally exonerated.

    You are now in a stronger position than if nobody had complained! Well done.

    Best wishes

    Dragonlady30 likes this.
  9. ttxes12

    ttxes12 New commenter

    Sounds like the issue can be easily resolved. I had this once and so decided to bring some A level questions in to challenge the students that redeemed themselves to be highly intelligent as it actually really annoyed me. They couldn't do them and got an A on their test and not an A* how ironic. I sometimes think that these students do just complain for the sake of being awkward and want to be perceived as cleverer than they are to their parents who love the idea of owning a child genius. Maybe you should address it directly with her and give her some extra harder work and an A level text book along with the corresponding topic. See what they says? I bet they won't be so keen once they realise you're on to them.

    I would also talk to someone if you were worried. Always makes me feel better and they nobody else needs to know what happened at your old school.
  10. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    It is a storm in a teacup. I can understand why you might feel worried because of your bad experience at your other school, but don't let this incident ruin your joy of your new school.

    What the student complained about is a very tiny matter which has now been resolved. If you had gone in with some knives or something, then I can see a reason for a complaint. If she wasn't challenged, allmshe had to do was ask you for more work.
  11. Bsprout

    Bsprout New commenter

    Agree with all the replies above. There are always some children / parents who complain about someone new. These things are often initiated by over-anxious parents who worry about their child having a new teacher. Is it worth phoning the parents to suggest some stretch and challenge activities that the child could do if she feels she isn't being challenged by the normal tasks?
    As others have said, you should take the attitude that this was an opportunity for your new HOD and HT to see you in action and give their support. Lucky you! There are times when I would love someone to watch me teach and let me know that I'm doing ok!
  12. IceCreamVanMan

    IceCreamVanMan Occasional commenter

    Many thanks for such good advice. It was a bit awkward in class today but made sure I was fully prepared (extra handouts for early completion of tasks), writing LO and homework on board and plan, eg.we did a new bit of gramnar before returning to a text we were doing and when a comment came, could point to class plan on board to explain why (they needed the brief intro to help). Student seems trying to catch me out, but I am remaining confident, professional and calm - gosh, hard to be mentally BUT....

    I had to meet HT about another matter and brought up issue very calmly, eg. any other problem raised and he said all well and not to worry. I believe him. I did speak informally to a colleague and again, that reassured me.

    Many, many thanks. I'm very appreciative of all your advice.
  13. englishteach101

    englishteach101 Occasional commenter

    Well done! Hope you're feeling better about it all. I like the phrase, storm in a teacup, very applicable. Now you can get on with your job which you are clearly doing well and try not to worry about it.

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