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Unwisely mentioned issues with my manager to a third party (school)

(15 Posts)
blackcoffee Thu 16-Dec-10 17:30:49

I work in a school and this year a new manager joined. Both I and my immediate line manager have concerns about the current running of the classroom. Responsibilities we are contracted for eg planning we are no longer expected to do, often it is not done at all or done late so no one knows what they are doing. The children are poorly behaved and there is general muddle, confusion and misinformation, to the point where I question the new person's professionalism. Eg, when a colleague asked for time to attend something for her children she was told the Head was unhappy about this and she could have the time off and we could all lie about where she had been. We all felt uncomfortable and in the end she asked Head, telling truth, and it was fine.
The Head is very pro this new person and does not want to hear of any problems.
However, a colleague who witnessed some of the children's behaviour recently asked me how it was going. And, foolishly, I told him. Demoralised, fed up and worried. To my horror he then reported our conversation to the Head, so I am wondering how I should proceed. I have nothing against the manager personally, but morale is v low atm and it is hard to do the best in these conditions. At the same time as support staff we are expected to be, well, supportive and I wish to goodness I had bitten my tongue and kept smiling. Others feel as I do but nobody likes it out in the open. I am expecting this to rebound big time.

IAmReallyFabNow Thu 16-Dec-10 17:33:23

It really shouldn't. It reads to me that you are concerned about the level of teaching given to the children and speaking up can only be in their best interests.

blackcoffee Thu 16-Dec-10 17:39:27

Yes I am v concerned. Head commented in the early weeks how well it was going and when he saw my face said, no it IS working, trust me. He obv has loads more experience than I do. All I have to compare is with previous manager who was supportive, with behavioural issues, planning, all aspects of running a classroom, used to hear children read regularly etc ...
so when colleague had also noticed I was quite relieved it was not just those in the room imagining stuff.
Manager would be gutted if I told her what I think and I can't go to Head.
I HATE office politics.

IAmReallyFabNow Thu 16-Dec-10 17:59:32

Try not to worry. You have done the right thing. Maybe the teacher is struggling and would appreciate some help and guidance.

cornyPrawnsdefrostJasonDonovan Thu 16-Dec-10 18:08:07

I used to work with a teacher who had managed to convince everyone (including the parents) that she was God's gift to teaching. I did PPA in her class each week and it was hell on Earth - absolute bedlam. In the end I went to speak to the Head (not about the teacher - about the children's behaviour - it was unbearable).Anyway - he knew. Couldn't do a lot about the situation but made me feel better about it. Don't worry - other people will be thinking the same thing as you.

blackcoffee Thu 16-Dec-10 18:20:55

Thanks, I feel better now. Disloyal, but better. It got the the point where I was boiling over, otherwise I would not have said.
No, manager would be insulted to be offered help/advice. She thinks she is right. Advisory background. Head brought her in (without observing her teach) to achieve flagship results etc. A supply teacher dared to leave a note suggesting a couple of things and it was indignantly binned.
She is a nice woman, except not entirely trustworthy in that she will agree one thing within classroom and (mis)represent another to outside, sometimes at the expense of colleagues. And no common sense in dealing with the children.

blackcoffee Thu 16-Dec-10 18:23:03

and Head may know, but will never admit it and will be punitive towards anyone who dares say it. He cannot afford to have messed up the appointment. It's lose/lose all round, until she gets promoted out of the classroom.

blackcoffee Thu 16-Dec-10 22:09:08

What do you think Head will do with info, if anything?

cornyPrawnsdefrostJasonDonovan Thu 16-Dec-10 22:51:08

probably nothing but sit on it
try not to worry - you are not the only person thinking this.

mamas12 Thu 16-Dec-10 23:10:05

do you know one of the parent govenors to have a quiet word in their ear?
Sometimes that helps.

blackcoffee Thu 16-Dec-10 23:28:04

Thanks. Am probably worrying too much. I think I have said enough tbh without involving parent governors. It all gets a bit chinese whispers. I like the woman and I wish her no harm, is just v frustrating to work with, especially when we have come from a background of autonomy and a fair degree of order. She recently gave me a glowing ref for training purposes so I feel like a real back stabber.
Head has been into the room on couple of occasions, on the last one observing me, but you have to be around regularly to see the full deal. Colleagues have noticed only because they had exposure during drama rehearsals. Supply has commented and the ppa cover has been appalled at children's behaviour (though it is a diff classroom on these days).
I think I will go in with a more positive attitude. Bit like with the children, positive reinforcement rather than oh no she's left her bloody memory stick at home what the hell are we doing this week.
If I do train, chances are she will be a mentor.

tethersjinglebellend Thu 16-Dec-10 23:41:39

You could try going to her and saying something along the lines of "What do you think about the children's behaviour? What could we do to improve it?"

In other words, flatter her ego and ask her for advice, whilst actually pointing out that the children have gone feral and something needs to be done.

It can work a treat IME.

blackcoffee Fri 17-Dec-10 00:17:13

I will try, but I don't think she realises the extent of the problem. She accepts shouting at carpet time as the norm and I have seen boys stamping on each other in playfights about a foot away from her.
She does have strategies but they are a bit random. For instance one boy who has always been a bit challenging (poss learning diffs) was doing well with firm, consistent guidance. Now he is either bribed with stickers, or left out entirely. She will give up to 10 stickers at a time.
The Head did comment on behaviour at drama rehearsals but in relation to the younger children I deal with (part of a unit). I was not present but I would say the younger children are on the whole fairly OK behaviourwise, we do have a challenging few, and they are tending to copy the behaviour they have seen from the older children. Manager is responsible for whole unit.
The younger children ended up as an afterthought in the play and the Head told us we were rubbish after the first performance. Manager was off sick. I and another TA geed them up for the second performance and it was OK (not great at they had not rehearsed, and we hadn't a clue where they wd be standing etc) but Head thanked manager profusely in public even though she wasn't there and had contributed the least of any staff member involved.
Perhaps I could bring it up next term, but she does not welcome unsolicited input.

blackcoffee Fri 17-Dec-10 17:49:06

Just to update, a senior staff member discussed it with my immediate manager, and yes Head is aware. Phew! so no harm done. We have left it that my immediate manager will try to make the kind of suggestions that tethers mentioned and if no improvement it will be reviewed. No one has said anything to the senior manager, which is great as I really don't want a personal clash or resentment. I think she feels support staff are hostile at present - but it isn't her we don't like it is the chaos!
Head came in today as one boy was being dragged off a chair onto his head and another beaten up in the book corner. I hope now something will be done, we had these children in the preschool section last year and they are lovely lovely lovely - they deserve so much more than they are getting in terms of guidance, and learning support.
Thanks those who responded last night I was in a right tizz, happy holidays.

blackcoffee Sat 15-Jan-11 13:41:18

oh god all this has kicked off
something has obvs been said to as my immediate manager was called in for a meeting and was basically blamed for a poor working atmosphere and asked to be more open about issues
I have also been asked to be open.
how should I go about this? some of the issues that upset me most are quite personal, eg being ask to lie, information shared with some indiviuals not others, people being asked to report on others ...
As for the atmosphere, yes it is terrible, especially now everything is in the open. Manager will barely speak to me. I have been trying to just get on with the job and concentrate on the children. If I am to be genuinely 'open' I am worried this will have even more unpleasant consequences
how can you tell your manager that problems such as morale are affected by their leadership? there is no way to do this, is there.

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