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unfair decision, feeling very depressed

(27 Posts)
fedupofbeingused Tue 23-Oct-12 21:07:49

Hi guys, this is my first post on here, i am a single mum of 2, one of each :-) . Right long story, so will try to cut down; When my youngest started school last September i decided it was time to get my career head on and decided to think about becoming a teaching assistant ( i have always wanted to work with children and was studying a diploma in childhood studies when i feel pregnant with my first, unfortunately due to new baby could not complete) I found out about lots of different courses and asked at my local primary (the one my youngest attends) if i could volunteer in the classrooms... i also started working there as a lunch time supervisor. I volunteered last academic yr for 16 hrs per week, doing anything and everything a paid teaching assistant would, but due to my ill health ( Thyroid cancer ) decided not to start a course as the vol hrs plus 5 hrs lts hrs were draining me as it was, but wanted to make a good impression at the school so kept up with my vol hrs, i always made them aware of my hopes of being employed there in a paid role one day and had lots of great feed back from the 2 teachers i helped... i got my hopes up .... Over the summer hols i fell out with a friend and fellow LTS over some judgemental comments she made about be being on benefits, when the children returned to school this sept i asked the head about returning to do my vol hrs and she seemed quite dismissive and i was only offered 6 hrs vol, mainly just filling, hearing readers etc just a couple of hrs classroom work, i spoke with her about this and she assured me i had done nothing wrong, just the rules had changed and that as i wasn't studying to be a TA they could only treat me as a normal parent helper... ok fair enough i thought..... In the meantime i noticed the former friend going in to the heads office on several occassions, the head became off with me, although noting i could really pinpoint, just different to how she treated/spoke to me before?? Then the next thing you know this former friend is being given cover hours when a TA was off sick.... will just add that this lady has had NO classroom experience or done any vol helping, only her lunch time shifts. I was not happy, so made the school aware that i was not happy, i arranged a meeting with the head to discuss my disappointment, she assured me that it was not a reflection on me, that i had done nothing wrong etc, but that a quick decision had to be made and this lady was the first name to be thought of??? Hmmmmm ! Well this week i found out that one of the TA's is taking time off for health reasons so asked the school secretary if she knew if they had cover for this TA, she asked for me and yes they already had sorted it... GUESS WHO do you think had been given it??? i spoke to the headteacher this evening briefly after a PTA meeting ( that i am a member of, but not this other lady) I said i was upset not to have been asked again and said can i reiterate my interest to be contacted when cover work came up and she said that i could but she doesn't invisage any becoming available... What the ?? her tone was not pleasant and she was staring through me like i was worthless.... I don't know what i have done to deserve this or what to do from here? Feeling extremely depressed not helped by the fact that next month my income support switches to JSA and i will have to be actively seeking work.. not easy when you live in a village and don't drive, i had pinned all my hopes on getting a position at the school ( 5 min walk up the rd) when it expands in sept coming, and thought that with all my experience over the past yr and the good feedback from the teachers i would stand a good chance ( i have also just signed up to start a city and guilds level 3 TA diploma and told the head this) but from the recent attitude from the head i am guessing i wont be considered at all :-(((

Shoppaholic Tue 23-Oct-12 23:20:04

That is really bad for your morale and extremely unprofessional on the part of the head. It seems that reasoning with her is not getting you anywhere. I would write to her in the first instance to see why you were overlooked. Often when people are asked to put something in writing, their attitude changes completely. As a last resort, it may be in your interests to write to the governors. You might be surprised to learn that not all governors suck up to the head. Good luck!

janey68 Wed 24-Oct-12 06:44:38

While it seems odd how things have turned out, and you have clearly done everything you should do to get experience, I think it's a mistake to pin all your hopes on securing a paid post in one specific school. Teaching assistant jobs are really hard to get, there's usually masses of competition and often it might be the case that quite a lot of people would be good enough to do the job so it doesn't mean you've done anything wrong. If you're serious about becoming an assistant you'll cast the net wider and look at other schools- even though this may mean learning to drive, spending out on public transport, organising car shares and childcare etc. Without meaning to sound harsh, that's the reality in the world of work, no one can be guaranteed a convenient job 5 minutes along the road (though we'd all love one!). You have done absolutely all the right things in getting qualifications and experience, so now you need to get out there and sell those skills in the market place

Lougle Wed 24-Oct-12 07:10:30

I'm sorry to hear that you've been disappointed. One small point though -helping in a classroom doesn't mean you have TA experience, and it isn't unfair to choose someone else for a role. Unless you had an agreement with the had that you would volunteer with a view to transitioning to a paid role when available, then you shouldn't be seeing voluntary hours as 'currency' for future work. Voluntary hours should be freely given, no strings attached.

janey68 Wed 24-Oct-12 07:34:49

Yes, agree lougle. To put this in perspective, at my children's school there have been quite a few mums who've volunteered, thinking this might give them a foot in the door for paid work. When they recently advertised for a classroom assistant, the person who was appointed was not a school mum, she had been working in another school, is a graduate and is planning on a teaching career in a few years. (She works in ds's class and we've chatted in the playground a bit which is how I discovered this)
The reality these days is that when a job is advertised its likely to attract a high calibre of candidates, and quite rightly the school should be completely fair and appoint the best person for the job. I get the impression at my kids school that a few of the mums had their noses put out of joint about this appointment which is very unreasonable of them; no one promised them a job just because they'd volunteered.

fedupofbeingused Wed 24-Oct-12 08:02:20

Yes all of the above would be fair enough and i would not feel upset, if the person appointed had any qualifications/relevant experience etc.... the fact is i can only assume she has gone to the head and bad mouthed me to gain the position, as i said, i was well liked and respected at the school and has great feed back and other teachers telling me to keep going as what i was doing was a good way to get a future job ( approx 80% of the TA's at the school have gained their jobs by doing excatly what i have, unfortunately, they were all appointed by the previous head) Lougle..... i didn't just 'assist' in the classroom i worked for free as a TA for 16 hours a week, was given all the same jobs and responsibility as a paid TA, worked with small groups of usually struggling children and wrote up note on how they had understood the learning objectives of lessons etc... wrote TA at the top of childrens work where i had asissted them... on another note this work was not advertised, just given to this other lady. i know several of the governers at the school so will be making contact today, thankyou shopaholic. I am not the only person confused by this decision as many children in the village have been bullied and threatened by this ladies boys, including mine. I would have been more than happy to volunteer in the same way as any other 'parent helper' with no prospect of a job at the end of it, but the reality is i was way more than just a 'parent helper'.

janey68 Wed 24-Oct-12 09:10:09

If this woman bad mouthed you to gain a position then do you really want to work in such an unprofessional set up? It all sounds very unfair and as if a culture has grown up of people getting jobs by the back door. That's really bad practice. Any decent organisation will advertise properly, and appoint the best person for the job

fedupofbeingused Wed 24-Oct-12 09:33:52

Yeah i know Janey, i have thought along those lines too, some of the staff there are really lovely, but i do also worry about my child attending this school as the level of care and professionalism at the top are something to be desired, but without a driving license (or the funds to get one) and the public transport in the village not being very good, it leaves us in a very difficult position.... the only other way i can think of getting round it, is to apply for jobs at other primary schools (if any come up) in the local area and then try and get my youngest a place at the same school, then we can travel together and i wont have to worry about paying childcare, my eldest is old enough to be at home for a short time alone. It has just got me down to realise just how unfair the workplace can be , you would think someone supposedly as intelligent as a head teacher would be able to rise above tittle tattle and gossip etc....

StillSquiffy Wed 24-Oct-12 11:12:07

You are making very wide assumptions that A) you have been badmouthed, B) the headteacher gossips and is judgemental, C) The head doesn't know what she is doing, and D) the other supervisor is not as good at TA stuff as you.

You have absolutely NOTHING to base any of these assumptions on.

It is really tough when there are few jobs going and you don't drive and have kids so are limited to certain jobs and have health problems to boot. That is really shit and deserves sympathy. It is really shit when you work hard in the hope of achieving something and it doesn't pan out. That is really shit and deserves sympathy.

But that doesn't mean you have been treated unfairly. What you need to do is to stop getting the hump about this woman and the Head being out to get you, and to start thinking about all of this a bit rationally.

You need to think about:-
1) WHY does the head like this woman and not like you? Could it be something other than your opinion that you have been badmouthed? Is there anything you could have done differently?
2) If you are convinced that the fall-out with the other woman is behind this, are you sure that the head is acting because the woman is telling lies about you or because the circumstances of the fall-out have led her to think you are not the type of person she wants in the classroom? what caused the fall-out, and what happened?
3) If you have had great feedback from the teachers, why are they not fighting your corner? Have you asked them what more you can do, or whether they have recommended you to the head? Have you asked then if they would support you in an application for a TA position?

Any boss wants things to work smoothly and for their staff to deliver good performance and work well together. They want the people who are good at their job over the people who are not good at their job. Even shit bosses strive for the same thing. This head clearly thinks that things work better with the other lady than with you, and you need to really understand the reasoning if you are to move forward.

And, if you are planning on 'going to the governors' about this, you need to be doubly sure of your ground, and very careful that you promote yourself and your capability rather than try to knock down the other woman.

Legally, you might have a cause to complain if you discovered (and had evidence to prove) that you have not been given this work because of your illness. Not advertising a position is not something you can complain about, nor is appointing one unqualified person over another. Having more experience should have put you ahead but only if the teachers you worked for rated you and told the head you were good. Putting in the extra voluntary hours does make it tough for you, but again, does not give you any legal rights to first dibs at a role. That all deserves loads of sympathy, but doesn't entitle you to the job you want.

Rockchick1984 Wed 24-Oct-12 11:20:01

Simply a thought, and no idea if this is possible but trying to look at it from another angle. Are you certain there is no way this former friend is now on the course you considered? That would explain why she has been in to see the head, and why she is being given these opportunities. The head reducing your duties could be a combination of now having someone who is doing the qualifications and needs the experience, and the fact that they were using you as an unpaid TA to give you the experience for your course? Now that you won't be taking the course they feel obliged to offer the work to someone who is likely to get a job from it? As another poster said, competition is fierce for TA roles (my mum is one, as is my MIL) and realistically with no qualifications you probably wouldn't have got a job there anyway even taking your ex friend out of the situation sad

Lougle Wed 24-Oct-12 17:13:30

fedupofbeingused Wed 24-Oct-12 08:02:20

Yes all of the above would be fair enough and i would not feel upset, if the person appointed had any qualifications/relevant experience etc....

Her qualifications/relevant experience are none of your concern. Also, the best markers for a good TA are qualities that can be encouraged and nurtured. No matter what experience someone has, you can't change their personality, and often personality is an essential factor.

the fact is i can only assume she has gone to the head and bad mouthed me to gain the position, as i said, i was well liked and respected at the school and has great feed back and other teachers telling me to keep going as what i was doing was a good way to get a future job ( approx 80% of the TA's at the school have gained their jobs by doing excatly what i have, unfortunately, they were all appointed by the previous head)

You think you were well liked and respected. That doesn't mean that you can transition to a job there. The teachers are not recruiting, the head is. I know in my own line of work, some of the best Care Assistants would not have made a good transistion to being a Nurse.

Lougle..... i didn't just 'assist' in the classroom i worked for free as a TA for 16 hours a week, was given all the same jobs and responsibility as a paid TA, worked with small groups of usually struggling children and wrote up note on how they had understood the learning objectives of lessons etc... wrote TA at the top of childrens work where i had asissted them...

Again, that's your perception, and in fact on this alone I'd hazard a guess that you haven't got much insight to the job of a TA. Did you get told that you were working as a 'TA for free' or did you just assume that you were?

on another note this work was not advertised, just given to this other lady.

That isn't a problem, necessarily.

I know several of the governers at the school so will be making contact today, thankyou shopaholic.

I am a Governor at my DD's school. A Governor will not (should not) make representations for you. They also should not discuss the matter with you, but refer you to the Headteacher.

I am not the only person confused by this decision as many children in the village have been bullied and threatened by this ladies boys, including mine. I would have been more than happy to volunteer in the same way as any other 'parent helper' with no prospect of a job at the end of it, but the reality is i was way more than just a 'parent helper'.

Again, in your view.

At the end of the day, the Head has decided you are not Teaching Assistant material, it seems.

FireOverBabylon Wed 24-Oct-12 17:21:04

I am not the only person confused by this decision as many children in the village have been bullied and threatened by this ladies boys, including mine

Why does this mean that she shouldn't get the job?

janey68 Wed 24-Oct-12 18:09:46

I agree with the ab

fedupofbeingused Wed 24-Oct-12 18:12:20

Wow ! so someone posts feeling depressed and you guys decide to put the person down even further?! that is not helpful. Lougle, the teacher i helped mostly actually commented on my Thankyou card from him and the children at the end of last school yr, that i was so good they kept forgetting i was not a paid member of staff, the other teacher expressed in her card her enthusiasm for me to join her again this yr..... Many parents have approached me in the playground and said how much their children talk about me and like me, i have not asked them to take time out to make this approach so obv i have done something right for them to make the effort. .... stillsquiffy ; me and this friend fell out over judgemental comments she made about me currently being on benefits and when her sons tag teamed, hit and threatened to kill my son,(witnessed by several other children) i went out and told them off, not in an aggressive way, but after getting a lot of lip back from them i asked them to go home before i went and told their mum about their behaviour. So not really anything there to in any way mean i shouldn't be in the classroom, unless of course things were twisted, which these days unfortunately seems the norm. I put in my previous post that i can only ASSUME that she bad mouthed me to the head... i didn't say that that definately did happen, but after racking my brains on what i could have done to put the school off employing me, that was only thing i could think off, as the attitude from the school towards me seemed to change over the summer holiday's...before the summer the head was friendly and supportive, then afterwards she wasn't... it may be coincidence, sure, but it may not!
Please guys i am feeling really quite down, i don't need negative comments right now, was just hoping for constructive help on what i can do from here if anything as i feel really quite lost :'-(

janey68 Wed 24-Oct-12 18:18:12

Whoops! I agree with the above posts.
Nothing can ever guarantee you a job. You can get all the qualifications and experience in the world but it still doesn't guarantee you a specific job in a specific workplace. If you are serious about this line of work you would be casting the net much wider and looking at how you can learn to drive, use public transport, set up a car share scheme etc to enable you to travel out of your village. That's real life, yes it takes some effort and expense but it's an investment in your future

I also think you need to question whether it's actually right that you've been writing 'TA^ on children's work when you've been a volunteer in the classroom, not employed as a TA.

Whatever the ins and outs, it's clear that the head and govs want this other woman, not you. It's utterly pointless and a waste of energy to feel sour grapes about it- pick yourself up and find a job somewhere else.
Also, although its certainly good practice to advertise jobs, it's not illegal to not do so. And as far as the woman's son being a bully is concerned- it's an entirely separate issue, and if you have concerns then address the school. Are you seriously suggesting the alleged behaviour of a child should affect their parents employment prospects?!

flowery Wed 24-Oct-12 18:21:17

In terms of what you should do:

Meet with the head, thank her for her feedback and reiterate that you are still very keen and committed to the school, and would very much like to be considered next time, and informed of any opportunities that arise.

Don't pursue it with governors, dwell on it, blame the other woman, assume malicious intent or gossip. That won't help you in future as you will be perceived more negatively.

Actively look for work elsewhere and avoid pinning all your hopes on this one.

fedupofbeingused Wed 24-Oct-12 18:22:13

I was TOLD TO WRITE TA on the childrens work by the teachers and also to fill in the learning objective forms !!

fedupofbeingused Wed 24-Oct-12 18:26:33

Thankyou flower, that was the kind of help i was looking for.. i did speak with the head, as i said, very politely last night and her response to me was what made me want advice/help as she was not pleasant towards me.. i still went in to the school this afternoon to honour my commitment to the voluntary work i have been given this year and still went in for my lunch shift.. which was actually not easy to do whilst feeling very upset by her, but i put a smile on my face and got on with it.x

janey68 Wed 24-Oct-12 19:00:38

Sounds to me like the teachers are not acting professionally in giving the impression that children are being supported for a piece of work by an employed TA rather than a classroom volunteer.

That's not any reflection on your skills btw. It's just a plain fact that it seems protocols arent followed correctly.

As flowery says, look for another job- no good flogging a dead horse

fedupofbeingused Wed 24-Oct-12 19:46:59

Thanks Janey... i have been searching my local authority job recruitment/advertising site for a few months now, most jobs coming up seem to be miles away, yes i could consider using public transport to get to some places (but not all as public transport here is rubbish) plus i have to remember that i lost my last job due to problems with public transport.. ie; i took a job working in a shop in the next town when my eldest started school, there was a train to get me there on time everyday... well it should have done, but unfortunately the service was very unreliable, often late or cancelled all together.... the train before was a whole hour earlier (only one train an hour) and would have meant dropping my son off at school at 7am !! so i subsequently lost my job due to being late frequently...buses were not an option as also only 1 an hour and took a whole hour to get to the next town with lots of stop in all the villages on the way. So with all this i have to consider very carefully where i could realistically get to on a daily basis... driving really isn't an option at the moment, my Dr is referring me to CBT to work on my anxiety issues which include severe anxiety about driving, i am not a great passenger either! lol. Why oh why can i not be normal ?!?! ( p.s the school do not know about my anxiety as they have never posed as an issue to me there so didn't feel the need to, so can't be that putting them off me) I loved working at that school last yr, got on well with the other TA's and loved helping the children and seeing them progress, really hope i can find something soon, hate being on benefits and hate even more the thought of having to sign on and have the job center breathing down my neck to take any job even if it means putting my kids in to childcare for hrs everyday ( i didn't have kids to pay someone else to look after them and if their father still lived here i wouldn't have to consider it ) Sorry to rant, i guess i just need to get it all off my chest and better here, anon, than all over facebook or similar ! LOL. xxx

janey68 Wed 24-Oct-12 20:12:26

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

fedupofbeingused Wed 24-Oct-12 20:30:58

When did i say my child was being bullied at school???? !!!! i said he was threatened outside our home ! shows how much care you put in to reading posts properly! I am making steps by doing cbt to help with my anxiety over driving . i am so bloody sorry i have these issues and that they annoy you so much, a phrase my mum always used to say..if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all... something you could do with putting into practice ! And my issue is not with paid childcare it is with not spending time with my kids !! please go away janey, i asked for advice not bitchiness !

Rockchick1984 Wed 24-Oct-12 20:43:08

fedup I think Janey was a bit harsh there but I would have to agree with the sentiment - unfortunately the job market is very competitive at the moment and you do need to find ways to stand out or at least not fall behind the other candidates. I understand that you are suffering with anxiety issues but honestly, if you are living in a village and don't drive you need to be willing to do whatever it takes to get there on time - I have done it myself, living in a tiny village with no train station and an hourly bus which was almost always late. I used to have to get the earlier bus, and generally wait around for an hour or so for my shift to start but that's all a normal part of working if you don't drive. No employer will hire you if you are giving excuses about why you will be late before you even start (even if your reasons are genuine and valid, they are ultimately still excuses).

fedupofbeingused Wed 24-Oct-12 21:10:54

I didn't say that i wouldn't do all it takes to get there, i said i would have to think about where i could consider applying for jobs, so that i can get there on public transport, but also have to consider how reliable the public transport is... as services are quite often cancelled without warning.... i didn't once say anything about giving prospective employers excuses before starting.... really wish i hadn't bothered to post on here, thought i might get some constructive advice, instead i have just been critisised...really sums up the way this country is going, the governments we're all in this together' couldn't be further from the truth that actually it is becoming very much an every man for himself world.

GrendelsMum Wed 24-Oct-12 21:17:05

It sounds like you're already doing the right thing by actively looking for other employment opportunities, so it may be just a matter of time before posts come up at other schools.

Meanwhile, if you keep going with your CBT, you may find that you've addressed your anxiety issues and you're able to drive again, so that will give you a much wider range of potential job options.

FWIW, I waited for about a year before my current post came up at a place I particularly wanted to work at, and just checked the job ads regularly.

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