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Need a rant- this is what is wrong with teaching

(45 Posts)
StaircaseAtTheUniversity Wed 11-Feb-15 19:19:22

Both I and husband are secondary school teachers. I'm 2nd in a core subject, he's head of department in another subject. I'm on maternity leave.

DH works so hard. He's honestly one of the hardest working individuals I have ever met. 5 days a week he does 14hrs in school- comes home and then marks for an hours before bed. Works so hard it's to the detriment of home life at times. He has spent the last three weeks taking kids on field trips- residential- which have been a PITA to organise and stressful and meant he's missed three weekends with DD who is 7 months old.

He's just phoned in tears because he got a few negative reviews from the student voice from his tricky and poorly behaved bottom set year 9. Head teacher thought 6pm the day after he came back from one field
Trip and the day before he goes on another was a great time to go through these in detail. Says he's at breaking point and doesn't know what he can do to work harder or do better. My heart breaks for him as I'm nothing like as dedicated a teacher or manager as him-
He really does do it for the love of the kids.

Angry most of all because bastard student voice is such a box ticking ofsted load of bollocks and it's been used in this case to make a dedicated individual feel worthless.

Just wanted to have a rant as you lot understand. Fucking wankers.

noblegiraffe Wed 11-Feb-15 19:28:38

Head teacher is a twat.

Maybe he should issue questionnaires to his staff and find out just how poor a people manager he is.

Your DH doesn't need to work harder or better, he needs to work less and be less invested in the kids. He has his own kid now.

penny13610 Wed 11-Feb-15 19:31:33

His bottom set can write well enough to complain and they can remember his name. He must be doing something right. wine

cansu Wed 11-Feb-15 19:35:07

Maybe this will be what he needs so that he works less. Head is an arse. This should allow your dh to realise that whatever he does will not be enough for this school.

StaircaseAtTheUniversity Wed 11-Feb-15 20:54:56

Yes, we've had a long talk since he's come in to the tune of that he needs to take his foot off the gas. I think this is the wake up call he's needed to see that his priorities need to change to be honest. Agree the head is a wanker of the highest order. The thing with DH is that he's so nice. I think in the same scenerio I would have probably not been able to hide my absolutely fucking rage at the head.

penny I said exactly this! I would take that as a victory.

BlackeyedSusan Thu 12-Feb-15 12:25:47

He just will not be able to sustain that level of workload in the long term without a massive detrimental effect to his health.

I Hope he can work out where to let stuff go. (possibly look for a more supportive school?)_

StaircaseAtTheUniversity Thu 12-Feb-15 17:22:25

For the most part the school is pretty supportive I think susan but they're scared of ofsted at the moment and awaiting inspection. They got an outstanding under the old criteria and are desperate to get another in harder circumstances so that's clearly why they're putting so much effort and emphasis on something so shit.

I love DH entirely and this definitely is part of his niceness But in a lot of ways he's quite naive and takes things very personally even when they are pure bollocks.

rosabud Thu 12-Feb-15 21:58:00

Fucking Year fucking 9.

And those are the exact words the Head should have used.

finallydelurking Thu 12-Feb-15 22:04:09

Heads are NOT allowed to use pupil voice to berate teachers. How exactly was this questionnaire phrased? Is your husband a member of a union? penny and rosebud are spot on!

holmessweetholmes Thu 12-Feb-15 22:10:51

Teaching sucks these days sad. Just how many sticks can they find to beat teachers with? Glad I have quit after nearly 20 years. Sorry OP - I know that's not a very helpful response, but threads like this are so depressing.

TimeToGetUp Thu 12-Feb-15 22:12:56

He needs to speak to his union.

TheFallenMadonna Thu 12-Feb-15 22:14:02

God, student voice... I am a dissenter on my SLT regarding this. Or at least, you have to ask the right questions. Asking who they rate is rubbish. i don't want their opinion. I want to know their experience.

MisForMumNotMaid Thu 12-Feb-15 22:14:59

wineflowers roll on half term.

I thought that one of the new ofstead assessment criteria was that staff are achieving a work life balance. DH went to an interview recently for a more senior post (closer to home) and the head at that school raised this when he was discussing the ludicrous hours he's doing. Its a bit third hand coming from me though so I may have the wrong end of the stick.

I think your DH needs to keep a mental/ written list of priorities and when allocated new tasks fit them into that list. Then choose his hours that suit you as a family and work hard through that priority list in those hours. Teaching is a job that doesn't have a finish. You can always find more and more things to do, or more realistically are always found more things to do. So long as you are working smart by keeping senior colleagues in the loop on your priority list, if questioned theres little recourse if you're putting in the hours and working to priorities.

clary Thu 12-Feb-15 22:15:44

Aaaargh bottom set year 9.

I sympathise OP tho I am certainly nothing like the dedicated teacher your DH is - nor as good as he is I am sure.

Bottom set year 9 tho - this is a tough time of year. They have picked their options and are maybe not going to do his subject. If that's the worst anyone can come up with then he's doing well.

I am racking my brains for ways to divert and entertain my bottom set yr 9s for the summer term - I purport to teach them French but suggested we do half a term of Spanish - they were very keen which made a change!

wine and flowers for you both.

Philoslothy Thu 12-Feb-15 22:22:25

I am going to post bluntly as others are going to give support and are right to do so.

You cannot do a good job in the classroom if you are knackered, teaching takes energy (especially bottom set year 9).

Firstly you should not work those hours for your own sanity and health but secondly you will start getting it wrong in the classroom because you need energy,

How is he managing to do 14 hours in school? I used to do 11 which meant from 7 until 6pm. Why is somebody allowing that to happen?

woodhill Thu 12-Feb-15 22:24:50

sorry to hear that, remember just because a few tricky Y 9s which is a difficult year say something, it doesn't make it true. The ht should support your dh. too much listening to students.

TheFallenMadonna Thu 12-Feb-15 22:43:55

I agree with philoslothy. His hours are a issue. They will, honestly, have a impact on his effectiveness. is the head his line manager? If I line managed someone working those hours I would be having a conversation around time management, priorities and well being.

StaircaseAtTheUniversity Thu 12-Feb-15 23:15:01

He gets in at 6am (we live close to school)... School starts at 8 and hrs there til 8pm most nights. His justification is that he does nothing at the weekends and nothing in the holidays. I agree it's ludicrous. His line manager isn't the head but his line manager is the head of humanities and he does the same hours.

I don't really know how to convince him that he needs to calm it down if I'm honest because he does have loads to do but I also know- because we used to work in the same school- that he doesn't prioritise tasks and isn't very efficient and really it's hard to be that blunt in a work way with your husband.

TheFallenMadonna Thu 12-Feb-15 23:17:50

You need to be that blunt. DH was blunt with me as he was concerned about my mental health. He was right, although it was not easy to hear.

KinkyDorito Fri 13-Feb-15 07:09:02

I've had a very similar experience this week and work in a similar way to your DH. I'm starting to think only blood will be enough, tbh!!

I also know that it comes from me. I think I'm going to try and take a leaf out of my line-managers book and do all the things that tick the boxes, but nothing on top. This is really sad as I do care about the students I teach, but I don't think the way we are being managed across schools at the moment gives us time for any good will.

KinkyDorito Fri 13-Feb-15 07:09:21

manager's even. It is early!

StaircaseAtTheUniversity Fri 13-Feb-15 08:40:57

kinky I'm much more from your line managers school of thought- I do the things that tick the boxes first and the things tha essentially look good. Am I well thought of as a teacher and manager by the people who matter? Yes. Is this what teaching should be about? Absolutely not. But it's how it is. I hate how cynical I've become, but I think DH needs some of my cynicism to survive if I'm honest.

jessthefletch Fri 13-Feb-15 09:09:19

I really feel for you both OP. A month ago my DH could have written this post (even without the tlr or full-time contract). I am now off sick with serious work-related anxiety and depression. I am contracted to 0.6 (other two days off with ds) but was clocking up to 50 hrs per week and spending most nights in tears. I should have asked for support / union advice earlier but I didn't and (this will definitely out me) I ended up having a breakdown at work and still have not recovered.

I really do appreciate how difficult things are in schools right now (ofsted is looming for us too), and in asking for support your DH might worry he is admitting weakness and therefore leave himself vulnerable but it might be worth encouraging him to ask his line manager / another member of SLT for perhaps some extra slack on his timetable? I really don't want to patronise either of you; being in it you'll know better than most what will help (my own, lovely DH, is not a teacher so I sometimes get frustrated when he makes suggestions that are unrealistic / unworkable), so tell me where to get off if you want grin

Another thing to perhaps gemtly remind him is that, if his line manager is doing similar hours, that doesn't mean it 'sets the bar'. I don't want to be harsh here but as HOD, your DH is actually setting a similarly dangerous precedent for those under him who.might feel they should be doing the same. This might just be the case at my school but many staff have inadvertently turned workload into a competition and which seems to drive each other into this unworkable situation. Again, tell me to naff off if this doesn't apply to his school / is not a valid point but I get so upset to think of others who are on or near the point I got to (including your DH) thanks

jessthefletch Fri 13-Feb-15 09:11:37

Sorry, millions of typos. I'm an infrequent poster, this is a new phone and my head is still all over the place.

StaircaseAtTheUniversity Fri 13-Feb-15 12:00:09

jess that's all great advice, I don't want to tell you where to get off at all smile I'm very sorry about what you're going through at the moment.

Agree about the hours competition. My former HOD was like that- did mad hours, even madder than DH. In at 6am and would leave at 9 at night, lived two hours from school so essentially was only at home with Her kids from 11pm-4am. I don't know what she was playing at really other than that she was desperate to be SLT (and now is). I would get in at 7.30 and leave at 5 and still feel like I was slacking off as her second in command...but, as I mentioned upthread, I am a very different person to DH and am much better at doing the things that are taken notice of and prioritising my tasks.

DH is going to have to chill but I worry it will take him getting ill to even realise that.

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