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Supply teacher been accused of lying by parents- totally fed up

(24 Posts)
wonderstuff99 Fri 12-Jun-15 19:51:43

Will try to keep this brief but really need to vent. I accepted a 1 term post in a school where I was initially told would be PPA which was then changed to a job share (which I had stated I didn't want) on the first day of term. I was annoyed but agreed to do the teaching and planning for the post but no assessment, reports displays - any of the stuff a usual teacher would do as that was not what I agreed to. I wasn't overly happy with the post being changed but as it was for 1 term, decided to suck it up just for the term.

I've had the worst week there, I had a parent on Monday state that it's only me who has behaviour problems with his son, and that he'd never heard any complaints from another teacher (which I later found out was a bare faced lie). So that annoyed me, but I got over it. But today took the biscuit, after a lovely day, I've had 1 parent come up and accuse me of lying and not passing on information to my partner teacher about concerns about her daughter's progress in maths and another mum state that her son behaved better for the other teacher because he had a different carpet space for her - again another lie, but she backed down when my TA's backed me up on this.

I feel very, very aggrieved about this situation as I'm employed by a supply agency, yes on a short term position, but in either case, I refuse to be spoken to like that, by anyone. I was so angry I cried after (and I don't cry often!). I went to the head, to state that being accused of lying, 3 times in a week was unacceptable. She was very nice and supportive and said that whatever course of action I wanted to take, to let her know. She was quite happy with my suggestion that the perpetrators are told that under no circumstances are they to speak to me in that manner again.

I'm so angry, at myself, the school, the agency and the parents. I knew in my gut that this post wasn't going to well when it turned from PPA to class share (which i stated quite clearly I wasn't happy to do) and really feel I should have backed out then. I feel that by "sucking it up" I've put myself in the position where these people felt it was alright to accuse me of lying! I feel angry at the school that this isn't an isolated incident and that they are allowing this to happen. I'm angry that if I do back out now (I feel like not going back on Monday, despite me having only 15 working days left) I will essentially burn my good working relationship bridges with the agency. I'm angry I didn't trust my gut instinct and return to day to day when I had the chance.

The only thing I can think that may push me through the next few weeks is to ask the other class teacher to speak to the parents, and set them right. And also to tell the head that if any of those 3 parents would like to address any issues with me in the future, they address it to the head, and that any other parents who may have grievances, are made aware that I am a short term supply teacher and am not really the person to talk to re: long term academic discussion.

I know when taking on short term contract you agree to do the job of class teacher, hence why I stated I would do PPA, and now I feel I am just getting all the crap that goes along with it and not getting paid for it.

Any words of wisdom or advice?

HagOtheNorth Fri 12-Jun-15 20:13:53

Some parents are deeply weird and should not be engaged in depth other than promising to pass their concerns onto the right person and then doing so. I know that you are hurt and pffended, but all those complaints are minor bitching IMO.
The other teacher could tell the parent that you'd made her aware of parental concerns:you could smile and say 'I will ask other teachers how they manage Lucifer's behaviour and see if I can implement any of their strategies as he manages his behaviour well for them, is their anyone in particular you feel I should talk to?
You took on the role and decided to suck it up, but you weren't and aren't happy with it. It's a personal decision for you whether you stay until the end of term or not, despite the parents. Do you like the class and want them to have consistency for the next few weeks?
And now you know that short-term and daily supply is what you want. smile

Euphemia Sat 13-Jun-15 07:34:24

In your shoes, if there's plenty work about, I would walk.

As you say, you shouldn't have taken this position in the first place. Having taken it, I don't understand how you could just take it on your own terms - no assessment?!

I teach in Scotland, so maybe it's different in England. I was a supply teacher for years, and we were employed by the local authority (as are all teachers) - no supply agencies here - so the job was what the HT told us it was!

Icandoanything Sat 13-Jun-15 08:38:48

I accepted the post for a term because the head told myself and the agency that it was a PPA cover job,hence no assessment,other duties a class teacher is expected to do. It was only on the first day that I was informed it was a teacher position as they hadn't found anyone,hence why I could go to the head,say this wasn't what I agreed to,but I would do it,but on my terms,eg no assessment.

HagOtheNorth Sat 13-Jun-15 08:50:03

The problem is that you accepted the job with the new terms.
Grit your teeth for the last few weeks? Then you leave the school having done what you promised, and they may well continue to want to employ you for supply. Short-term. smile

AmberFool Sat 13-Jun-15 09:23:26

If you are not happy there, I would leave. I have a very good relationship with my agency and I have, in the past, told them I was unhappy on a long term supply post and didn't want to go back in. They were incredibly supportive and understanding. TBH, they probably deal with this sort of thing all the time. The supply agency have continued to provide me with jobs. No problems whatsoever.

Icandoanything Sat 13-Jun-15 09:33:18

I would love to do this Amber,I rang them on Friday after school and told them how I felt and was unsure whether I wanted to go back. They didn't say I had to and my consultant is great and I have a good relationship with them but she said,there's only 4 weeks left and just direct any parental concerns to the head. I know if I left I would leave the school and agency in deep s##t and don't want to do that. Did you work notice amber or just say you weren't going back and stick to it. I think being in the last term as well makes a difference as the school has no budget left and the agency said they didn't have anyone to replace me.

GoblinLittleOwl Sat 13-Jun-15 09:53:48

If you have a good relationship with your Agency and you are sure you can get more work, I would leave. The problem seems to be the parents. I worked in a year group where they needed supply for the remainder of the year ; the pupils, and their parents, were extremely 'entitled' and full of complaints. Three supply teachers came, and left, and in the end the Head and Deputy had to teach the class between them because no one would take the job. The class was split up, and the Head began to take our concerns about some of the parents more seriously.

elephantoverthehill Sat 13-Jun-15 10:08:51

I am making the assumption that you are working in a primary school Wonderstuff. You have spoken to the Head and
She was very nice and supportive and said that whatever course of action I wanted to take, to let her know. She was quite happy with my suggestion that the perpetrators are told that under no circumstances are they to speak to me in that manner again.
I think the Head should now be speaking to the parents. To me it sounds like the Head has the Teflon shoulder syndrome.

wonderstuff99 Sat 13-Jun-15 10:16:11

Goblin - I do have a good relationship with the agency, but I just worry that me leaving now would be a lot of hassle for them. At the start of the term, when I called my consultant and told her I had been shoehorned into a role I originally said I didn't want to do, she said it was totally down to me whether I decided to stay or go. But this time, as sympathetic as she was, she was trying to convince me to stay, so I think they do need me to finish the term. And as I said, I don't want to appear difficult and burn my working bridges with them - I just wish I'd left at the start of term now.

Elephant - yes, primary school. The parents seem very pushy and entitled. Teflon shoulder syndrome? As in, she shirks responsibility and nothing affects her? My friend believes the head will say what I want to hear so I stay, but I think she's quite genuine, although possibly not very effective in doing what she says she promises.

bigTillyMint Sat 13-Jun-15 10:16:13

It sounds like the problem lies with some very unpleasant parents - the HT sounds supportive, and the TA's have backed you up and I guess you get on OK with the other teacher? I guess the HT is happy with your abilities as a teacher, or she wouldn't have asked you to do this/would ask you to leave if you are on supply - it is the unpleasant parents who need to be put straight.

Clearly you can just walk and you should do it if you feel that unhappy, but as a parent (and very long-standing teacher with experience of deeply unpleasant parents), I would encourage you to consider staying so that the poor children have some continuity.

Could you bear to stay and ask the other teacher and HT to speak to these parents directly and set them straight, and tell them to address any concerns to her - not approach you in that way?

bigTillyMint Sat 13-Jun-15 10:20:05

Teflon shoulder syndrome! Love it!

If that is the case, OP, and you don't feel she will be able to support you and the parents are pushy and entitled, then don't feel guilty about going. I was thinking of parents at the other end of the spectrum, whose DC need every bit of stability we can give them.

wonderstuff99 Sat 13-Jun-15 10:29:34

I probably will stay. I think I will tell the head to speak to those parents and not to speak to me in that way again. And tell her that if any other parent approaches me and attempts speak to me in that way, that I will refer them to her.

I was possibly thinking about asking my partner teacher to mention what the parents raised and set them straight - eg I did tell her about concerns about daughters progress and that 2nd child does have the same carpet space with me as with her - but tbh, I'm not sure I trust her. She's a permanent member of staff who usually does PPA and has been there for 7 years so knows the parents, so they seem to prefer her to me. That doesn't bother me as teaching isn't a popularity contest, but I'm not going to have her lie about passing on info to cover her arse.

AmberFool Sat 13-Jun-15 10:53:07

I told the agency on the Tuesday and left on the Friday. That's the beauty of supply after all. I'm not a quitter normally but the SLT made my life hell. They seemed to forget that I was helping them and not the other way round.

Some parents can be extremely hostile to supply or short term teachers. I've experienced this myself and its deeply upsetting. The schools where it happened (2 different schools) were fantastic because in both cases they brought the parents in and talked to them about their unacceptable behaviour. Have the parents at your school been contacted by the SLT?

wonderstuff99 Sat 13-Jun-15 11:19:42

Amber - the parents haven't been contacted as this happened on Friday and the head said think about what I wanted to happen over the weekend. As I said, she seemed quite happy to bring them in and talk to them. One parent in particular, really the one I have the biggest issue with how she spoke to me, is apparently a regular trouble maker at the school, and I've been told she used to wait outside the staffroom (presumably at the start of the day) for a TA who ran her daughters phonics group as she didn't think the work was hard enough. Her husband had also written a letter to the head requesting which class her son is put in next year as it has a male teacher and they feel having a male influence would be beneficial to the child! All this I've heard/seen in the short space of 8 weeks so imagine what she's like the whole year round! TBH, now I think about it, she's pretty farcical and pathetic and I really shouldn't waste any more time thinking about her.

The other 2 parents are known to teachers and the head as well. The dad on Monday apparently came in before Easter to confront a heavily pregnant teacher about why no one was playing with his son. The teacher was so upset that she had to go home. And the other parent the head knew well and said she had been trouble for years.

It doesn't sound great does it? Now I've written it all down, I think the school seems to have a problem curbing the behaviour of the parents. The head described them as prickly but it could be they just don't take the parents to task for their behaviour.

AlternativeTentacles Sat 13-Jun-15 11:27:36

Can you not just tell the parents that you will need to arrange a meeting if they have a complaint, and have two more staff there that also work with those pupils, and have your data to hand before the meeting? You as a school need a joined up strategy for addressing their concerns head on, none of you should be crying about it.

bigTillyMint Sat 13-Jun-15 11:30:02

she's pretty farcical and pathetic and I really shouldn't waste any more time thinking about her this
And
I think the school seems to have a problem curbing the behaviour of the parents. The head described them as prickly but it could be they just don't take the parents to task for their behaviour this

If you can brave it out till the EoT, then do it. If not, leavesmile

MiaowTheCat Sun 14-Jun-15 12:15:15

It's hard - but try to remember that the parents who are being pains in the arse for you... next term will be being pains in the arse for your successor and you'll be elevated to the best thing since sliced bread in their rose-tinted mind.

That's always the way it goes with that sort of personality - they just like a bloody whinge and, backed up with weak management - they get to run riot.

I've worked in schools where that brigade were allowed to run rampant, any ridiculous request or complaint they made was immediately submitted to - and the chaos it caused was bonkers... incidentally that's the only longer-term class teacher supply post I've ever walked away from - I told my agency the demands were getting ridiculous and the head changing her mind every second when someone complained about something was making me dread going in every day. In contrast, the best head I worked for, very much viewed part of her role as being an almost-shield for her staff in terms of the resident parental "characters" - she'd get parents evening appointment times and mysteriously be doing a coffee run into your teaching area about the time any known worky-tickets were due to be showing up!

To be honest though, for the sake of two weeks - I'd stick it out, considering you're coming up to the summer-into-autumn no-work time of year on supply.

HagOtheNorth Sun 14-Jun-15 12:42:58

Although it is intensely pleasurable to be able to politely decline to remain in a job that you aren't enjoying, and watch the stunned realisation crawl across the face of a member of the SLT as they realise they have No Power Over You.
The poverty is worth the freedom for me.

wonderstuff99 Sun 14-Jun-15 14:11:04

Thanks all for the reply. I'm going in tomorrow with the view that I'll stay for the next 2 weeks, but if anything happens next week that I feel is unacceptable, I'll give the school and agency my week's notice. I'm at the point now that I'm feeling that hell will freeze over before I'm spoken to in that manner again! But I'm still going to request the head speak to the main protagonist and say if she has a concern in the next 4 weeks, to address it in an appropriate way - stupid woman, she needs to find something better to do that harass teacher's that way.

I suppose the lining on this cloud is that I had agreed to continue in this school after September, and I was unsure about this, so this has definitely made my mind up now that I'll be returning to day to day supply. I'm lucky enough to teach at a university over the summer so I have a good income for the next few months.

Miaoq - interesting that the only long term post you have walked away from was to do with parents. How are they ever able to get to that point? Unbelievable.

And I do agree with you Hag, I'm a firm believer that happiness and health is more important than staying in a job that makes you unhappy, life is too short.

TealFanClub Sun 14-Jun-15 14:14:41

fucking parents drive me FUCKING demented sometimes

TealFanClub Sun 14-Jun-15 14:16:12

read this thing in the Times yesterday:

Competitiveness. Resilience. Super-intelligence. They’re the qualities Eton’s head, Tony Little, demands from the school’s £34,500-a-year pupils. What he doesn’t want are demanding parents or dim royals...
On the last page of his book, Tony Little, the retiring head master of Eton, has a list of questions for prospective parents: “*Do I believe my child is almost perfect? Do I like rules … until my child breaks them? Do I go in at the deep end when someone criticises my child? Am I an expert because I went to school myself?” If a parent answers “yes” to any of the above, says Little, “Please find another school.”*

wonderstuff99 Sun 14-Jun-15 19:40:03

The thing I'm trying to remember is that an arsehole is an arsehole, not matter where they are. Just unfortunate that I happened to be standing in the playground having looked after their child all day when their syndrome kicked in.

wonderstuff99 Sun 14-Jun-15 19:40:52

And actually that I feel sorry for the child who had to witness her mother behave like that, she's a lovely girl but her mother is obviously nasty.

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