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problems with head teacher

(8 Posts)
MarianneSolong Tue 24-Nov-15 19:57:41

This isn't me. Enquiring on behalf of younger relative.

She qualified just over two years back. Because of changes of address - partner's work - she's done a year each in her two previous primary schools. One in deprived area of small town, another small rural school where the head was former colleague. She's now in her third school large city and so far it isn't going well.

According to her she's being given inconsistent/confusing instructions by head/management team and therefore has ended up - in her word - doing 'what she wanted' in a couple of specific situations. She's also applied for yet another post, one which is more to do with teacher training than being in the classroom.

Anyway apparently today her head teacher walked into her class and asked her in front of the children, why she had done/was doing a particular thing. My relative explained and the head left. Then, later on, my relative overheard the head giving her account of this incident to another member of staff and mimicking her (my relative's) response. Afterwards my relative told the head about overhearing but the head denied she'd been talking about her/mimicking her.

Have teachers any thoughts on this one. I suspect that my relative is a good teacher and pretty clear about what is and isn't proper professional practice. She's in a union, though there is no union rep in the school. It's possible that having been in a very small school, where her mate was the head, that she's not quite so strong re the politics of dealing with management in a situation where she may be seen as lacking in experience/not the flavour of the month

Is there any good advice I can/should give her?

MarianneSolong Wed 25-Nov-15 01:17:49

Further info. Head does sound something of a maverick. My relative was appointed without a formal interview, but just after making an informal visit. Head said she'd get the Governors to do a job offer. Now before a single term is over, she's asking my relative whether she really thinks she has a future at the school.

IguanaTail Wed 25-Nov-15 06:53:04

Whether the headteacher was right or wrong or whether it happened or didn't is irrelevant. Teachers have no right of reply and are totally reliant on headteachers for references.

Short of a witnessed and recorded physical attack there is zero she can do to defend herself. She's better off keeping a low profile, smiling and doing what is asked and then getting out.

Schools have HR in its most embryonic form, if at all. They are dictatorships. Sorry not to have any ideas but any kind of standing up for herself will mean she is totally unemployable so she is shooting herself in the foot by doing anything other than meekly accepting it.

Singsongsungagain Wed 25-Nov-15 06:59:12

I would urge her to get everything I writing for clarity- ie if she is verbally asked to do something send an email to the manager saying "just to confirm...".
I agree though, working for a head who is willing to humiliate a teacher in front of children will never go anywhere. Urge her to get out with her head held high.

SisterViktorine Wed 25-Nov-15 07:02:47

Your relative is applying for a Teacher Training role a term into her third year? shock

miaowroar Wed 25-Nov-15 07:55:38

Where does it say about the Teacher Training role? confused

MarianneSolong Wed 25-Nov-15 08:02:43

Some kind of mentoring role, I think in one of the newer organisations that trains teachers. Not with a university delivering PGCE.

I suppose it's the issue of career development. Not staying in a place where a head is going to be bullying. Not fighting back if that is counter-productive. Logging stuff sounds good. (What you do in other jobs.) But also ideally looking like someone with staying power/commitment, even if external circumstances (two moves and now a Head who is misusing their power) are not favourable.

Moohoomeltdown Wed 25-Nov-15 08:04:02

She's inexperienced still so I'd suggest she leave the school if she dislikes the management or head and find somewhere more suitable to thrive.

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