Was I unreasonable/unprofessional?

(24 Posts)
flutterworc Thu 30-Jun-16 07:36:56

Incident happened yesterday and preying on my mind - I'm prepared to be told that I was!

I'm a HoD at a secondary school. Yesterday, a nice sensible student arrived at my lesson (the final period of the day) very upset. When I spoke with them, they burst into tears and told me there were ongoing issues with the teacher of the previous lesson that they hadn't previously spoken to anyone about. I reassured, got them back into my lesson and referred the issue by email to the students pastoral leader and the HoD for the other teacher, explaining that I didn't really understand the specifics of the problem, but knowing the student, perhaps it could be X. At the end of the day I was on duty, then straight into a middle leaders meeting. Pastoral leader replied saying 'Am sure other teacher tries the hardest for all of heir pupils'. I replied stating that I didn't think otherwise, but clarifying that the student in question is likely to have downplayed the issue.

When I came out of the meeting, I'd had an email from the subject teacher in question (relatively new to profession) with a subject title that dripped with sarcasm and chastising me for not emailing them directly. It went on to invite me to watch 'any or all' of their lessons.

Was my judgement adrift? Thanks!

NataliaOsipova Thu 30-Jun-16 07:41:58

I'm not a teacher, so I don't know what or how strict reporting lines are in a school. From a business perspective, though, yes - generally it isn't done to go over someone's head without either speaking to them first or at least giving them the courtesy of a heads up. But I don't know how the rules/conventions work when there are youngsters involved?

noblegiraffe Thu 30-Jun-16 07:42:06

If a student tells me that they are having issues with another teacher, or the teacher is crap or whatever, then I encourage them to talk to the pastoral team themselves, or to get their parents to complain. I stay well out of it, because I don't think it's my place to be mediating between students and other teachers.

cansu Thu 30-Jun-16 07:49:04

Agree with noble. It really isn't down to you to be reporting this to anyone. I would probably have told student to talk to their form tutor.

00100001 Thu 30-Jun-16 07:50:10

If a child has had a significant conversation with a teacher (which this is) surely it has to be recorded?

Our school you have to record the conversation as best as you can remember, within an hour, stating what was said etc. And it has to be passed on to the relevant staff member who will deal with it.

I think you did the right thing.

Wolfiefan Thu 30-Jun-16 07:51:13

I would refer on to pastoral support. By emailing their HofD you are informing their boss. This makes it look like you are snitching on them for upsetting a student.

AbyssinianBanana Thu 30-Jun-16 07:53:33

So a child was so distraught she/he began crying and told a teacher the issue - thinking an adult has been told now and something will be sorted - this happens? Shirty emails back and forth between adults? Who has spoken with the child?

flutterworc Thu 30-Jun-16 08:01:12

Thanks folks. Just to clarify that I did ask the student to speak to the teacher themselves, but as they are rather shy, they didn't feel they could.

I have already sent an apologetic email to the staff member, clarifying my thought process. Essentially, as a HoD, I have similar emails at times that I'd rather be aware of as I can contextualise with my knowledge of the staff and groups.

Just mortified...

00100001 Thu 30-Jun-16 09:43:16

do you not have a procedure in place for significant conversations/disclosures?

00100001 Thu 30-Jun-16 09:43:37

you = The school

flutterworc Thu 30-Jun-16 10:30:50

We do, but didn't think it was a significant safeguarding issue. Will raise it with Safeguarding Officer.

00100001 Thu 30-Jun-16 22:16:16

I would, because it could be a "Puzzle piece" for them iyswim? smile

Our school encourages us to report anything like that, the safe guarding officer would rather have ten emails that came to nothing than miss something =)

samlovesdilys Thu 30-Jun-16 22:28:43

I think your response was reasonable, informing pastoral manager and HoD of teacher, I would want to know if it was one of my faculty members, they clearly need some support...their stroppy email in the other hand...was not needed and I would ignore...

CodyKing Thu 30-Jun-16 22:56:52

Thank god their are teachers that put the needs of the children first. These are adults suing playground politics.

You were made aware of an issue and raised it with the correct HOY - being defensive is not a great quality in a teacher.

noblegiraffe Thu 30-Jun-16 23:07:11

Kids moan about teachers all the time, like I said before I encourage them to talk to their tutor or get their parents to complain if necessary (or if they're just whinging I tell them it's professionally awkward for me to hear and please not to do it in my earshot).
If a kid was so genuinely upset that I felt it needed following up, then I'd email the pastoral manager and tell them that X came to my lesson very upset after a science lesson and could they follow it up please.

I wouldn't drop the teacher in it myself and I certainly wouldn't tell their HOD.

If it was a safeguarding issue then of course there are procedures to follow.

RudeElf Thu 30-Jun-16 23:07:17

I think you did the right thing too.

I dont think it was up to you to approach the teacher in question and become an involved party or mediator between teacher and pupil. That would open up a whole can of worms tbh with a pupil having expectations of you as "being on their side" and the other teacher having no obligationto engage with you on the matter at all.

Going to the pastoral team when you have a child crying in your class is the right thing IMO. It doesnt matter that they were crying because of an issue with your colleague. You would do it if they were crying because of their mum or their classmate.

jcsp Mon 04-Jul-16 21:10:43

You did the right thing. Imagine how you'd feel/ what would happen if it was a serious thing/safeguarding issue ( or the start of one) and you'd sat on it?

What doesn't look too good is the pastoral managers response to this?

SlightlyperturbedOwl Mon 04-Jul-16 21:17:58

In HE not school, but I would refer to relevant HOD/programme lead for recording and follow-up, not my place or pay-grade to intervene directly with other teaching staff on the same grade. It's important that issues are logged- in the staff member's interests as much as in the pupil's interests. I would ignore the snarky email. Surely you must have a relevant policy to refer to?

PrincessHairyMclary Mon 04-Jul-16 21:27:35

I also work at Secondary and would have flagged it up with pastoral as well as encouraging the student to talk to them and subject teacher concerned as you did. Pastoral could dig deeper and then report to Safeguarding if necessary.

GnomeDePlume Mon 04-Jul-16 22:02:00

Absolutely you follow the chain of command. It was correct to raise this with pastoral care to deal with the student's upset and with the teacher's HoD to deal with any possible issues with the teacher.

As a line manager in no way do I want another line manager reprimanding a member of my team.

The only person who has been unprofessional was the subject teacher sending a sarcastic email. That should be forwarded on to their HoD.

clam Tue 05-Jul-16 19:27:32

A teacher "new to the profession" sent you a snippy email? hmm
I wouldn't be apologising, to be honest. You acted appropriately and passed it on to relevant adults.

HmmHaa Fri 08-Jul-16 06:02:20

I am a HoD and if this happened, I would let the HoY know as a heads up.

It's then their place to chat to the child. I would do that whether it was a child crying about a teacher, a student, their parents, whatever. The student is upset - refer to pastoral.

Would consider it wildly inappropriate to approach the teacher!!!

You did the right thing.

Iggi999 Fri 08-Jul-16 13:47:40

It seems very heavy handed, and could lead to the teacher being in trouble - don't know the issue so don't know if they deserved to be! The teacher hadn't been spoken to about the issue at all, you are really pulling rank by going straight to their boss.

HerdsOfWilderbeest Sat 13-Aug-16 09:29:50

You did the right thing. The pastoral manager should not have emailed you back like this - he/she should have spoken to you or the student. The HOD needed to know for information and could have liaised with the pastoral manager. The teacher emailing you is pathetic.

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