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Older teachers with younger line manager

(35 Posts)
BizzyFizzy Wed 12-Oct-16 18:06:44

Interested in sharing experiences.

I am in the twilight of my career, with a HOD 20 years younger than me. We are both new in school this year.

I have been round the block so many times - Assistant Head, Head of Faculty, Head of Department. I took a career break for family reasons, and am back on main scale. Loving all aspects of the school apart from interactions with my HOD. I am not trying to compete with her, as any aspirations I have are towards whole school roles rather than departmental.

I feel micromanaged and patronised. I've hinted that I will just leave if I am not happy, and I am serious about that. Yes, I am a bit set in my ways, but as a reflective practitioner who has made a few mistakes along the way, I basically know what I am doing.

Anyone in a similar situation, and how did you handle it? I hate conflict and run a mile from confrontations.

Doowrah Wed 12-Oct-16 20:36:03

I feel your pain, I had this in my last job.In my last observation she told me an improvement recommendation which was utter codswallop and had I done it, it would have taken the lesson off the brief. Mercifully I was already leaving so smiled and sucked it up.Had I been staying I might have thought about going over her head with it. Suck it up or kick off...whichever will make you happiest.

Sleeperandthespindle Wed 12-Oct-16 20:45:44

Mostly I smile sweetly and ignore. Sometimes I'm feeling less charitable and attack them with logic, sense, research, experience or whatever seems to fit at the time.
I quite enjoy it really. It amuses me now. I have made a very deliberate (and sensible) choice not to be in their position and to just do the job I want to do.

KohINoorPencil Wed 12-Oct-16 20:54:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BizzyFizzy Wed 12-Oct-16 21:41:20

Thank you.

My main thing is that I don't want lesson plans scritinised on a daily basis and books scritinised. We have a school wide book scrutiny which has clear objectives and I am fine with that.

I don't want to be "supported" and have things "explained to me". I'm not a PGCE student.

I know I am not the HOD and she is, but I will walk if this is the environment, I am a Science teacher so can find a new job in no time - fact. I have a SMT background from two schools and I would doubt that if I were on SMT in this school that she would treat me so patronisingly.

I am also concerned about her competence as a HOD. I come from a very orthodox background and like clear criteria and established ways of working, which I am not getting.

I think I will have a heart-to-heart with the Director of Studies. He needs to know what is going on.

I keep thinking in Anglo Saxon and I am worried that some of these thoughts will escape through my lips.

TheFallenMadonna Wed 12-Oct-16 21:55:19

Hinting that you will leave is not helpful I think. If you have concerns, as an experienced teacher you would be better off having a professional conversation where she can (hopefully) explain why she is going department work scrutiny in addition to the whole school (which is entirely standard I rhink). When I became a HOD the first time, I had two very experienced former senior leaders in my department who were fantastic mentors to me. I am now, after SLT roles in two schools, in a similar position myself, and hope I am supportive to my new line manager in the same way. Doesn't mean I don't raise the odd eyebrow, but ultimately they have both the accountability and the responsibility I have chosen to step away from.

BizzyFizzy Wed 12-Oct-16 22:04:01

Thank You, TFM.

I do want to address the book scrutiny request so I think I will bite the bullet there as you suggest. My heart says to be passive aggressive and not bring the books to our meeting. My head says otherwise, thankfully.

It doesn't mean it will be easy!

I don't have a problem with line management per se, just inappropriate and unreasonable line management.

TheFallenMadonna Wed 12-Oct-16 22:13:24

Presumably she will bring her books too.

CauliflowerSqueeze Wed 12-Oct-16 22:17:04

I would leave if I were you. You feel confident you can find another job so why not.

The grass may not be greener, however.

If you've been out of schools for more than a couple of years I would say that the landscape has changed hugely. If you are feeling micromanaged, it could well be that she is too - that doesn't come from nowhere. It could be that she is coming under pressure to improve your performance.

CrowyMcCrowFace Wed 12-Oct-16 22:20:06

I have this- I'm second in department, turned down her job (work/life balance reasons - I'm a lone parent and HOD role would entail too much weekend training etc for me).

We're feeling our way and I'm sympathetic to the pressure on her to be seen to be 'managing' her new department.

My strategy is, cynically, to identify what it is she needs to be seen to be doing by SLT and make sure I'm loudly supportive of whatever that is this week. Then I go and get quietly on with teaching.

It helps that we get on quite well personally, and she's actually very able and is doing a cracking job of sorting out a couple of other department members, but ultimately my goal is to work with her on the important stuff and tick the boxes when it comes to her 'managing' my own teaching.

It's ticklish. But it's working - I have established that I know what I'm doing and can safely be left to get on with it with regards to my own teaching.

Lesson observation next week - it'll be fine, I've identified her fetish for 'fun' plenaries...

BizzyFizzy Wed 12-Oct-16 22:24:16

That's why I want to meet with the DoS - to find out what she has been asked to do.

TFM - I did think about viewing her books - to learn from the expert. I have had a look at the books of the students she teaches in my form -'nothing special.

SuperPug Wed 12-Oct-16 22:35:32

I'm sorry, but some of your comments come across as resentful, particularly the one about her books being nothing special.
As another post has suggested, could she be feeling the pressure from current SLT, hence the intense micro managing?
Perhaps you don't "gel" in terms of personalities. I've worked with HODs who can make life pretty miserable for everyone in the department. Current HOD is fantastic.
I would speak to her, honestly, one to one and try to make your views clear without completing undermining her. I think you would significantly damage any relationship with her if you go straight to the Director of Studies.
You mentioned you can walk into any job but surely part of your reference will come from her?

CrowyMcCrowFace Wed 12-Oct-16 22:36:48

I'd just ask her. 'What do you really need me to do this week /term/year?'

Be hugely positive and a cheerleader for whatever she says (and receptive - we can ALL learn from each other and maybe she has some genuinely useful ideas).

Then just go away on good terms and crack on. The aim is for someone else to be identified as her 'problem to fix this year'.

It is a horrible culture we work in, but you just have to game it.

TheFallenMadonna Wed 12-Oct-16 22:37:34

Thing is, she doesn'the know what you're like yet. You are both new, and sometimes older teachers (as in ones who have been doing it for a long time) are reluctant to embrace new specs etc. Especially in Science, where loads has changed, and, as you point out, it's actually not that competitive to get a job (I am also an old science teacher by the way). Don' t go over her head, or behind her back, before you've at least talked it through. Would you have been impressed with that when you were SLT?

BizzyFizzy Wed 12-Oct-16 22:39:41

I am not resentful at all. I have no desire to be part of "middle management". My contributions to the wider work of the school is in whole school tasks.

Whensmyturn Wed 12-Oct-16 22:49:05

You sound like you want the status of a senior role but don't want to have the responsibility. You want to have a chat with the director of studies where you will effectively undermine your colleague. She has a job to do and you would show your experience and maturity more by showing her you know how to allow her to do her job and by supporting her.

BizzyFizzy Wed 12-Oct-16 22:53:10

I have no desire for status other than to have my experience recognised and to be trusted. I am on the twilight of my career. I want to give rather than get.

I really am not a status person. Even when on SMT, I regularly changed nappies in nursery and put chairs out for assembly before heading to an A-level lesson.

TheFallenMadonna Wed 12-Oct-16 22:58:40

OK, put simply, I think if you go over her head without trying to resolve it with her first, and if you continue to "hint" at leaving, you will come over both to your department and SLT as difficult. I don't think that is a good place to be after one half term.

TheFallenMadonna Wed 12-Oct-16 23:00:31

You will be trusted more the longer you are there, and the more people see you do. Including your books!

PickAChew Wed 12-Oct-16 23:01:59

sleep has it, but I don't think you can pretend the scrutiny won't happen. That's C21 teaching, unfortunately. If you need the job, you need to play the game.

PickAChew Wed 12-Oct-16 23:03:30

And to clarify, you can teach the way you think is best, but have to be prepared to fully document it and explain why your way is the best for that particular class on that particular day. Every single time.

CrowyMcCrowFace Wed 12-Oct-16 23:09:22

She has a job to do.
She has a department to manage and is accountable to SLT.
it's irrelevant whether you agree with how she goes about it - your choices really are to play the game or to object if you actively disagree with her ideas for the department.

Honestly? If she's rubbish at her job you escalate that. If she's not, but your nose is out of joint because she's being critical of you, the real politik answer is to a) make the right noises and stay under the radar or b) take your skills elsewhere.

Emochild Thu 13-Oct-16 06:42:27

You sound like an absolute nightmare tbh

You want to be trusted -but you are brand new to the school
You want the fact that you were SLT respected -but you aren't SLT now and for all she knows you might have had a minimal teaching schedule or even been non-teaching -a full teaching timetable is a hard thing to go back to
You've taken a break from teaching -you might not be up to date and she needs to know that you are

Cut the woman some slack, stop being passive and not so passive aggressive and get on with it

cansu Thu 13-Oct-16 06:51:49

As HOD part of her job is to scrutinise books and observe lessons. You should know that if you have done job before. What is she supposed to write oh this member of the team is so senior and special that I can't possibly observe her or look at her books.mYou are being obstructive and a PITA? You are now thinking about moaning about her to SMT because you dislike her questioning you. Really, really shitty behaviour tbh. I have been teaching twenty years and there is still loads to learn and plenty of things I could probably improve. Sometimes you get new ideas from younger colleagues. Try being open and helpful with your HOD and you might get on better.

mrsblackcat Thu 13-Oct-16 06:52:23

I agree with above comments.

It's worth remembering SLT appointed her for a reason, and that reason may have been to shake things up. Remember she is a new member of staff at the school too.

That being said, I hate being patronised, so I would find this hard, but I think you have to be patient with this one.

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