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PGCE Mentor bully

(9 Posts)
Seashellsonthebeach Thu 06-Sep-18 01:42:17

I've changed my name as don't want it associated with my other username.

I just need to get this off my chest...Three years ago I was on my PGCE course and my school placement mentor was a serious bully! I was pushed to the limit with his bullying ways, his nasty comments, mocking of my accent, my 'boring' clothes, my handwriting not been good enough, his constant undermining of my lessons & planning when I asked how to improve he would just say you should know by now...emails at all times of the day/night...his constant presence in my lessons everyday I was rarely alone with my class he's always there and even turned up at my rented flat I hid upstairs until he went after 45mins of knocking and waiting in his car outside...other PGCE students told me it was like watching someone being controlled in a relationship and they didn't know what to do...other Teachers in the dept would watch me teach and grade me good to outstanding...he would watch me or not watch me and look up from his marking and tell me I was inadequate or RI in front of the class. On the last day I drove out of the school car park in a daze and wondering what the hell had just happened for the last 5 months...he broke me!

I complained the University and begged to be moved but they wouldn't do anything...it boiled down to money and how it would look bad if I was moved to another School. Other Mentors were disgusted with his behaviour but it just carried on...I began to have suicidal thoughts! My husband was in despair as he just didn't know what to do...I stuck it out as he had made so many sacrifices for me to follow my dream of being a Teacher.

My NQT year was horrific I had the same type of Mentor but a female version that had just broken up with her partner...I was just happily married at the time we decided a fresh start in a new city...I never ever spoke about my personal life apart from once when she asked me what my husband was like.

She once answered my mobile (left it in mini staffroom on my desk whilst I was teaching) from my husband and asked him if we'd like to come for dinner as she likes to get to know everyone in the dept...she hadn't mentioned it to me all day...when I got home...my husband said your boss sounds nice I'm definitely up for dinner. When I mentioned it the next day she point blank said she never spoke to him confused when I told him to stop being silly that's when my alarm bells rang...I looked at my calls list and it was 1 min 52sec call I hadn't spoke to him as I was teaching when he rang.

For two terms bizarre things were happening, rumours randomly started of me being pregnant, being graded inadequate towards the end of NQT year, being told verbally there was a meeting and getting there to find there wasn't one then not being informed when there was!! Again I was broken...I passed as I took everything to the Deputy Head who became my mentor and luckily was aware of what was going on...the dept became very unpleasant as everyone didn't know what to believe/trust.

I have took a year out and with counselling (the things I have described are only a small part of what's happened) I finally feel I am ready to go back to work but not in a school. This past year I've spoken to other Teachers/PGCE/NQTs that have had similar experiences...I really do hope the culture of Teacher to Teacher bullying is stamped out...the sooner the better!

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Mum2OneTeen Thu 06-Sep-18 02:38:39

Goodness, reading this was like reading a horror story. It really sounds like they are trying to break you/test your strength.

I wonder if this is a workplace culture thing, a bit like the angry chef hierarchy in restaurant kitchens. Do you know of other student/newly qualified teachers who have experienced this sort of thing?

So glad you got through the experience of not one, but two of these bullying mentor supervisors. Is there someplace you can complain to? I know the university wasn't helpful, but maybe a teachers union?

Seashellsonthebeach Thu 06-Sep-18 09:26:06

I've found quite a few others online who have had similar or worse experiences...its definitely a hierarchy culture and particularly with men a control thing...women a jealousy/insecure thing especially if they are younger...when my first mentor asked me what I'd like to specialise in...in addition to my subject, I said Pastoral care he was mad as hell because I didn't say Leadership in my subject. I was sat in assembly and he was leading it...he randomly asked the year group if they could see me as their head of year (I didn't teach this year group as it was an options year group) and to put their hands up...roughly a quarter did as I ran a lunchtime club for their year group he just said and that's why you'll NEVER make it!

As students we had our own little room we could use to work in, some time out etc he would phone up asking if I was in there as it was urgent when I got to the phone he would laugh and put it down, or tell me to come to the office (was other side of the school) to find he wasn't there...the one time I didn't turn up and told the others to tell him I wasn't there was the one time the head was ready to go through my feedback...I didn't know the head was there waiting...I assumed after the umpteenth time of doing this pathetic joke he would get bored...

I stopped going to the little room and sitting in the dept office in case he did another meeting with the head...I have a phobia about phones and tend to let things go to voicemail now.

The union were useless as I was a student member and they just kept saying I need to go to my uni mentor and discuss with them and get moved...when I told them I've already done that and their refusing they just said you need to go back hmm I wish now looking back I had kicked up more of a fuss, I was just so grounded down and exhausted.

OP’s posts: |
Smellbellina Sun 09-Sep-18 12:53:50

Well this is terrifying I haven't even had my first placement yet!

LesAnya Sun 09-Sep-18 13:03:21

shock and I thought my mentor was bad - emails at midnight demanding changes for the next day, no support because “you should know this now”. I’d have panic attacks in the shower before work. Eventually left mid PCGE due to my mentor and the Head saying my performance had been impacted by absences (workplace stress, anxiety and depression). You do feel ground down by it at the time, and like you, I also wish I’d made more of a fuss at the time, but I am so glad I’m out of that toxic environment. What are you thinking of doing work wise?

vinegarqueen Sun 09-Sep-18 14:27:01

Used to hide in the bathroom from my second placement (tor)mentor. He was absolutely lovely to my male fellow trainee, but deliberately undermined me, cancelled meeting after meeting, told me to do lessons of his which he then bollocked me for as being ”unsuitable” even though they were his lessons. When I complained he produced a list of my failings and then as a positive said I dressed nicely. What an arsehole. I think he's still teaching, too.

NameChangedAgain18 Sun 09-Sep-18 14:32:08

I didn't take up my PGCE place because of precisely this. I heard too many stories which suggested that staffroom bullying was endemic. I am sorry that you went through that, OP. How schools are supposed to tackle the bullying of children, when there are so many staffroom bullies is beyond me.

BunnyCarr Tue 11-Sep-18 14:53:07

What age was the first mentor?
I'm just curious.

Seashellsonthebeach Wed 12-Sep-18 13:35:39

@LesAnya I'm not sure maybe something with a children's charity all I do know is I'll never work in a School again.

@vinegarqueen exactly the same with me...I honestly don't know how schools are supposed to tackle it...it's so widespread and from what I see it's swept under the rug...especially if they have a link to a university.

@BunnyCarr 1st placement mentor was lovely early 30s very supportive

2nd placement mentor mid 40s he made my life hell!

NQT Mentor mid 30s

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