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AIBU to want my second in dept to stay later?(40 Posts)
I am genuinely asking because I don't want to be unfair, but I'm struggling with how things are going at the moment.
She started with us at the end of last year, during the 'quiet' time, and seemed to keep hours similar to the rest of us - leaving at around 3.30 -4, staying a bit later one or two other days. All fine.
Since we started back (we've done nearly two weeks now) she has been in at 8.20ish and gone by about 3.30. Every day, aside from a calendared meeting. On that day she left the moment the meeting ended at 4.30. I have barely had a chance to speak to her in any depth as we only share a couple of frees a fortnight, so we haven't had a chance to discuss the projects/developments etc we/she are supposed to be working on. It's really frustrating tbh.
I also feel she's being a bit snippy and defensive with me when I say absolutely anything to her, though I may well be imagining that. I have said nothing whatsoever about hours, but I said something about books belonging to her class that were in the wrong room and I felt she thought I was getting at her and she came back with a bit of attitude, which I feel was unwarranted. I asked a question, that was all. I hope I didn't sound PA - I certainly didn't mean to, but I'm starting to feel like I need to be on eggshells around her, which I could do without. Also, there are a couple of things she said she would do which there is no sign of, and I need to raise that with her, but she's never there!
I know she has small children but as far as I was aware her dh does the majority of the pick-ups as he is nearer. Certainly that seemed to be the case before the summer, but now maybe not. I'm aware things change, and I'm a lp who went through a traumatic divorce while being well-supported by my school and department, so if she came to me and said there was a problem/she was struggling I would absolutely be supportive, but this just never being around is potentially a problem if it continues.
I'm thinking I should speak to her in a non-judgy way next week, but would this be out of order? I'm going to get advice from more experienced colleagues on Monday, but wondered what people here thought in the meantime.
Does she know you want/need to speak with her after school?
Hmm in theory unless she is paid leadership scale her hours are fine according to stpcd. However she is getting a tlr I assume which is for her extra responsibility so she needs to be fulfilling this. Ask for a meeting and give a range of times. Layout expectations for the new year I.e. "it would be good if we could touch base for 5 minutes every day moving forward, how does straight away after school sound." You will have priorities you want to work on and I assume roles you want to delegate to her so yes you do need to be able to chat!
I think you just need to communicate with her.
Maybe something is going on in her life that you are not aware of.
I wish I had the balls to leave that early. We have team meetings till 5 one night, staff meeting till 5.30 another, and it's pretty much understood that everyone is in by 7.45 for briefing at 8 and doesnt leave till at the earliest 4.30 to ensure staff can meet up with each other.
Its a huge pain in the ass and it costs me a bloody fortune in childcare. Pretty much everything can be done by mail, text, or whatsapp. Or at lunchtime.
I deeply wish my team leader would leave at a reasonable time instead of making all of us with kids and childminders feel like slackers!
Why don't you jyst ask her to catch up with you at lunch and e plain, swap phone numbers / whatsapp? Whatsapp is great and i used it a ton when i was a jobshare for sending photos of work and so on.
I don't want her to do anything like you describe going on at your school, Phlebas, I would just like it if she wasn't out the door every single day by 3.30. I don't want to faff around on bloody WhatsApp either. I just want a face-to-face discussion or 2 per week with the adult who is paid to run the department with me. We don't share a lunch time anymore as the school operates a split lunch system, but it's only 35 minutes anyway and surely we are both entitled to eat our lunch during that time. I never feel particularly productive at lunchtime.
While I think meetings for the sake of it are appalling, I do think part of teaching is communicating with colleagues and it's not unreasonable to expect teacher to be around until 4-4.30 2/3 days per week.
I don’t think you are being unreasonable. Personally I would send her an email letting her know that there are several items you need to discuss and ask what day would be best to schedule in a regular meeting. Even a meeting every two weeks would be sufficient. Whilst I get that you are being very understanding I actually think you are being too understanding. She has no right to be snippy. Meetings and not getting to fly out the door at 3:30pm every day are absolutely part of teaching!
Also are you her manager? If so i think you need to get some more balls and confidence if I’m honest. By all means be lovely but if part of her job description is to work on shared projects then surely she knew that the discussion time would probably be after school!
No that's fair enough. You've got to do your job after all and lord knows we are all held accountable. I'd just ask her outright. She'd be better off hearing it from you than above. Bit awkward though, because i guess as she's up the ladder a bit it's hard to broach. Maybe just be casual about it as a chat? There might be a reason i suppose, that you are not privy too. It's certainly odd for a leadership to be gone that quick out of the door.
I didnt get that you were her manager. In that case, say something! Meetings are part of non contact time, no negotiation there!
Thank you- I do need to toughen up I know. I just hate to think something might be going on, or she will take it badly, but I obviously need to go about it in the right way. Good to hear it's not a ridiculous request.
She's not a mind reader. Request a meeting with her.
Perhaps she goes home and does a tonne of stuff there. I come home and do that. Far prefer to come home and have a few home comforts...
Going to offer a differing opinion here, but I think if the school day is over and she does not explicitly know she is wanted for something then it her time to stay or leave as she wishes. Just because she has a tlr doesn't mean she has to hang around.
Perhaps she is rushing off home to do school work in peace?
The tasks unfinished is a different issue, did she have clear deadlines, does she know she is overdue?
Don't know how teaching works but are you her boss?
Is she paid an enhanced rate?
Can you email her or speak informally one lunchbreak to say you need to schedule a weekly departmental leadership meeting with her? Offer her a 7.30 - 8.30 or a 3.30 - 4.30, name her day.
OP - for me the main issue is whether or not she knows you want to meet...so does she?
First talk to her and establish some forms of communication.
I used to talk to my 2ic on the phone or facetime each other when we didn’t have time to talk.
Also have a list of to do things on the board. Once it is done, initial next to it. You then can see if she is doing her part of the job or not.
In theory she isn’t doing anything wrong as she is there for the directed hours. However, it is difficult in practice to have no form of communication. When I was a 2ic, my HoD normally dropped me a quick email to see if I could talk and popped into my lesson. If it was a top set or a Further Maths class, we could chat away for 5-10 minutes without any problems. Doing this job for a few years now, I never go without talking to everyone at least once a day, even just a simple helllo, how are you in the morning.
But if you haven’t told her you want to speak to her at 3.30/4, how is she supposed to know? Why don’t you just invite her to a meeting at the day and time that you want and discuss things then? If you need a regular meeting, set up a regular meeting. You are expecting her to second guess your needs, which is really unfair.
So she is still fairly new? The nicest thing my current school have done for me is to allow me to find my way around, establish myself with the kids and explicitly tell me that my managerial duties will start a few weeks into the school year, rather than throwing everything at me at the same time.
I started as a middle manager last year in a different school and was thrown straight in from the off and honestly, the new school plus new role was a little too much to cope with at the beginning.
That aside, she is under no obligation to stay or arrive outside of her contracted hours and if she does that and insists on keeping it that way, you have little ground to stand on. I'm assuming that the timetable isn't her responsibility, so if no meeting time between her and you has been scheduled by her school, that is something you should raise with the powers that be. I did exactly that and the timetable got changed as my head admitted that anything else would have been unreasonable. I have also refused extra meetings requested outside of school hours, which did not fall into directed time.
As a manager yourself, it is your responsibility to ensure that your second has the tools she needs to do her job effectively. You need to ensure that her role and responsibilities are clear to her and that she can do what she needs to do with what is available to her.
To go in and speak to her about her working times - provided she sticks to her contract - is the wrong thing to do. It's one of the many things that makes people leave the profession in droves. Not everyone believes in presenteeism and personally, I work a lot quicker and more effectively between 8-10pm and from 4am - times no-one would meet with me
As for her work: clear roles, a clear timeline and regular check-ups on how she is getting on. Then, if she still doesn't satisfy her role, by all means go and speak to her about any unfinishied work. But give her a chance, it's been two bloody weeks and she'll still be learning the new systems, no matter how experienced she's been beforehand. New schools bring a lot of change with them.
The biggest problem with management in schools is that very few people have been taught how to manage and lead others properly.
That's nailed it wormzy. Great post
I don't think it has 'nailed it' actually, though it may partly be my fault for being vague and not giving too many details.
She started after Easter, so not especially new now. But I completely agree that she should have time to establish herself in her new school, but she has always been adamant that it wasn't necessary and has offered to do many things and taken on to much. I have done my best to manage this and her expectations of herself, but, as I said, she is not particularly open and I think wants to give an impression of perfection, when none of us are manage that. I definitely need to speak to her about prioritising workload, but I don't want to be patronising and I think she'll just be defensive and insist there isn't a problem.
Meeting times are not scheduled in the school day - it's just the culture of the school and there's nothing I can do about it. It's not going to happen - I would love to work somewhere where it did though. Your head sounds great, Wormzy.
I don't believe in presenteeism either, and have no intention of making the meeting we have about her hours. I'll focus on her responsibilities and set some negotiated deadlines etc. However, I do believe teaching involves teamwork, and if someone is seldom around it's hard to build that. As I said, I don't mean I think she, or anyone else, should be in 7-6, but it would be good if she wasn't packing up as soon as the day finishes - if she was around until 4 -4.30 a couple of days a week. But I realise I can't make that happen, so a formal, scheduled meeting it will have to be. We need that anyway, but someone being around on a more informal basis is helpful too.
The biggest problem with management in schools is that very few people have been taught how to manage and lead others properly.
Completely agree .
Ah, that makes things clearer. So she has insecurities - quite common for a first-time second
Your school doesn't have to have a specific time scheduled for the two of you if you share frees - just agree that you will both use an agreed free a fortnight to meet (and do anything else via email if urgent) and if necessary speak to the cover manager to stress that you'd like to keep it as a meeting time and only be used for cover in absolute emergencies.
If you communicate via email you also have a record of when you have sent out information, deadlines you have set and anything else you have agreed. It gives you something to fall back on in case of incomplete work and allows her the flexibility to work in the middle of the night if that is what she chooses to do.
I hope you can reassure you that she is not under constant scrutiny and criticism, but fully supported. The way my new team have welcomed me into their midst has certainly changed the way I approach teamwork in this school and I am much more open to be helpful than I'd ever have been in my last school, where I did feel like I had to be perfect all the time or else.
but it would be good if she wasn't packing up as soon as the day finishes - if she was around until 4 -4.30 a couple of days a week
Going against the grain here but you are unreasonable to expect that. What she does out of directed time is entirely up to her.
Asking someone if you can catch them on a Monday after school to check in is reasonable. Deciding that because they are a 2nd they should be on site so you can call on them during hours you want in case you want to chat is not reasonable.
Why don't you aim to have a set day where you check in for 10 mins and then block off a meeting during the day every so often and take minutes to look at unfinished tasks.
Hang on, directed time? Finishes when the kids go off-site? When did that change?
Slightly concerned my replies aren't even showing up for you OP...I'll have one last go.
Does. She. Know. You. Want. To. Meet. With. Her?
Because if not, unless she's psychic, how will sue know you want to meet with her?
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