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Vicious email from Headtacher

(65 Posts)
uselessteacher Tue 07-May-19 17:38:27

Namechanged for this. Have tried to give minimal details so as not to out myself.

My headteacher sent me an email to say that she isn't prepared to pay for a year's postgraduate course that she had previously agreed to pay for. She also said that she didn't feel I had the knowledge or skills for the course, which until now, she has been very happy to send me on. She has been saying for a very long time that the role which this course would have led to pretty much had my name on it, and that she was lining me up to take over when the current post holder retires in a couple of years' time. I know that she can't guarantee this, but that's another story. The course was due to start this week and my application was complete with the exception of the headteacher's declaration, which she had said previously would be no problem at all, and that I should 'big myself up' on the application form and she would help me to do this if I needed any support.

Needless to say I was very surprised to hear that she had gone back on everything that she had said previously. I really didn't see it coming at all and was very disappointed that I would no longer be able to start the course this week. I have now withdrawn my application.

But she didn't stop there. She continued her one and a half sides of A4 and criticised my classroom teaching ability, which she has done numerous times before. And said that 'a good deal of work needs to go into supporting you to develop further your understanding of x, y and z.' Her comments in her email just twist the knife even further and make me feel like I am a desperately failing classroom practitioner. I have taught for nearly twenty years and have never had such negative feedback in lesson observations, yet I don't feel that I have suddenly become a far worse teacher. My confidence has hit rock bottom. I feel sick at the thought of replying to her email (so I haven't) and I feel panicky about going back into school. I don't want to call in sick as I can't face having to talk to her; I'd rather just go in and keep my head down and get on with my job. Don't really know why I'm posting, just totally deflated, hurt, upset and feeling like I want out of this school, but knowing how difficult that is going to be when I'm relying on a reference from a head who thinks I have behaviour management issues. And, just to top it all off, I have a peer observation this week which has filled me with dread all weekend.

OP’s posts: |
FiremanKing Tue 07-May-19 18:10:15

None of what you have mentioned sounds in any way helpful or constructive with a view to supporting you in your role and for any improvements (in her eyes) that could be made.

Rather than reply I think a one to one meeting would be better.

I feel for you as you sound dedicated and if there were problems then she has let them build up and not gone bout it the right way.

DumbledoresApprentice Tue 07-May-19 18:20:48

That’s horrible. It’s the fact that it’s come out of the blue that’s probably shaken you so badly. It’s horrible to encourage someone to go for a job like that if you don’t think they’ve got the skills for it.
It’s downright odd of her to encourage you to think that you are lined up for what I assume is a promotion but also to repeatedly criticise your teaching ability.
Just leave. I doubt you have to much to worry about in terms of reference. The Head won’t want to block you from going elsewhere from the sounds of it.
Don’t let it upset you too much. Sometimes in life you bump up against real unkindness. It’s not you that is the problem. Even if there are issues with your performance this is not a professional or kind way to deal with it. It’s humiliating and cruel to encourage someone to think that they are doing well and then suddenly spring a huge litany of complaints and concerns on them.

Lulu1919 Tue 07-May-19 18:24:02

If you decide to meet her face to face make sure you take someone with you .

HollowTalk Tue 07-May-19 18:28:12

Can you pay to do the course yourself, with a view to fucking off out of that school when it's over?

barryfromclareisfit Tue 07-May-19 18:31:01

Talk to your union.
She’s decided she wants you out. Can she get two bright young things for your salary?

MardyLardy Tue 07-May-19 18:33:53

Don’t hide
Union up
Your teaching can’t be anywhere as poor as her management of staff

PickAChew Tue 07-May-19 18:39:10

Be glad you got this in writing. My first thought was Union, too, because it sounds like the head has a particular agenda, here.

Hopefully, you have the earlier promises to support your application in writing, too.

viques Tue 07-May-19 18:47:01

Wow, she's a bit daft to have put all that in an email. Make sure you save it, and print it out just in case.

I would be showing it to my union rep, do not respond to the email other than to acknowledge receipt and do not have a 1to1 meeting with her. Make sure that in all meetings with her in the future you have your local union rep with you [ I would hesitate to have my school rep in such a meeting but would keep them fully advised].

Has she sent similar emails to other staff members? could be she has gone completely bat shit , it happens, and its the time of year for it.

noblegiraffe Tue 07-May-19 18:51:28

Have you got anything in writing about her previous support for the course?

I’d forward everything to your union and ask for advice.

supersop60 Tue 07-May-19 18:59:04

Another one here for getting Union advice.
What viques said. No 1-2-1 meeting. Be careful who you talk to on your staff, because things have a way of getting back to people.

BelleSausage Tue 07-May-19 19:08:04

Get your union involved. Go back through e-mails to find anything she has previously said about support for this application.

Also find (or more likely these days print out) the copies of your last three lesson obs. She cannot make unsubstantiated claims about your teaching.

In the end though, I would leave. It seems like what she wants and you will be on a hiding to nothing staying. Go somewhere that will appreciate you.

BobbinThreadbare123 Tue 07-May-19 19:11:43

Forward the message to yourself and print it out as well.
Tell nobody else except your union rep (external if you can)
You have not suddenly become shit; there's something else here, like how expensive she thinks you are.... Are you in your 40s/50s and high up on whatever pay scale is used?

EvaHarknessRose Tue 07-May-19 19:14:22

My guess would be the course is a money issue, possibly vetoed by someone else, and the criticism is to justify it in her head. Don’t get anxious, get angry.

uselessteacher Tue 07-May-19 19:29:08

Thanks for all your replies. The promised job would've been a promotion, yes. I have thought about self funding the course to avoid any sort of tie in, but the course requires the support of the head in order to get on it. Since I've been out of the classroom working on the role that was created specially for me to 'take the pressure off' and 'play to my strengths', I've largely been left to my own devices and work happily off my own back, often starting late and going in on my days off to ensure the job gets done. There are plenty of written pieces of evidence to say that I'm doing a great job (not relating to the classroom aspect of my job) which she has sent on numerous emails (including this missive when she referred to my tenacity, attention to detail and care for the children) and notes in Christmas cards etc. I'm sure I also have an email from her saying shell support me in whichever course I decide to do (there were several providers for the same course). However, this was before she saw the list of tasks and I think she's looked at it and decided I can't do the tasks - but surely that's what the course is for?! I'm too embarrassed that she is off the opinion that my strengths are in areas other than in class teaching, so I haven't said a word to anybody and I'm not planning to either. I usually have breaks and lunches in my room so I tend not to see much of other members of staff anyway. I am absolutely not going to have any meetings with her to discuss this - she's told me I can't do the course for another year, following the implementation of an action plan based around the gaps she noted on the course application form. So as far as she's concerned, I think that's the end of it.

I have spent the long weekend and today questioning what I really want to do and my gut feeling says get out altogether and find an admin based role with less stress and pressure. I don't enjoy being in the classroom, most likely because I've been so heavily criticised, and roles like my current one are few and far between so I'm not likely to find anything like it. My other concern is that in her letter the head mentioned that I was originally employed as a job share class teacher. No job description or new contract has ever been issued since my change of role, so my biggest fear is that I could be moved back into the classroom in September and lose my current role altogether. Announcements about where staff will be in September won't be made until after the resignation date, so I could be an absolute wreck by the time I could leave at Christmas if I'm back in the classroom. My DH isn't very understanding - he doesn't get why I was so excited to do the course last week yet this week I'm talking about leaving altogether. He said he's disappointed in my, which has only made me feel worse.

I saved this bit until the end because you've probably all guessed my now... I'm not a member of a union. I'm really, really kicking myself. It's just something that I never got around to doing.

OP’s posts: |
uselessteacher Tue 07-May-19 19:41:22

Sorry, cross posted with a couple of you. The lesson obs have all been scathing. I challenged the last one and she took back some, but not all, of what she said. But she's got in her head that I have issues with behaviour management and that's that. I've heard it several times over the last few years and now I've started to believe it. But one morning a week in one classroom doing PPA cover has its challenges and the class isn't much better with their own teacher so I don't think it's all me.

A couple of you have mentioned the expense of keeping me - this is probably what it boils down to as I'm UPS1, so I'm not cheap to employ.

I suspect the conversation she had with the chair of governors on Friday morning also had something to do with it. Initially, she said she'd fund the whole course with two years' tie in, a few days later she said she had to justify spending so much public money so could I fund half (I said I'd have to talk to DH) and then she sent her email withdrawing all of what she said and not even supporting my application. Whoever said it was the shock as much as anything else is absolutely right, it completely floored me and I just haven't been able to pick myself back up again.

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NewName54321 Tue 07-May-19 21:41:24

At least this has come before resignation date, rather than after it when you'd be contracted to stay until Christmas. Hand your notice in and leave at the end of term. Next half term may well be hell, but it's only for a few weeks.

Sign up with a supply agency and take some time to decide on your next steps. Many non-class teacher posts have gone or become short-term, due to cutbacks, but an agency would help you find what is still out there.

Taking a guess here, but was it the Senco Award you were planning on doing? If so, look at what is on offer in Special Schools and the Local Authority SEN Service.

millimat Tue 07-May-19 22:25:18

So sorry to hear this. She certainly sounss like she had some sort of agenda. How is the school budget? Will she be looking for redundancies? ( I'm assuming you're primary and know what ours is like).

uselessteacher Tue 07-May-19 23:22:24

Newname yes, it was. I've looked at the LA website but nothing there... yet. Special schools are worth investigating though. My initial reaction was to immediately hand in my notice, but that would be cutting my nose off to spite my face. There's still a couple of weeks to reign so if I still feel the same I will do it closer to the deadline, knowing that I've taken time to consider my position and explore alternative options, even if I haven't managed to secure a new job by then. I think I need to go though.

Millimat It's primary and I understood our budget was reasonably healthy compared to some schools, but that won't last forever. Maybe she's having to reign it in a bit and can't afford to have teachers in a non teaching role any more.

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TimeForDinnerDinnerDinner Wed 08-May-19 01:27:58

Your HT has behaved disgracefully.

My HT did the same thing. Praise, praise, praise for 9 - 10 years, and then BAM! Out of the blue, not a positive word to say to or about me.

I put up with her evil campaign for 2 - 3 years until I couldn't take it any more. Then I switched off from teaching all together. She wanted me out, and got what she wanted.

It sounds like your HT recently had a closer look at her budget, and to save face from admitting she should have checked her bank balance properly before making promises, she has lashed out. Some HTs do this; seen it and heard about it many times.

Take heart, it's not you.

It's definitely worth putting feelers out to see what other jobs are available.

Decormad38 Wed 08-May-19 01:55:25

Get onto your union. She’s trying to squeeze you out. You need a decent reference from her.

echt Wed 08-May-19 02:19:33

Good news. She's an eejit for putting it in an email. Seriously how did she get an HT's post with such a lack of nous?

Bad news. She'll fight like crazy to cover her arse.

Get in touch with your union, as advised upthread.

uselessteacher Wed 08-May-19 06:31:00

I am so glad that I have this all in writing from her and that she didn't do this on me when I went to see her last week. She was too busy to see me, thank goodness. I would've cried but at least this way she didn't see my tears and I've got the very words she said.

I'm sorry that other people have been through this, but it's encouraging to hear that you've come through the other side though. I'm not prepared to stick around and be someone's punch bag.

Funnily enough, finance planning meetings have been taking place and look like they're ongoing. Maybe she's under pressure from higher up to make savings so she's squeezing me out, or she's working up to telling me that my role is no more and she'll pop me back in the classroom in September - especially as she mentioned in her letter that I was employed originally as a class teacher. Quite why she would do that after telling me I'm a week teacher is a bit of a mystery but perhaps she's planning to chip away at my confidence and hope that I'll leave.

As I said, I didn't get around to joining a union. I'm pretty sure they wouldn't help me with this even if I joined now as it's something that's already happening. Has anyone got any experience of doing this without the support of the union or joining up after the event?

OP’s posts: |
HelloYouTwo Wed 08-May-19 06:44:38

Since I've been out of the classroom working on the role that was created specially for me to 'take the pressure off' and 'play to my strengths'

How did that situation come about OP? Did HT mean take the pressure off you or off others in the school? I think it’s quite unusual for a school to have members of staff who don’t teach and given that you said you don’t enjoy the classroom I wonder if she previously wanted to help you and thought this would work for the school, now she’s come under pressure from the governors who’ve asked why a UPS1 isn’t doing more than 1 morning a week teaching and has perhaps questioned the value of whatever this role is? Without knowing the size and set up of your school it’s hard to know. It sounds as though she isn’t able to defend her own decision to put you into this other role and is covering herself before looking at putting you back into the classroom - only to undermine you there. What do you have in writing abkut your current role and the decision to move you into it?

I don’t know about the union issue but it might be worth calling them to see if there’s anything they can offer.

uselessteacher Wed 08-May-19 07:18:43

As far as I recall, there was no change of contract to reflect my new role/job title. However, my performance management paperwork has got my current title in the 'position' box. I suspect you're right, she's under pressure to justify my role and as I'm expensive, she's trying to get what she sees as more value for money out of me. I work harder now than I ever have before, often going in in my own time to keep on top of my job - this will cease now that I've made the decision to stop doing over and above to support the 'amazing' colleague whose post was promised to me on completion of the course. I know it sounds petty but this is how her email has made me feel. I'm also considering whether to claim for the three mornings since Easter when I've gone in to clear the backlog on my days off.

OP’s posts: |

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