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Work rant and wibu to apply for a job in a cafe / supermarket??

40 replies

GodammitGodric · 15/10/2022 09:35

Sorry for the rant below. I am grumpy about work today after one of those weeks.

I work in a mainstream secondary school, working with students with some quite complex needs, some challenging behavioural issues, ASD, ADHD, mental health problems, often from chaotic home lives and having a terrible time at home and school.

Emotionally, it can be a lot to deal with. But, I am very resilient. Any rudeness or anything like that from the students honestly bounces off me and I can always respond with something fairly positive to try to get them back on track with work. I do find hearing some things they tell me very hard, but I can take it as I know I'm the grown up and it's up to me to listen and report when I hear something.

For this job I get paid the princely sum of £900 per month, as it is part time, (meaning full time school hours).

Not that it matters, but I am well educated with a degree in a sensible subject from a uni which is seen as one of the best in the country.

I do this job because I wanted to do something which benefits vulnerable people in society. I don't want to teach secondary.

We are expected to help out in every class, from year 7 Drama and Textiles to Yr 11 Physics and Maths which can be challenging sometimes, like when I have to dig out my knowledge of GCSE algebra, but fine.

Anyway, my line manager is quite a domineering and unhelpful person. I get absolutely no support or guidance. Requests for advice get shrugged off or responded to very slowly as if it's a major inconvenience. That is until I do something (which she decides on any given day is) wrong and then get told off for it. She and her other colleagues spend most days lurking round an office talking to each other about work, so they have great communication in the office. However, it's very cloak and dagger, so the people who are in the classroom, (my colleagues and me), do not get access to any of this information as it is never sent to us.

Most lunchtimes, we get cornered by domineering boss who ruins my precious lunch break droning on about how rich her family is and makes weird, inappropriate comments and thinking she's brilliant. I've been nice and listened to her until now because she is my boss.

However, this is also her opportunity to give us a telling off for whatever she's decided we've done wrong, usually with overly dramatic descriptions of the dire repercussions due to what we supposedly did wrong. Hypothetical repercussions I mean, like; "oh, you left the class because another student who was truant was hanging round outside and being disruptive so you went to speak to him and report it. What if your student had fled from the class? You KNOW she has awful MH problems". No, I actually didn't because you NEVER TOLD ME. Also, I know her and she was happy in class that day. Then the next week it will be "why did you stay in class with your student when you knew another child was truant and hanging round the grounds somewhere? Don't you know that's a terrible risk to the truant child"? Um...what?! I cannot win.

I have decided now to give her absolutely no information about what goes on with my classes, unless there is something serious which directly concerns her, as whatever it is, she will twist it to me having done something wrong. I'll report things which need to be obviously; I'm not an idiot. But to the pastoral team/DSL/head of year team directly.

This seems to be their chosen training method btw. Tell us nothing, gossip amongst themselves in the office and then tell us we're all wrong whatever we do.

I am relatively new to the job (6 months in), but I am so peeved today. I take a lot of shit from students and I put up with it because it's my job and I genuinely care about their welfare, but I will not take it from my boss who jas given me basically zero in terms of help and training, when I'm getting paid a pittance.

Aibu to send off applications for pretty much any other job today? Should I try to communicate to her and her boss (SENCO) what the problem is, or just keep my counsel and find something else (anything else) ASAP? With the nonsense she's given since I started work though, I expect any confrontation would be twisted to make me look silly and her like a wise one who has to deal with the idiots she has to manage, how exasperating 🙄. She isn't. She's just a domineering person who speaks with authority on every subject going.

If it matters, finances are ok in the short - medium term due to an inheritance, savings from my previous work and my OH job. Obviously this job isn't bringing in a proper wage at all, so I think I can do better.

Tl:Dr summary: aibu to think that in a difficult, very low paid job, where my manager is unsupportive and helpful, I need to get out ASAP even though I generally like my job?

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?

85 votes. Final results.

You are being unreasonable
You are NOT being unreasonable
YellowTreeHouse · 15/10/2022 09:42

Life is too short to be unhappy. If you’re miserable, leave.

CurlyhairedAssassin · 15/10/2022 09:46

Urgh, reminds me of my previous job in secondary, working with a manager who sounds exactly the same. (I wasn’t part of the SEND Dept but was support staff in another capacity)

I left and am much happier. The manager actually had also left a couple of months prior to that (a new head came in and no doubt a lot of people had complained about her methods) but the damage had been done by then. It opened my eyes to other poor practices in the school and I realised I’d had enough. Plus they wanted me out too cos I’d got too expensive and they didn’t see my role as important anymore and didn’t understand it.

i moved to primary to a lovely little school with a great team and management and I’m really glad I did. My new role is actually less money but it was worth it. I shudder whenever I think of my old place.

how do the other staff find her? If others are not happy at her approach either I think it could br worth some of you going to speak to someone about her.

BoxOfCats · 15/10/2022 09:47

Find a new job and then take great joy in politely telling her to shove it when you hand in your notice.

TestingTestingWonTooFree · 15/10/2022 09:48

Would you consider a move to another school?

SunshineClouds1 · 15/10/2022 09:50

Your happiness comes first.

There is nothing worse than working in a job that you start to hate and get no thanks for.

Put yourself first

Sorebackandibs · 15/10/2022 09:50

This is so sad to read 😔 the children desperately need someone caring like you to work in the role, but twats like your boss make it impossible to do so.

As a pp said, could you try another school or something related to your role? There is a youth club near me that do incredible work with young children from difficult homes. It would be such a shame not to pursue something you are good at and that children will really benefit from.

Teresa777 · 15/10/2022 09:50

Get out of there and find somewhere that will appreciate you and your skills.

DuchessOfDisco · 15/10/2022 09:51

Schools are crying out for TAs, if this one isn’t a great fit - move on.
fwiw, I was I a similar role as a secondary TA and left this summer. I got a better paid job out of education but quickly missed the students, the laughter, the banter etc so now I’ve returned to a different school. Nearly every single school around here has support staff vacancies so let yourself be picky about the people you work with

MojoMoon · 15/10/2022 09:52

Of course you are not unreasonable to leave a job where you are unhappy.

There is nothing wrong with working in a cafe or a supermarket. But if you have a degree from one of the best universities in the country, would you not be in a position to apply for something better paid and with better career and growth prospects than working in a cafe?

Is this job your first ever job?

Blip · 15/10/2022 09:55

Leave your job then write to the head to say why.

WankBadger5000 · 15/10/2022 09:55

Sadly @GodammitGodric you'd be one of many leaving these so badly needed but completely underfunded and poorly supported roles. I am not sure what it will take to get the powers that be to sit up and take notice.

Bella37 · 15/10/2022 09:57

It sounds like you are good at your job it’s just the school, I think you should move to another school as you would be wasted in a supermarket when you clearly make a difference to the childrens lives, probably more than you realise, I didn’t realise how much I meant to my pupils until the day I left the role and read all their cards/letters etc. yet most days they would swear at me and act like they hated me 😂.

JubileeTrifle · 15/10/2022 09:57

Schools vary enormously so I would look around. I worked in a secondary which didn’t support its TAs at all. One left to work in a small special school which was totally different and other staff have followed her. There’s usually somewhere better.

AssignedSlytherinAtBirth · 15/10/2022 09:59

You are all adults, and your boss is BU. I think you should have a think about what needs to change, what outcome would make you happy to stay, and talk to her/her boss. Make it clear that things must change, and how. Don't just take the shit. And go elsewhere for your lunch (hide in the library?).

ParsleySageRosemary · 15/10/2022 10:04

“That’s schools!” (Happy head tilt, positivity gleaming through gritted teeth).

If ordinary people hadn’t run themselves ragged trying to make these failing models work in a time of increased living costs we would have negotiated better settlements earlier before it got to the stage of burnt-out collapse. Do it.

ParsleySageRosemary · 15/10/2022 10:06

Ps - we are not actually helping the next generation by supporting this bonfire of rights and wages as living costs rise.

GodammitGodric · 15/10/2022 10:10

Thanks for all of these.

I do love working with the students and I am good at building positive relationships with them. Probably because I do not flinch when they hurl abuse, ha!

I think my boss has lost touch a bit with how things really are in the classroom.

I'm so annoyed with her today, (and it isn't the first time). I just can't see how I can talk to her and get a good outcome. I anticipate "I'm sorry you have interpreted it that way" gaslighting type responses. But I do think that's because I'm grumpy.

I have definitely noticed other people giving me "wtf?" looks around her, so I do not think I'm alone. There is a very high turnover in the team and most of us are new. I am one of the people on the team who has been there longest and I've only been there 6 months.

Yes, I would move to another school. Maybe primary. I would really miss working with young people if I went back to corporate office jobs. They are good company and very funny.

This is not my first job, but it I only returned to work about a year ago when my youngest dc started preschool. Before that I worked for a big engineering company doing a business logistics role. I didn't suit that world really, although it was fine at the time and I was good at it. But I wanted to work with children or young people.

OP posts:
GodammitGodric · 15/10/2022 10:15

ParsleySageRosemary · 15/10/2022 10:04

“That’s schools!” (Happy head tilt, positivity gleaming through gritted teeth).

If ordinary people hadn’t run themselves ragged trying to make these failing models work in a time of increased living costs we would have negotiated better settlements earlier before it got to the stage of burnt-out collapse. Do it.


<returns happy head tilt and rigor mortis grin>...


OP posts:
GodammitGodric · 15/10/2022 10:22

And there is another staff room where I am thinking of taking my lunch next week. If she wants to talk to me about work, she can do it during working hours or send me an email

OP posts:
jeaux90 · 15/10/2022 10:38

I'd leave. Write to the head and tell them why and why the staff turnover is so high.

It's real shame, you sound so dedicated but this is your life and you shouldn't be unhappy.

Ikeabag · 15/10/2022 10:38

I've worked in respite rather than schools, enjoyed that way more than café job or waitressing which was bloody horrible, separate times. If you can do shifts I'd see whether that's somewhere you could migrate to. They're busier during holidays and outside of school hours is when shifts are the most intense but you get chance to regroup and do paperwork, manage the environment etc while kids are in school. Staff:child ratios also better. I haven't done it for a while but spent time in schools visiting kids there and going to meetings and the pace in schools is very very different. Look at council website for vacancies for support workers. Also - from someone who was in a shit position in terms of another member of staff being a raging maniac who had it in for anyone young and childless, get the hell out. It's not worth it. Some people are just shitty - and I think the edu system is allowing those scenarios to fester horribly at the mo because of external pressure. Good luck!

Ikeabag · 15/10/2022 10:40

To be clear - respite is still a lot of work. But it can be more satisfying and feel like actual 1:1 care and attention is possible, if you're good at managing time and being upbeat and posi for the kids. Coming from school, you'd probs be fine!


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2bazookas · 15/10/2022 11:10

I've done all three jobs; teaching and cafe service, shop work.

Try cafe and shop work ; I guarantee you'll be desperate to return to teaching .

If you don't like teaching in school, try adult education or private tutoring.

GodammitGodric · 15/10/2022 11:24

I was actually a waitress in a fairly famous restaurant immediately before this job. It has its problems, but no, I wouldn't be running back to my current job if I tried it, I don't think.

Thanks for the warning though!

I don't mind hospitality, as I like to be on my feet at work, which I do get in my current job.

I wouldn't go back to an office as I am not cut out for it.

I am not a teacher, so I don't think I could be a tutor. Maybe in my degree subjects, but I'm quite rusty

OP posts:
Beachhuts90 · 15/10/2022 11:44

That hasn't been my experience of any school but I work in primary so maybe it's a different vibe (and I know I've been lucky in the schools I've worked). I'd leave your job for sure, either for another school or some other type of job. The money isn't good enough to put up with poor management! (TA pay isn't even good enough full stop in my opinion!)

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