What happens when teachers are judged to be incompetent?.
This post is on behalf of an anonymous teacher who has given me permission to publish their story. Is this is a growing problem that needs to be discussed amongst teachers? This anonymous teacher thinks it does need discussion.
This [teacher] would be very interested to read about other people’s experiences and how schools seem to be bullying experienced and expensive staff. “It seems to be a race to the bottom for costs, skills and experience. Not everyone wants a promotion!”
Results in free-fall!
I was treated unprofessionally and very poorly, with no right of appeal. After trying to relocate, I started working in a school in Special Measures after countless interviews in a number of years. The number of jobs that were given to (NQTs) Newly Qualified Teachers instead of me, with feedback stating I “had done nothing wrong” was proving time after time, that I was too expensive.
I will admit that I was not ready for promotion at that time.
After a successful interview, my former school gave me UPS (Upper Pay Spine) and the new school did not seem happy with this decision. Previously, the department I worked with had all left and I was one of the replacements. As it was a January start into the academic year, the examination courses were nowhere near complete, and coursework had not begun. Student predictions and results were in free fall!
Eventually, we stabilised results and planned to improve next year. By November of the same year, the head of faculty left due to ‘ill health’ and we were informed later, that he had been forced out by threats of competency [as he had told us after leaving].
The Bermuda Triangle!
In 18 months, one deputy and one assistant principal, four teachers and an NQT vanished with no warning! Other colleagues joked about the Bermuda Triangle and where they had disappeared.
I was called to a meeting with no warning and ripped to shreds by the new head of faculty and assistant principal.
The meeting was about ‘how grades were not all 4 levels of progress’. Impossible in the school. I was told after half-term that I was to be on a support plan and throughout all the time, the head of faculty said: “it’s nothing and don’t worry“. The help promised never materialised until two weeks before the end of the plan and in the re-observation of my classes.
I was told it was ‘inadequate’ and that I had made no progress. I was criticised because some students we’re ‘talking about football’ by the head of faculty instead of working! The students told me later they started talking just as I was walking over.
I was informed that I had failed the plan and called to another meeting. I was told that competency was next and I was offered to resign, which was accepted.
A lucky escape?
My union said that “I’d got a good deal and this is a common story“, and that most are forced out on the spot. Apparently, I was lucky! In the same week, four other members of the department were called in and threatened with the sack ‘for refusing competency procedures’ if they did not resign on the spot and leave that week.
I was put under so much pressure I had a breakdown and my colleagues the same. Depression. My confidence was destroyed and I wanted out of teaching. I even thought I’d be better off dead! I had to have counselling and visit the doctor …
… I know this to be true for two friends: one who has left the profession to work in educational management and another who has gone to work in the private sector. Both suffered at the hands of unscrupulous bosses. One was taken to task over everything they did, from stapling bits of paper together to minuting meetings. The other was just fed up of being made to feel hopeless.” (TES)
Two of my colleagues and I eventually found new jobs at our first interview and had the mockery of praise for good interviews and lessons. I had the ‘reassurance’ I needed that what had happened to me would be kept confidential. My results were a big improvement on previous years whilst others who got terrible results were promoted.
I hear colleagues telling me similar stories and I’d be keen to hear other stories. If I had no future there, surely I deserved a conversation and not this treatment and bullying?
Why is teaching the only job where your experience counts against you?
What are your experiences? Please leave your comments below so that this teacher can feel supported; I will reply on this teacher’s behalf.