So I had an awful spat with my boss.
It all started around a few weeks after we started working together. Previously we were mere colleagues who rarely saw each other, but with a sudden change in management she was put in charge of me. She had more experience in the teaching profession, but none in the subject we were teaching. I know how to speak the language and have been speaking it and also studying it from birth; she doesn’t.
She didn’t delegate, she micromanaged, she was negative about everybody and continuously found fault with other staff members. She had some excellent attributes but I just don’t like her anymore.
Her teaching methods were based on somebody who was speaking first language english, not second language Arabic. So I disagreed with her. She kept putting phrases in like ‘research shows certain things’ despite the fact that this research was not conducted on the subject we are teaching.
She said “I am afraid I will have to put my foot down.” when I suggested a change in the syllabus she had drafted up because it really was pointless. She kept arguing that it was what the management wanted regardless of the fact that the management had said nothing on the matter and have no expertise. In fact I am the only one with expertise on the subject but God forbid I put anything forward and have it accepted.
I felt resentful because I am parrot teaching children vocabulary so old that they will never use it, when I know better ways to teach them a language I grew up with and she knows nothing about.
Still, I bit my tongue. I held it in. I let it slide.
I let a lot of things slide. Time passed and I moved to another city, which meant a three hour commute to work and giving up my car. This made my journey harder, so I quit. I gave in my six week notice.
I told the management why I was quitting, and that there would be times when I would have to be late but I would always let them know prior to my arrival when I would be late. They said this was okay.
More time passed, and my boss started driving me nuts. She was so uptight and nitpicky about everything I did. I would come in saying ‘Oh that was a wonderful lesson we really made progress-” and then I would go on to detail why. She would frown and say, ‘hmmm, Lenora, I think you’re not allowed to do that. Ofstead want to see paperwork etc.”
Which, fair enough, might be true, but teaching is not about what a teaching board will say about how much paperwork your students do. My students are learning, their grades show as much. They are also steadily improving, and I have had good reports from plenty of other staff/teachers about my methods.
I just feel like if something is positive, need it be draped with so much ‘red tape’? Can it not be recognised as such?
Anyway, as time passed these little nuances of hers started really grinding on me, making me more and more annoyed. So I started keeping my distance, being as polite as I could but refraining from being too friendly.
So I gave in my six week notice but am staying an extra week because they really needed me. I agreed to help them out. I was under no obligation to do so. Also, other teachers have quit and they were allowed to leave without giving any six week notice; I felt that was extremely unfair. But, I wanted to help out.
Anyway, with this exhausting commute, arriving at work at the contracted hour was proving harder and harder. Train times were not always perfect and I relied on somebody to give me a lift in the mornings because of my heavy bags; walking for 30 minutes in the freezing cold with heavy bags after travelling three hours since 4am was just too difficult, and no job is worth that much pain. So I kept letting my boss know beforehand if I was going to arrive late.
I am ALWAYS there fifteen minutes before teaching actually begins. I am NEVER late for my students. Contracted hours begin 30 minutes before the first lesson.
She would always look at me and purse her lips when I arrived late even though I always told her I would be arriving late, which would annoy me. And it was only 5-10 minutes.
So yesterday I sent a text at 7:50 saying sorry but we have to drop the child to school so we will be late; (we have started to do this and it has affected the leaving time). She sent a text back saying:
‘Although I empathise with your predicament, we still need you here at the agreed time. This is the third time in two weeks and it will now need to be escalated.‘
This text was sent knowing that I am LEAVING in five days. Also knowing I caught two trains and two buses and have been travelling three hours to get here, to help THEM out, even though I did not need to do this and could legally have just left.
I was very annoyed.
‘Ok. No problem.’
‘Please let me know when and with whom.‘
She did not reply. So when I saw her I asked her when this would be escalated (I AM LEAVING IN FIVE DAYS, WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO? WHY ARE YOU SO PETTY?).
She said she had reported it to management (it’s done, see?) and I would have to wait and see what they say, that they would ‘be in touch.’
I told her that I was disappointed that she had reported me, given that I had already explained to them that I would be late and I would always let them know prior. I explained that I am leaving so how can this be escalated.
I even added, ‘Will they fire me?’
She said, ‘I don’t know, we will have to see.’
How malicious is that? When somebody has already quit and is doing YOU a favour by staying extra, how the heck does it make sense that you ‘report’ them and ‘escalate’ matters?!
She said she did not like my tone. I was not shouting, but she just didn’t like the fact that I called her bluff. How the fudge nugget are you going to escalate things if I won’t be here? What you going to do, fire me?
She is a control freak and didn’t like knowing that I was ‘getting away’ with it, in her books. Which is stupid because I had already EXPLAINED WHY I WOULD BE LATE SOMETIMES SIX WEEKS PRIOR TO THIS.
This woman made me so mad. She then rushed to the head to tell him what happened; and literally ran back to tell me he wanted to see me. AFTER she already reported the issue? Clearly wanted to get dibs on his favour. She was smirking too, which really grated on me. She was also panting, because of all that self righteous running.
He didn’t penalise me, by the way. He was very diplomatic and nice about it. He explained that he didn’t want my last week at work to be negative, and that the welfare of the staff is of equal importance as the welfare of the students.
He did not ‘escalate’ matters. He did not say anything about that at all.
I just. WHY. Why would you ‘REPORT’ me when I am leaving?! I mean, I didn’t get into trouble but it is the PRINCIPLE of the matter.
She basically ruined my last week at this school. I love this school, I love the kids, I love the staff. But my last week feels negative and miserable because of her backstabbing goody-two-shoes Miss perfect attitude. She can do no wrong but everybody else is incompetent. I just really don’t want to go in in the mornings. I never felt like this before. My memories feel tainted now.
RESEARCH SHOWS this, people. RESEARCH SHOWS THIS. Never mind what bloody research shows it. If I hear ‘research shows’ one more time I am slamming my head against the wall. In fact, no. I will say, ‘What research, exactly?’ and smile at her. Because you can’t keep quoting research without referencing said research properly, otherwise it’s just bullshit. And she won’t be able to ref the research because a. it probably doesn’t exist and b. it is not related to our subject matter.
I hate school now because of her. She has made it nasty and uncomfortable. And if I get a crap reference this travelling will not have been worth it.