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Teachers bullied by 'colleagues'

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

If you’re a teacher being bullied by HOD/ Principal/ colleague I think this may help you. It helped me a lot. I couldn’t understand why when I
was such a good teacher I was having such ridiculous, hurtful, nasty, petty, time wasting, health destroying problems at work.

Anyway here you are; this is why we get bullied:

Teacher bullies in schools “fear exposure of their perceived shortcomings, such as inadequacy and incompetence, and these people bully not
for fun but in order - they think - to survive. Competent colleagues fuel the bully's fear that shortcomings in their capabilities will surface, so they tend to select targets who fulfil some of the criteria below.

Being competent, that is being good at their job, often excelling; being willing to go the extra mile and expect others to do the same; being successful, tenacious, determined, courageous, having fortitude; being imaginative, creative, innovative; being able to master new skills;
thinking long term and seeing the bigger picture; being helpful, always willing to share knowledge and experience; being diligent and

Being Popular with colleagues, pupils, parents, Being regarded as an expert and the person to whom others come for advice, either personal or professional, having a sense of humour, including displays of quick-wittedness

Having strength of character displaying integrity, honesty,intelligence and intellect; having a well-defined set of values that they are unwilling to compromise; being trustworthy, trusting, conscientious, loyal and dependable; a sense of fairness: willingness to tackle injustice, low propensity to violence and strong forgiving streak, refusing to join an established clique; being sensitive, having empathy, concern for others, respect, tolerance, being slow to anger, showing independence of thought or deed, refusing to become a corporate clone and drone, having high coping skills under stress, especially when the injury to health becomes apparent

69 Replies 69

Hi and welcome Rain Dancer;

I smiled when I read your post as I haven't thought of my plan to 'write' for a long while.

As much they would've been a huge help for many, the benefit to me was risky at that time. My head wasn't quite in the right place as triggers were still abound. So it's been put on the back burner for a time when I'm able to put everything I can into them.

All my research is archived along with paperwork kept from workplace issues. I had to give myself space away from that mindset to recover fully. I mean, I won't ever be the same person I was, so when I say 'recovery', I'm talking about the best that can be expected under the circumstances.

As the above was your first post, I'm wondering if you have issues in common with this thread or workplace bullying in general. Knowing about my desire to write means you've done quite a bit of reading too.

I'd like to know more about you if that's ok. You've sparked my interest for sure...

Kind thoughts;


Hi again ED;

You've put so much into your posts; it gives me a great indication of where you're at and what could be the best course of action. I think you're doing splendidly in that regard.

I'd like to side-track a little if that's ok. How are you doing personally? I don't really know anything about you apart from your woes at work. One of the most tragic symptoms from a psychological injury is losing one's sense of 'self'.

So much energy and time's spent thinking about what's happened, it invades the very core of who we are as individuals. I remember being asked what my hobbies were and not having an answer because I'd forgotten. I mean, I love to sew but that didn't even register.

Are you able to focus on family or friends without being triggered into talking about work or dwelling on it internally? It's important you practice being 'present' with what you're doing instead of allowing your mind to wander and ruminate.

There are techniques like 'Mindfulness' that work wonders if you persevere. It's a matter of rote learning; practice, practice, practice...

I learned to listen better than any time in my life; I had to. Focusing on others was a great way to avoid anxiety. Deep breathing each time I was tempted to talk or lose focus helped me too. I guess I found myself after I found others if this makes sense.

In my case though, I was really damaged psychologically/mentally. I should've been in a psych ward looking back. But I figure, if it worked for me, it must work for others not as damaged as me.

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts;


Community Member

Hi Sara

It’s taken me so long to respond as I have been on complete struggle street. Thanks very much for the insight. Yes I completely agree I need to forget the injustice of it all and try to take power back. My next goal in the next meeting is to not respond to the i appropriate comments or tell her how unacceptable her behaviour is. I need a far better plan based on policy and procedure with my own ‘agenda’.

EeDee sorry to hear about your story too. I can really relate to the hurt and anger ( obviously no surprise ).

I think you nailed it by talking about this code of silence. My presence is enough to clear a room of staff, it’s the ignoring that hurts the most. Like you said in your last post too Sara I now completely socially isolate myself I am immensely private and not on any form of social media and yet the town of less than 1500 people know I have been investigated for inappropriate relationships with students ( 1 I know who it was and the other I still don’t know who it was )

Unfortunately I have retreated so much that I now have two friends in town because I have cut everyone off. It’s just so hard to be around people who think it’s been a year you should have moved on..... they don’t know as you do that in fact the workplace bullying has intensified.

I acknowledge I’m truly in desperate need of help but I’m terrified my new psych ( I still see the old one every4-6 weeks ) who has will be seeing via Skype will find out just how ‘damaged’ I really am then she will say I’m too damaged to be able to work .....then ...... no work.... no money......homeless cause I can’t pay my mortgage.

Do I be honest or not acknowledge how badly I’m doing or try to fake done level of I can put up with this till I can put a transfer in ( we are in huge debt and can’t afford to leave for 2 years minimum )

My poor husband has to deal with me crying all the time, or yelling all the time or talking about “it” all the time or me losing it at my kids all the time.

Also I’m in the middle of a diagnosis of my son ( ADHD ) and it is so painful for me that I’m not fully present for him. I have all these books...... I’m worried my daughter who is youngest is also ADHD .... my household is full of ticking time bombs..... I know it could be worse. I feel so trapped.

It does give me great comfort to be able to identify with the people in this post.

Christine aka IHT.

Community Member

Hi EeeDee,

First I hope that things are improving for you. I can call completely empathise with your thoughts and feelings.

I have worked for the department for 14 years and have seen and heard many disappointing things happen to many staff ( and I only say this to sympathise not to dismiss yours as just another story ).

If you have read any of my posts you would know how much I’m struggling too, so it may sound unusual that I would suggest some advice to you .... but here goes.

I strongly recommend that no matter how upset, angry etc you feel ......do not verbalise this to your principal as they will use this against you to ‘prove’ ( justify ) their actions I would hate for you to end up on the ‘performance management road’

Like Sara says it’s far better to know policy inside out.... take it from me who is in over her head.... the minute you verbalise the injustice of it all ( in my case I addressed her inappropriate behaviour, words, mannerisms, tone etc ) then I simply got more of the same from her followed by silence from the other people in the room...., some more inappropriate behaviour from her and then a comment from the rehab ‘girl’ ..... and I stress girl then spoke to me about medical retirement.

Like you said it’s the code of silence but remember it doesn’t just stop in your school the silence goes up the chain to the top.

Honestly if I were you I would take the opp of working in another school with both hands. Something may eventuate from it and at the very least it’s your proof that “see I was fine doing a great job at another school” they can’t then make it next about your performance.

take care, I truly hope you become free of all the hurt x


Just Sara
Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi Christine, ED and those reading;

I'm having a rare bout of mood dysfunction. (Oh Blah-de Oh Blah-da mode) Oldies will get the Beetles reference. lol

I've read your posts but aren't in any mood to answer unfortunately. Just letting you all know I'm taking the weekend off to regroup and reboot. Have a great couple of days. Maybe we all should make a pact to enjoy some fun activity until Monday. 🙂

I'll let you know how it goes...

Take care;


Community Member

Hey Sara,

I hope you had a nice relaxing weekend and you feel better for it. Take care and look after yourself. You deserve it.

x Christine

Community Member

On a related topic, bullying of teachers by parents is definitely A Thing, especially in independent schools where a strong culture of support and procedures might not exist. I know several people who have been adversely affected by it - i.e. lost their jobs when kaffeeklatch of parents ganged up on them and school admin failed to support them.

There has been some push back against this by principals recently in the news, though, which I'm sure is very welcome.

Community Member
Hello, my husband recently was the target of a bully principal who made false allegations against him and then let him go from his contract. Subsequently my husband got a job at another local school, and this principal contacted this school to demand they not hire him (on the grounds of these false allegations). He then emailed me (who has never worked at the school) bragging about his defamation of my husband. Now he is in work meetings telling staff "don't steal like Mr _____ did last year". We arent really sure where to go from here? Does anyone have any advice?

Community Champion
Community Champion

Welcome to the forum Cateye,

I am so sorry your husband has been bullied .

If someone is continuing to spread lies maybe your husband can go to his teacher federation representative to see what his options are.

Is your husband still working at the other high school?

As people have not written on this thread for a while you may want to start your own thread so more people can see your post.

You are more than welcome to keep posting here.


Community Member

Hi Cateye

Sorry to hear about your husband's situation and how it's affecting your family.

The email you mention is a clear breach of the Code of Conduct, Grievance/Investigation Policies and Confidentiality; very brazen and insensitive I might add. Even if he's your husband, discussing workplace issues with you is totally inappropriate and unprofessional. Personally, it's gloating and completely unprofessional at its worst.

If this Principal has disclosed any of the disturbing information you've stated, (in the email) take it to Fairwork Australia, the Union and Ombudsman for Education. You haven't said if the allegation was investigated or if hubby was found to be at fault. This is a crucial point.

If the Principal made the allegations, then he can't investigate it himself; HR has to take over. He's only a witness. There are clear-cut rules and procedures to adhere to. If these have been breached, which they have, then there's a case to be answered to.

There's also the matter of his contract being terminated. Fairwork and a solicitor will have info on remuneration if it's applicable.

Now in saying all this, following through with any complaint can be long and tedious. It's a matter of 'picking your battles wisely'. Having evidence to substantiate claims is very important. This Principal does need a swift lightning rod up the warzoo if you ask me, but the choice to continue is up to your husband.

To me, it's a clear case of bullying and harassment and can be punishable by laws that now exist. (Common Law)

One thing; do not encourage communication with this man. Leave it up to officials to deal with, so if he contacts you again, keep correspondence and record phone calls. Pass these on to whoever's in charge of an investigation.

I hope this has been helpful. I'll look out for your response.