Teachers bullied by 'colleagues'
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
Welcome to BB Margaret;
Bullying in the workplace is systemic in govt dept's. For some reason, and I have my opinion, they attract sociopaths and overly ambitious/under motivated people.
I was retired after a breakdown for similar reasons as you've mentioned. I loved my job and was more than good at it. I worked in a unit as the only female and had more experience and qualifications than all my co-workers put together, including the manager. The intimidation, harassment and discrimination was filthy.
It didn't matter what legislation or policy I emailed along with my complaints, all the way up, line managers would lie and manipulate for each other.
I'm writing a series of books addressing this disgusting practice and the affects on staff and co-workers who witness it. A lot of my research is being done via questionnaire's through major unions and W/Comp help groups such as WIRO (NSW)
The main issue for now, seems to be that employee's aren't given the tools to cope or manage conflict and how it escalates. Managers aren't equipped either with little or no conflict resolution management skills or training. Another problem is the mental health issues being created due to abuse. A mental health first aid course would be great as an inclusion to each induction.
It's a broad scope for writing and due to laws/policies changing like the wind, it's a legal mine field of trying to gain empirical evidence as 'current'. Psychological injuries through insurance companies is now virtually impossible to claim. Not because it can't be proven, but because the injury has to be proven to be a life long affliction. So solicitors won't touch it now because we're not fortune tellers.
It's a massive undertaking, but as a project to keep me somewhat sane, it's right up my alley. Personally, I think it's the perfect subject for a parliamentary enquiry. Ha ha... lol By the time I finish my books in a few years, I might just be in time for their outcome and recommendations!
This is a big one for me, I fell into this black hole because I thought we were all supposed to put others first and work for the betterment of our students....naive....but thats really what I thought....well I think I ve learnt my lesson now. PTSD, depression, panic attack, anxiety....
And whats my dog doing sitting on your knee?
My dear Margaret;
The thing for me after reading your posts, is my concern for your mental health and associated issues in your workplace. Also is the way you respond to the insurance investigation. Although 8000 words would have been a real way for you to vent, it will work against you in the long run. Too much information, especially of an emotional or irrelevant nature, will give your department a lot to put back onto you.
The only way to approach this issue is with policies, flow charts and legislation that's been breached. The other is to submit evidence that verifies their breaches. Your dept will endeavour at every level to undermine and belittle 'you' as a course to prevent them having to defend themselves. Insurance companies thrive on this tactic. Section 11A defines appropriate action taken by employers in approaching the complaints of employees. The more you talk about yourself, the more ammo they have. Your approach needs to be about their action, not your pain. Your pay-grade defines the tasks and responsibilities you're accountable for, this does not include self management. Approach this task as if it were for a student; detach!
The Code of Conduct section on responsibilities of managers and employers is a good place to start. So is the managers handbook. Flow charts are a great source of come-back as few of these cases are managed in line with relevant directives. Use lack of Supervision and Training/Development also as this is in their court. Any dept policies, booklets or even drafts on supervision, bullying, discrimination (Eg isolation from team) can also be great resources. Get a copy of your P-file!
One thing I must stress is using as little words as possible. Use headings to separate issues and summarise the paragraphs so they only say the bare essentials; dot points are preferable. An important issue is usually how managers fail to recognise past achievements and positive qualities/skills to promote a balanced way of dealing with you. This will work in your favour.
I hope you have a good psychologist and GP to address PTSD symptoms as your emotional responses at work can cause more problems and give managers further reasons to use you as a scape-goat.
Finally, research Case Law for past won cases. The main objective here is to see what works.
I have so much I can offer, but characters are limited. I hope I've been of assistance.
Warm thoughts...Dizzy x
A help.....this is invaluable....thank goodness I have nt submitted anything. The 8000 words is actually dates times incidents only no venting or raving....but I am doing major overhaul after reading this. This is essential information ESSENTIAL....thank you so much.
Can I copy and paste, do a screen shot.... I hope so....Dizzy you have to publish, honestly this is the best advice I ve had. Gosh and golly gosh,
I know we are nt supposed to contact directly but I would love to meet you, proof read for you, help with research....Its such a mine field and anyone ....and there are lots of us....is set adrift in darkness ... this information is a lighthouse...
Hi Margaret, welcome.
such a good thread, thankyou.
This forum does not permit personal contact with other members sorry.
Firstly, my daughter is a teacher. She, in desperation from severe anxiety, depression etc, went from full time to casual just to enable her to remain in the profession. She now has no after school work nor pressures from other teachers with the "handball" culture of responsibilities. She is much happier and her illness more manageable.
Re: workers compensation. Briefly: I fought my management on a principle in 1987. It left me with severe anxiety. It took me two decades to overcome that. In that time I also ran my own private investigation business mainly investigating claimants for WC.
As my therapist told me once "why do you attend work with the view that you can change the world? After all, the workplace has a culture...you can alter things a little but not change the culture"
and "Tony, people are grey, you will not fit in when you are black and white"
and "to survive long term in a profession, observe the ones that's been there for many years. They have mastered the art of survival. If they use short cuts then adopt them or you'll be burned out with being wrapped up in your own righteousness and not last long at all."
Being responsible, doing the "right thing", having expectations with others, not being able to say " no" when others pass on their responsibilities to you...all take their toll. We need to place our priority on ourselves as number one.
It is honourable that you feel you need to explain to others or authorities your concerns about the system. But it would be unrealistic to think you could make any significant changes. Based on that, teaching might not be the profession that's ideal.
You've no doubt found the WC system is a roundabout is stress in itself. Being realistic, its no good hanging onto an extremely tough enduring profession when your mental health is suffering. Moving to casual as my daughter did is an option.
Lots to think about. Hope I've helped.