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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 Margaret;

Thankyou so much for your response and I'm happy you got something out of it.

I wrote recently in a post; "My wisdom is born of pain, but it's wisdom all the same" I was medically retired after 7 yrs of the most disgraceful conduct from line managers, co workers and HR. One of the issues that I faced personally, was trying to detach from the individuals who treated me with disdain and ignorance. What felt like personal attacks, and yes there is that probability, took its toll. Facing resentment and anger, and most of all helplessness at the hands of those involved, 'had' to make way for looking at the department as a whole instead of those individuals.

As Tony says in his post; "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"

Surviving is the key! This brings me to the subject of accountability; if you leave work and still pursue WC, they won't touch it. WC needs to be dealt with first because quitting will be interpreted as an act of guilt. On the other hand, if you're dismissed the issue is still open. I learned this just in time as I was ready to hand the proverbial towel in. I'm glad I didn't.

Thankyou for your offer of help, it isn't that I don't need it because it's a massive undertaking, but you need your full attention on what you're doing. Don't be tempted to dissociate from current plans to save the world; save yourself first...ok?

For now, develop a style of writing and research that gives a punch!!

Good to chat Marg...Dizzy x

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Thank you again and can you advise me about what happens next.....ok at present I am 13 weeks on WC....the re hab woman is saying I have to return to my substantive position...altho she agrees its toxic, there are many out on stress from this school...dr, psychologist etc say I cant return ....I am 62 so I need an income. I am also worn out by the system. The folk who caused the injury are the ones who will be guiding my return to work, the last time they handed me an unsigned, undated fair warning...blatant intimidation....and complete nonsense....and completely out of the blue...they did not do a return to work at all.???

What happens next?

Thank you Tony, I have received similar advice...I do find it hard when theres so much unnecessary waste of time resources and energy...but I am going to have to change my attitude my symptoms have gotten much worse during this wc process. Its a nightmare followed by a nightmare....

I m glad your daughter found a happy place and could keep her profession. Thank you.

Hi Marg; (I hope you don't mind me calling you this?)

It isn't apparent if you've already had your claim accepted or not. You state you've been off on wc for 13 wks, so I'm unsure what the 8000 words are about? Could you clarify please?

I can't actually advise anything not knowing the 'above' answer. So I have a few query's;

Is this 're-hab' person internal services or from the insurer?

Have you returned to a temp position somewhere?

The RTW Plan has to be signed by GP and Psych as well as the RTW coordinator for your section and yourself. Has this happened? It doesn't matter if you've been granted WC or not, you still need a RTW Plan. You can ask for a review if you're not happy with it.

If you've had problems with anyone in the past or they're involved, you can have something included in your RTW Plan restricting their involvement in the process. It's YOUR RTW Plan, not theirs. Your GP and Psych can ask for exclusions or inclusions.

Whoever this re-hab person is, they don't have the authority to override your GP or Psych. If you've been in a temp placement up until now, they have no excuse to move you from there to your substantive position if it causes you more grief. Some conflict resolution, formal inquiry or grievance process will need to be organised, (in the RTWP) preferably with your Psych present. (definitely with someone present who can support you...never ever alone!)

If they say you need to move due to pay-grade, funding, no more vacant positions etc, ask them to provide written advice from area supervisor, policies and HR.

If you're in NSW you can call WIRO to complain about the process not supporting you and they'll be happy to intervene. But that's only if the claim has been accepted by the insurer. Other states have similar.

All of this seems to relate to problems, however there may be positive things in place already that can be expanded on. Just make sure you never meet with anyone alone for anything. If you're tricked into a meeting as I've been, don't talk and leave the room. Be nice and tactful in the way you speak, but leave immediately and email the RTW Insurance Case manager. CC internal services and your line manager (or theirs) Never call, always email. (paper trail)

I don't know what else to say as your exact circumstances aren't clear. I hope this helps.

Dizzy x

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

hi dizzy....!

To answer your questions....claim accepted, 8000 words formal complaint, unsent, dodged a bullet with that... thank you for your wise words, the re hab folk are hired by the insurer, no RTWP atm, re hab lady told me she has 4 from my school on her case load and she doesnt understand why nothing is being done re executive mismanagement, I went out on WC at the end of last term and they gave me a fair warning no RTWP at all...I went out again at the start of this term. .......Term 2 out weeks 6 and 7....Term 3 out awaiting RTWP....

Truely toxic work place. Fair warning was basically shut up and stop annoying us, theres nothing wrong...

I ve learned a great deal from your posts. I ve learned a great deal from this experience....lordy WC is Catch 22, and Nightmare on Elm Street combined....

Thank you and you can call me anything you want.

I'm glad you replied Marg;

Nice also to hear your WC has been accepted. It sounds to me as if there's a real issue at your workplace re staff management. It might be a thought to bring a group complaint to the Fairwork Ombudsman's Office. If you know who the other staff are, you could contact them and ask if they're interested. As it's an external system, FW will investigate independently. Also is Workcover who can be of assistance, however they don't have the pull they used to. They're being legislated out of existence too.

The other avenue of complaint, (don't bother with internal if you've already tried) is with the Director General's Office. This is more to do with how it affects the kids, but if staff are unhappy with their situation, it'll obviously affect them. No govt dept wants DGO sniffing around because they're so powerful and can make major changes, not only local, but state wide.

As for your RTWP, it's against the law not to have one. The insurers (and your dept) know this and are liable if they don't get onto it. Do some notes on what YOU WANT. If you can't face going back, maybe you could think about transferring elsewhere or to adult education where life isn't as intense.

These are just idea's Marg; I suppose I'm sort of feeling for you atm and I know I shouldn't. You've given me food for thought re starting up a support service for poor souls (in the thick of it) to lean on. Nobody starts a job with tools to confront these issues. Unions are useless; they're more interested in memberships and don't have the staff anyway to deal with bullying; they put it straight back onto you.

Just a note on the unsigned warning; if this happened while on WC, it could be construed as being retaliation for a protected disclosure. That's also against the law; there's even a Protected Disclosure Act (NSW) to govern this behaviour. I hope you have a copy, especially if it's hand written.

So I'll leave you for now and wish you well. Keep me up to date if that's ok?

Warm thoughts...Dizzy x

By the way...hope you're doing alright. My thoughts are with you darl...D xo

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

I went out when some girls? ....identities undisclosed....accused me of discussing my personal sex life and my experiences re anal sex with the class....what got me was that the exec took this rubbish seriously and referred it to IPAC....I was teaching outside my subject area...pdhpe....topic assigned underage sex.....these girls took exception to sex being illegal if under 15 insisting it was ok if you loved the man....? they said coach....This set off warning bells with me. I included this as a cause for concern in my reply to their accusations. I have no idea if this has been addressed....I think the information in this lesson made someone very nervous....

This was a good lesson and I actually enjoyed the multiple discussions...I was heart broken by how the complaint was handled. This was not helped by the laughter it invoked in my nearest and dearest...actually the laughter helped....ridiculous nonsense...

Well I have to thank you yet again. I ll try and find the others who are out from the achool. Its very isolated here in WC land. Fyi you cant apply for a transfer if youre in a WC situation. Great eh.

The pdhpe incident was the final straw just broke me.

Thanks again Dizzy

Hi Marg;

Goodness me...that's a pickle! Were their parents spoken to? I dare say they weren't.

I'm sorry to hear you feel broken. Unfortunately it's a phrase too often spoken re this subject; my thoughts are with you. I hope you're finding some balance in your life. It's necessary for coping and on-going recovery.

On the transfer issue; you may take a transfer if it's offered. If you talk about it with someone instead of formally applying, one could be tabled at your RTWP by them. Even if it's for 3 mnths for instance. Just a thought. Though this issue with the girls might have to be dealt with first.

The legislation re Public Sector Employee Management (Act) has morphed into an entirely new document over the last few years. But it'll still have protocols and procedures for managing complaints. There are time frames and steps management has to stick to as well as yourself.

I won't be around for a while Marg; am delving into so many issues at present. I hope all goes well with everything.

Hope you've got a good GP and Psych in your corner and managing symptoms. You're a trooper...fight the good fight. By the way...you're entirely welcome!

Sincerely...D xx

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi Dizzy, You cannot know what your words have meant to me. You have saved me much grief. I am very grateful. Have very good doc and psych, so support is there... makes a big difference. Fighting the fight ... tho it aint so good.

You are a champion, thanks for everything xx