I’m sorry. This is a rant.
We have been back at school for 8 working days. On day number 6 a member of my department was ‘told off’ by the School Business Manager, part of the leadership team, but someone who is not directly in charge of line managing teachers. My colleagues transgression was that he was supposed to be on break time duty, but instead he had sat down for a cup of tea. In front of other colleagues, he was rudely accused of a lack of ‘duty of care’ and that he ‘should do his job his immediately’. Now I’m not saying my colleague wasn’t in the wrong, but as one professional to another this could have been approached in a different manner. Possibly ‘Hi, do you know you are supposed to be on duty now’ would be one way of approaching it, or my preferred method would be to call them aside and do it privately. At the time, I wasn’t angry, more shocked as were other colleagues around us.
Then today, I, along with all my colleagues received an email on behalf of the Headmaster (not even from him) that has quite honestly pissed me off. The email is a ‘name and shame’ of all colleagues who have not done their break time duty in the last 7 days reminding all of the teaching staff of our professional duties. I find this method of dealing with people disgusting and dehumanizing. I do understand that some of my colleague may not have done their duties, but professional courtesy at least dictates you should have this reminder in private. If you want to use email as a way of disciplining your staff, then at least do it directly to them, but don’t be surprised if it loses you respect from them. If you want your staff to act in a professional manner, then standards should be set from the top down. Imagine I witness a member of SLT not discharging their professional duty, which I’m sure we all have at times, does it require me to pick them up on it in a whole school email? I’d probably have to deal with a disciplinary issue if I did that.
I also think they forget quite how much we give to the school in goodwill. My colleague, who was berated for having a cup of tea and not doing his break time duty, is never thanked for morning gymnastics clubs he runs. Nor the mentoring he does with children on the SEN register after school. Nor the sporting trips he organises for students in his holidays. None of which are part of his duties but are repeatedly put into letters to parents and Governors extolling the wonderful extras the schools provide. Senior Management need to understand that good will and going the ‘extra mile’ will not last for ever, especially if they create an environment where they expect professionalism from colleagues but don’t demonstrate it themselves when dealing with them.
Usually when I feel this way, I’d write an email that pours out what I have to say. I then press the delete button. It doesn’t quite have the cathartic affect that I hope it would. Having started a blog to help me reflect on my practice and help me move out of the shallow end, I hope sharing and pressing the publish button will at least allow me to let go and ensure that the limited time I have out of school is no longer spent thinking of it negatively.