I know you're dead and all, and I'm sorry for that. But I never got the chance to say to you what I wanted to. Now that you are dead you are held up in school like some sort of mythic heroine, even though everyone knows how mean and nasty you were, they wont say it. Respect for the dead and all that.
To be honest, I feel cheated that you died. That I was never strong enough to stand up to you and spit back into your face all the nasty words you used on me. I came back to school this year, feeling so strong, and you weren't there to see the real me. You only knew the me you tried to mould me into. And you know what - it never worked. Because I am so much stronger than you. I am a better person than you. I don't need to make people around me feel small so that I feel big. I know how tall I am, and I'm not ever going to let anyone like you try to squash me again.
But you came so close. Boy, you came close. Did you even realise what you were doing?
You see - you are nothing. You are no better than anyone who has hurt me. You chose to use me for your own personal gain. You got pissed off at me beacuse I wouldn't bend to your needs, and that I wouldn't fit the mould you chose for me. I admire that it made you even more determined to destroy me. But look at what it did to you.
When I looked at you, I didn't see this noble, wonderful, self sacrificing, always perfect, head of faculty. All I saw was this pathetic old woman who was clinging at what she once knew trying to define herself by what should remain in the past. I saw someone who had to play the "woe is me" card to get sympathetic attention. And you were so pathetic you lapped it up. You engineered situations where people could worship you and simper up to you and you lapped it up like a puppy dog. All because you couldn't get satisfaction out of making the world a better place for its own merit. You were so egocentric that you needed acknowledgement of stupid little things you did. You acted like you made mountains, but really you didn't even manage to make molehills.
I understand that you may have done good things in your past - but because you needed the constant stimulation of having praise for your actions, those things in the past couldn't continue to the future. And that limited you. You could have been so much more than what you were. Because of that I feel sorry for you.
They say they're going to name the reading room in the library after you. So that forever in the future, students will remember you. And they will paint a picture of you with words about how noble you were. But I will never ever do that. I will always speak the truth about you. I will not mince words how you did. I will not skirt around the issue and try to blind people with clever prose. I know I am able to speak to the point and I will. I will never ever laud you.
THey say you contributed so much to reading in the school. I look around and wonder where? I know you were an advocate for the SSR period. I look at the antiquated reading books in the English Library and wonder what you did to enhance reading. Surely if you are such a saint as they say, I would be able to see the fruits of your labor, instead I see musty old books, beyond their time, and children fighting against 10 minutes of reading. Is that what you contributed?
Do you know what frustrates me the most? The fact that even though you are dead - it is as if you are still living, beacuse everyone holds a memory of you. I have scourged the workroom of you. And Heather has cast you out from your old classroom. But people mention you. And they try to stay civil - because we have this unspoken rule not to speak bad of the dead. I don't see what I say as being bad or anything except the truth about you.
Do you remember that whole incident with Robert D last year? How you, acting as an saviour angel wanted to swoop in and clear the mess that he was in? How I had to turn to you in desperation since you were one of three staff memebers I was allowed to talk to by virtue of your own edict? That day when you found out I had spoken the truth of you to someone you were still trying to suck up to. When you chose to act like the vile creature you are instead of the consumate professional you were to everyone else? I remember that moment when you spoke to me and hold it to me because that was when I recognised your weak spot and realised what it was about me that you didn't like. When you asked me, "So, I am good enough to deal with Robert, but not good enough to be your appraiser?" I realised that you felt you had lost face with SMT. What you didn't know was that it had been in action for three weeks prior to you finding out. Or maybe you did, and that was why you felt so unsteady. There are so many smart replies I have come up with since as an answer to that question. But I know that my carefully orchestrated "careless" shrug would have left you fuming. See. I too can plan to hurt people - but I know that I could never hurt as deeply as you.
I want to know too - what specifically is it about my resources, that is so substandard it isn't worth trying to teach from? You pointed this out to me in terms of my Media Studies resources... which have since been picked up by NAME to use. You, who admitted having no idea about media studies. I remember seeing you after you tried to humiliate my in front of my class. See - that backfired too. Because I am sound in my media knowledge. I know what I know and I know it well. I know it inside out. The media theories I ascribe to are my own which I hold to me, which help define me, which wash over me. I will always remember that shocked look on your face when you turned to me in the staffroom, gracing my corner with your presence I guess you felt, whe you realised where my strengths lay. That too was your mistake. Your tell. I knew then that I could out-do you with technology. And that became my aim.
See, for every time that you tried to put me down and make me less, it only made me more determined to fight against you. Did you know that I wrote every single one of our interactoins up? That I recorded it. That I have over 12 pages on the computer of material that would cause you to loose your job? Maybe, maybe not. I guess it was that lack of knowledge about me that kept you feeling so put out by me.
Do you remember that whole kerfuffle you orchestrated over the Big Science Competition. I knew what it was when I saw that paper. I just wanted confirmation from you - which you woulnd't give me. So pathetic to hold back as if it mattered. How much did it sting you that I had managed to piece together a team that won? You who tried so hard to keep it away from me. Not even knowing what it was or my part in it. I went to class calm, knowing how much I was involved in it, and what was likely to happen. I've never been a big one for ceremony and knew if it was anything important it would be announced at lunch, or the next staff briefing. See - I have self control, where you seek to control others. How pissed were you when Brian pulled me out of my class to come and accept the prize? I remember the look on the science department faces, but you hid your face. Did you feel shame?
I could go over all the incidents again. But I wont. I move on from what happens, and grow from it, where you hoard it around you and try to use it as amunition later on.
With me though - the whole thing is, it backfired on you. In your efforts to keep me from registration - you failed yourself. Now everyone knows how incompetent you really were in your job. And I'm going to get registered anyways. Even if it takes a little bit longer than I want, I have the patience to live each day knowing where I am going. Maybe you could see where you were going too, and realised it was downwards, and in your efforts to keep afloat, tried to drag everyone down with you.
Do you watch from wherever you are with envy at how well I am doing now, without you. Without your edict of whom I am allowed to talk to, I am thriving. My resources for english - which you told me would never be good enough - are being used throughout the department. Everyone thinks that they are fantastic - these are the exact same pieces of paper you told me woulnd't be understood by the students. You see - I am pushing literacy as much as I can, pushing these students to reach their potential, rather than telling them what their potential is and keeping them held back at what you decided.
I'm loving the world without you in it. It is a better place.
I hope that once upon a time in your life, you were a better person. But I know how stress and illness show our true colors, and unfortunatly yours were black.
You will be remembered Judy. But I will make sure that they remember you for what you were, not what you hoped everyone would see you as.
Yours faithfully (since I don't count you as a friend)
PS: Published for the world to see - how you tried to drown me in my first year of teaching:
I am having concerns with the support received from my department. As a beginning teacher I believe that it is my right to be able to receive relevant and sound advice and help from other teachers, particularly my HOD and HOF. This year I have not received what I would determine as timely advice from my HOD/HOF. I have found the HOD/HOF very difficult to work with. When I ask for help I am dealt with as if I am a problem or issue that needs sorting rather than as a colleague asking for further development as a beginning teacher.
Below are some of the incidents that have concerned me this year:
• Invited to PRT meetings within the English Department.
Every English PRT meeting clashed with induction meetings scheduled for PRT PD within the school. I was encouraged to join the English meetings as it would be good PD. Despite the clash, I attended three meetings.
For the meetings that I attended, Judy De Boni; Ann Milford and Carolyn Wards were present. Attendees were asked “Are you having any problems? Do you know where you are going with the English programme? Do you have any other concerns?” I felt that these questions did not pre-empt any problems I may have had occurring, particularly in terms of implementing the department scheme and curriculum. I brought up the issue of classroom control with my junior English classes (10B2 and 9M2) as I was having problems settling in as a teacher and encouraging the students to settle into a learning environment. I was told that I had to be “quite strict” with them. Some strategies were presented, though I had already tried them, I was told to “give them another go”
• Issues with 10B2 attitude/behaviour
I had been having issues with the attitude and behaviour of 10B2. I had run out of the limited discipline strategies that I had as a beginning teacher. In the staffroom while others were “complaining” about their classes and receiving assistance from senior members of the department, I raised my issues, but was told that the first year teaching was a hard year and that I should concentrate on teaching. Feeling that I had been brushed off I did not pursue the matter.
One week later, students in 10B2 that I had kept behind to query their disruptive behaviour and attitude “ganged up” on me and surrounded my work desk at the front of the room and verbally and physically intimidated me. Unable to cope, I sent the students away – undisciplined. Ann-Marie Bremner was the next teacher in my class and came in and comforted me until Specialist Classroom Teacher could come and discuss the matter with me.
I went with the Specialist Classroom Teacher to their office and worked through the matter with them. We came up with some other strategies that I could use in the classroom. That same day Specialist Classroom Teacher also showed me a letter from Y13 Media Studies students complaining about my teaching style (see below)
In the staffroom, during lunch, while everyone was discussing classroom incidents I presented my issue with 10B2, hoping for further strategies to try out on them. I was interrupted part way through my story and received no help.
At a later date (Term 2) was told by my senior members of department that they had no idea that there were any troubles in 10B2.
• Students in Y13 Media Studies complained about my teaching style.
Rather than approach me about it, one student spoke to HOF. HOF requested that she correct the letter that the student had written before sending it in. Student did not do this and sent the letter to HOF and SMT. SMT passed it onto Specialist Classroom Teacher.
I worked through the letter with Specialist Classroom Teacher and came up with some strategies to address the issues raised in the letter. Strategies started to be worked into classroom practice.
One week later, on the final Friday of term, HOF approached me and asked for a meeting later that day where the students’ letter was presented to me. I asked what the meeting was about (when informed about it) but I was not told the purpose of the meeting.
Letter was presented to me in such a way that I questioned my alterations to teaching style as discussed with Specialist Classroom Teacher. I had the impression that the letter had arrived after I had changed strategies. HOF informed me that it was “teething problems” and that they would work with me to monitor the problem and work on other ways of implementing the Media Studies programme to engage student learning.
• Assistance with making the Media Studies scheme
Received something in my pigeon hole regarding schemes for department. I asked HOF about it and was told that they had no idea what it could mean and to ask relevant SMT member. Was said in such a way that I felt I was making a nuisance of myself for even asking.
Spoke to SMT (Linda Fraser) about it. Turns out I needed to have a Media Studies scheme. Apparently there had been one the previous years, but there were no copies left and that I should be able to get it back from HOF.
Asked HOF for Media Studies scheme and was told that it was covered in the English Scheme. Went back to Linda Fraser and presented that to her. She informed me that I needed to write a scheme for Media Studies.
I was a little concerned about the responsibilities for this as I am a first year teacher, but with Linda Fraser’s reassurance felt confident enough to attempt it. Linda Fraser also contacted National Media Coordinator and arranged a PD session at Pukekohe High School to assist me in writing the scheme. This took place on Monday, Week 1, Term 2.
Since then I have not been able to work on the scheme and received no further assistance.
• Students in Y13 Media Studies complained about lack of notes given in class.
HOF arranged meeting before school on Tuesday for 5th Period that day. I asked what the meeting was about and was told not to worry about it. I asked again what the meeting was about. HOF sighed then said that “Yet another student has made a complaint about you” and left the photocopy room.
I was unprepared for the contents of the meeting, not knowing what the complaint was. I attempted to explain the nature of Media Studies to HOF who said that they “had no idea what Media Studies was about” when I attempted to explain further, in order to defend not only my teaching and notes but also my subject I was told that HOF knowing about more specific subject knowledge than what was on the Achievement Standard “was irrelevant”.
I divulged that I had been working with Specialist Classroom Teacher to make better notes etc and was told that I had to make sure I was using them in my teaching. I found this frustrating because of the innuendo behind the words and the way in which they were delivered. I felt that it undermined my teaching. I felt that I was not teaching “correctly” and that I had done something wrong. However I had no idea what I was doing wrong and received no assistance to “fix” whatever it was.
HOF came into my classroom later in the week and took a copy of my notes which she proclaimed to be “excellent”. No other assistance was given to improve these notes for the students, who were obviously having problems with them.
• Clarification about what staff member will assist me with beginning teaching responsibilities.
HOF informed me that there were “too many cooks in the pot” regarding who was working with me to address issues of teaching and specific curriculum.
I was issued with a letter that informed me who to go to for what specific problem I was experiencing.
o For any teaching strategies, classroom discipline/management problems etc. To go to Specialist Classroom Teacher.
o For any Junior English issues to go to HOD Junior English
o For any Media Studies issues to go to HOF
Since then I have adhered to this mandate. I ask the Specialist Classroom Teacher for assistance with my teaching and relevant HOD/HOF for clarification with any questions I have regarding the curriculum.
My understanding of this letter was that the English/Languages department had withdrawn support for my classes and teaching development and that it was all to be addressed by Specialist Classroom Teacher. The department was only to be contacted should I have problems with class content. I have since received no assistance initiated from the department to support me with Media Studies.
• 10B2 “clay incident”
Having been struggling with the behaviour in 10B2 all year, things came to a head on (Friday one week before leaving for Fiordland). A student brought some clay into the classroom from the art class they had previously and encouraged the other students to throw the clay at each other and at me. My attempts to control the class were to no avail and I walked out on the class, in tears.
After school I attended a meeting with Judi De Boni (as HOD/HOF), Carolyn Wards (as HOD Junior English) and Ann Milford (as my appraiser) to determine what happened.
I was informed that the class would be taken off me for a time and that the issue would be sorted out. I asked if I needed to prepare detailed lesson plans as we had just started a new topic. I was told that I did not have to have anything to do with that class any more (until the issue was sorted). Carolyn Wards completed lesson plans for the class and relief teachers taught the class.
I assumed that this would take a week or two at the most. However it was not until the second week of term three that issue was sorted to a point that I could take the class back again. Nothing more of this issue was said to me until the first week of term three. This was one teaching month after the incident occurred.
Again, I was reminded that the media studies students had been complaining about my teaching style. I thought that this was irrelevant in terms of what the meeting was meant to be about. I was also reminded about how hard the first year of teaching is and that I should approach the department when I am having troubles with anything. Having received limited assistance from the department previously I was somewhat put off by this statement.
• NCEA moderation materials being sent to Wellington
The same day as the clay incident was when NCEA moderation for Wellington was due. I had been informed of this previously and had collected samples of student work and handouts I had given to students. HOF informed me before I sent it off that I had done it incorrectly and that there was no more time to correct it because of the due date.
I had expected more assistance in creating the moderation for Wellington, rather than having the HOF appear on the last day to assist me in putting, things I needed which I had managed to figure out by myself, into an envelope. I was also somewhat annoyed that I had done it incorrectly because every opportunity prior to the due date was available to assist me in collating the moderation.
Since I handed it in, I have discovered that moderation had been kept from the previous year to use for moderation purposes for the two original standards that were to be moderated (practical work). However, at the beginning of the year, when the HOF informed me about moderation, the standards were changed to reflect what I personally had taught by the due date that year.
I was under the impression that I had to send in work that I had created myself to check that it was meeting the standards of NCEA. This apparently is not the reason for moderation, though I was led to believe it was.
• Assistance with practical assignments.
At the start of the year I had planned for Year 13 Media Studies to be completing a practical assignment during Term 2. However, due to lack of resources I was unable to teach Radio or Television as a practical assignment. I had approached my HOF with issues regarding this and had expressed concern about repeating the print exercise as Year 13 students had done the same assignment the previous year and I wanted them to learn new skills.
With help from the National Media Coordinator, I decided to use Websites as a practical assignment. There were unit standards that I could teach and I approached Christene Grusning about them at the end of Week 1, Term 2. I was informed that I would receive the teaching and student assignment so that I could use them. But I had to wait for the computer department to finish with assessing them first and that the practical therefore would have to take place in Term 4. Term 4 is only three weeks long and not long enough to complete a practical assignment. Thinking laterally I realised that I could change the unit standard materials (for computing) to meet the achievement standards (for media studies) I informed Christene of this. She agreed to send me the relevant materials after I had emailed her the unit standard numbers.
I emailed the unit standard numbers and heard nothing. I followed up the email, but still received no work. I was getting concerned because Term 2 was nearly finished and I needed to write the AS over the holidays. I approached my HOF as this had become a Media Studies curriculum issue. I had nothing to teach in the upcoming term. She agreed to also speak to Christene.
I received the incorrect material on the first day of term three. Too late to modify it for my assessment purposes. Also having received the wrong part of the standard I was after was pointless.
I resigned myself to having to teach Newspaper to the Year 13 students.
• “Told you so” attitude regarding the NCEA moderation feedback.
Upon receiving the NCEA moderation feedback I was not surprised to discover that I had completed some things incorrectly. Wanting to get further clarification on how I can improve it for next year, I approached HOF for a meeting. I also wanted to raise issues of students not attending class. I asked HOF if I could have a meeting last period on Tuesday regarding Media Studies marks and students.
HOF seemed surprised that I wanted to discuss NCEA moderation. I was told that “I would have come prepared for this if I had known this is what you wanted to talk about”. I had all the documentation that I had received, but HOF went and brought back their own copy from their room.
I was then told exactly what I had done incorrectly and should have addressed prior to passing it in for moderation. I felt that this was unfair as there had been opportunities for HOF to assist me with this during the previous two terms. As a beginning teacher I was unaware of the assessment requirements etc. When told to look it up in the English scheme, there is no provision for Media Studies in the English scheme save for an out of date matrix.
• Capital Expenditure
I received the sheet asking for prioritised items for the capital expenditure budget for 2007. HOF was standing beside me as I picked it up and I asked HOF what I am meant to do with it. I had never heard of capital expenditure previously. HOF said “You just fill it in”.
The next evening I attended a moderation meeting in Auckland and the topic of Capital Expenditure came up. My Media Studies colleagues gave me ideas about what kinds of things I could put in it, but said that filling it out depended on the school. I was told (by teachers outside this school) that I would definitely need quotes and as much information as I could gather about the products I required. Having only three days left remaining to fill it in; I placed it higher in my priorities.
I still had not figured it all out by the Friday so I applied for an extension on the due date. Over the weekend I rang my colleague at another high school to ask what I was meant to do. I also went to Botany Downs Town Centre to obtain quotes for camera equipment from the greater range of electrical shops situated there.
• Careers night
At the start of the term, Morag Carter informed me that careers evening was coming up and we discussed running a presentation together; however this was not possible in the end.
I heard nothing about careers night from the English department, the only information I received was the same as what the students received. However, I did notice that English and Media Studies were in the same room. I assumed that I was required to be there and re-arranged my week to ensure that I was present.
On the Thursday that careers day was to be held, I still had received no information from the English department and decided to ask HOF whether or not I should be there. I was sighed at then told that they were not expecting me. I informed HOF that I had arranged to be there and was told that “Whatever you want to do is fine. I was just going to deal with any Media issues as they arise”. Knowing from our previous conversations that HOF self admitted knowing nothing about Media Studies, I then felt it imperative that I be there that evening. Despite a strong feeling that I should not be there coming from HOF.
That evening my three colleagues ignored me and did not attempt to include me in any conversation. Any conversation I initiated was brushed off. I had a definite cold feeling coming from the department heads. Anyone who had questions about Media Studies was disdainfully directed towards me.
I worked that evening talking to prospective students and parents about what Media Studies is. Hopefully lots of students will opt for Media Studies next year.
• Tuesday 29 August, 2006
Specialist Classroom Teacher came to me on Monday to inform me that HOF wanted a meeting with her present on the 29th, Period 5. I had no information given to me regarding what the meeting was to be about. I asked what the meeting was about, but Specialist Classroom Teacher did not know either.
I arrived at the meeting and was invited to share how I was going with my subjects. HOF then informed me that there had been more complaints to HOF about me regarding my teaching and general demeanour. Parents had also contacted the Principal regarding my lack of teaching knowledge. HOF spoke about how I am hostile towards students and do not acknowledge their questions. Attempts to defend myself were countered with “I only know what the students have told me”. This fits in with my belief that HOF does not know enough about me and my teaching to make an informed decision about me and give an educated report. I was unable to defend myself as HOF had the floor. Any attempts were met with a “wait” gesture.
The upshot of this is that Principal had made the decision that I was not to be TIC for Media Studies in 2007. Having been informed of that – which affected me greatly as I am extremely passionate about my job and worked at my best at it despite receiving no assistance from faculty. I hate to think that the Principal’s impression of me is based solely on what HOF has told him (HOF having never attended my classes or interacted with me in any meaningful way) and what parents of students have said to him. To this date (6/9/06) I have not spoken to the principal regarding my teaching.
I was then informed that Ann Milford my appraiser was having problems relating and interacting with me ergo she was no longer my appraiser. HOF would now be my appraiser. I am not happy with this choice of appraiser because of past communication issues with them. If my original appraiser can pick and choose whom they appraise, I should be able to refuse someone to appraise me. I believe that receiving an appraisal from my HOF will be a negative experience and be biased.
So having informed me of so much negative news, I was asked by my new appraiser if I would like to set some goals for the year right then and there. I refused to do this because I was not in the right frame of mind to do this at that point. I asked that my new appraiser take the goals I had set at the start of the year (with the old appraiser) for now. I had every intention of working with the appraiser to set SMART goals at a later time, once I was in a better state of mind.
I was then asked if I had any other issues to discuss. I had many but did not want to raise them at that point.
HOF then left. I was quite upset and spent some time with Trudi.
• Thursday, 31 August, 2006
During interval I went into the woman’s bathroom. While I was washing my hands, my appraiser approached me and informed me that she had left a note in my pigeon box regarding appraisal because I had not been at school the previous day. I replied that I had received the note.
My appraiser then continued to discuss my appraisal with me – in the bathroom. I was informed that my appraiser would be attending two classes the next day (Friday) to observe and complete the appraisal. I was concerned because I was under the impression that there would be “informal” observations before so that I would be at ease when the official observation occurred.
I was informed that the two classes that would be observed were Year 13 Media Studies and 9M2 English. I informed the appraiser that Year 13 Media Studies would be completing individual work on the computers while I assisted students at the front of the room. I also reminded the appraiser that on Friday, 9M2 is last period and that this might not be a good class to attend due to discipline issues with the class. My appraiser told me that they could arrange to come to 10B2 English (Period 3) but it would be a bit of a hassle. Not wanting to create any waves, I agreed to have the appraisal the next day, during the classes that were specified.
This approach to the appraisal surprised me because we had not yet completed our meeting to discuss goal setting; it was to be a formal observation; and I had no choice about what class the appraiser came to. Other teachers I had spoken to had been able to recommend a class that suited both the appraiser and the appraisee.
I was also surprised that a formal issue such as an appraisal was discussed in the woman’s bathroom. I felt that this was quite unprofessional.
• Friday 1 September, 2006
Appraiser came to the classes. Spent approx. 20 minutes in year 13 Media Studies, walking around and talking to students. During that time I was working with students and did not get the opportunity to walk around the room myself. When I did walk around the room, appraiser had left.
9M2 on a Friday last period is always a difficult class. This Friday it was made more difficult because a group of students came late, covered in cake and accompanied by another teacher. I spent a few minutes sorting it out while the class continued SSR. The class seemed more disrupted than usual and about half the class was engaged in learning while the other half would not work.
• Monday 4 September, 2006
Given back appraisal sheet. Informal chat about confusing Magazines (year 12) and Newspaper (year 13) assignments. HOF brought up AS issues with Christene. Was told I should have decided on print much sooner. However had received no assistance with this decision.
• Thursday 7 September, 2006
Meeting to discuss appraisal sheet. Meeting went alright. HOD/HOF was quite amiable and very professional. Only discussed what was on the appraisal sheets. Was again informed that students’ parents had complained to Ian McKinnon and that I was to raise resiliency and confidence in student work.
• Friday 8 September, 2006
Met with Brian McDonald to discuss issues (above) about support within the school system. To meet on Monday to discuss possible solutions
• Wednesday 13 September, 2006
Met with Brian McDonald to sort out what to do about lack of support. No answers really. McDonald will come to my classes in the next term to look at student behaviour.
• Thursday 14 September, 2006
Entered staff room in morning. HOF informed me that I was to fill in student testimonials. I sat down to do them. I asked a question regarding how to fill it in. I was informed that the side of the page I was looking at was “irrelevant” and that all I had to do was fill in the parts meant for me. I felt that I was addressed in a very cold manner.
I also asked HOF while there what to do about student resits for exams. Was told to take a list to Peter Mathias. No other information given.
• Friday 15 September, 2006
Decided to include with my list of students who needed resit exam papers so came in early. The whiteboard in staffroom now also said this. I was not aware that HOF already had copies of Year 12 exams and names, so spent time working on those as well as Year 13. HOF came in while I was copying exams and informed me that I needed to get the “Year 12 and 13 names and exams to her before the staff brief.” Having been told previously that I needed to take it to Peter Mathias, this was a contradiction.
I firmly believe that in this school students hold the ultimate power. There is no discipline system that is followed through. As I deal with students who do not want to learn I find that there is no recourse for misbehaviour. I have had students swear and walk out of my classroom and felt absolutely powerless to do anything about it.
The issues that the students have gone to HOF about are presented to me and I get no chance to present my side of the story. I am accused of doing things, such as not listening or attempting to answer student questions, without my side being presented. This is a biased way to work and it is working against me as I do not feel supported by my department. I feel that my department is on the “side” of the students and will take the students perspective over and above mine.
Student behaviour and attitude towards me does not come into it. As a teacher I am expected to take obtuse attitudes and let them ride without any recourse for action on the negative behaviour. If I go to my faculty it has been proven in the past that the faculty will take the side of the student without wanting to hear my version of the events. This has happened on at least three occasions with the senior Media Studies classes. The only reason that I was listened to with the Year 10 English class was because I reached breaking point in my classroom. I should never have been allowed to reach that point. My department should have been aware of the problems and supported me and assisted me in addressing them.
Friday 20 October
• Spoke to Morag who told me about spending the rest of my budget, so I sorted it with Peter who told me how much I had left to spend.
Sunday 22 October
• Went shopping in town for books with Gavin
Tuesday 23 October
• Gavin asked at morning brief if I had told Judy about our weekend excursion. I said “no” and he said he would tell her about it since he was needing to speak to her anyways. Judy was sitting beside me as Gavin spoke to her. She informed him that there was no Media Studies budget left ergo we could not buy the books. She did not turn to tell me about this, even though she was sitting beside me and had climbed over me a couple of times during the morning. Gavin told me what she had said after morning brief. I was annoyed that she hadn’t taken the opportunity right then to correct my wrongs.
I went to the staffroom at lunch and at interval just in case she wanted to bring this up with me. I was ignored during those two periods.
After school I went to see Judy. If I was buying the books as I was aware of, having received no communication from her about it, I needed to get them that night. I initiated the conversation stating that Gavin had told her about the book buying. She countered with “There is no media budget, you’ve overspent it”. I told her about what Peter had said and she showed me a print out she had received last week with Media Studies and the gross amount being shown as: (40.25) She informed me therefore that I was 40% OVER my allocated budget. This surprised me because it contradicted what Peter said. When I mentioned this, she said that perhaps I should go speak to Peter then.
So I did. Peter told me that I was correct, I had money to spend.
When I went back to Judy, with a print out of it all, she was uninterested and told me that “you can believe whatever you want”.
I went and got the books.