Now from this title, you might be expecting an item about bullying of children? But no. This is about some of the stories I have picked up from a variety of schools recently.
There exists out there, a new breed of educator – all-powerful, controlling, ambitious and prepared to do whatever it takes to get to the top. This ambition can be so all-consuming that many people get trampled underfoot in the process. I see more and more examples of this each week as good teachers are crushed and beaten into submission and made to feel failures. I myself experienced this. I would open my emails in the morning and if there was one from one particular member of the senior leadership team, my guts would curl up in knots of worry, wondering what I had done now to displease her. Even when her gripe was misplaced, she managed to twist it so that it was still my fault.
Looking back now, I realise that I was bullied but was too scared at the time to do anything about it. In fact, what could I have done? The Governors were eating out of her hand, the Unions were virtually wiped out of school and the other staff also lived in fear of her attention. Thirty years of good teaching and feeling valued and appreciated were wiped out within two years of endless bullying.
While there are hoops to jump through, levels to achieve, snapshot judgements based on a 20 minute observation by a person who hasn’t been in a classroom for fifteen years, our teachers will fall by the wayside and the losers will be whole generations of children. They (and our teachers) deserve better.