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Panic of a bullied teacher

The tale of emotional distress induced by bullying in "Give the bullies a battle" (TES, Friday magazine, April 16) struck a chord with me. I could feel the pain, the insecurity, the fear that it was your fault for being inadequate.

In 1997 when I was a newly-qualified teacher I could not stand firm and assert my competence. I was being bullied by my immediate line manager and the head. I had a very small child who did not sleep.

My immediate boss put me down systematically. She continually criticised and denigrated me and ignored any positive contributions I made.

I was inexperienced and vulnerable. I could not give her a battle because she was too successful in browbeating me, and because the head supported her.

Happily, I now work in a sixth-form college and my immediate bosses have been wonderfully supportive women, who know how to appreciate (and channel!) my independence, analytical mind and subject knowledge. They have recognised that I care deeply about education.

So far my students have gained very good grades. I feel that I am doing a good job. In some aspects very good. But the panic returns.

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