I cautiously knock on my deputy head’s door an hour before the start of the school day: I have a concern about a child that has been playing on my mind overnight and I want to discuss it with him. However, he bluntly tells me that he is busy and it will be fine.
The brushing off is normal, and the chances are that later on he will send me an email to find out more about my concern. However, it is also likely that I will keep raising it with him directly as well as in staff meetings, but I will not be listened to until it is clear that there is an issue. At this point, I will – bizarrely – be told off for not making my voice heard. This inconsistency is what keeps me awake.
It makes me constantly doubt whether the concerns I have about children and the decisions I make in the classroom are correct. It makes me nervous that I might be too worried to raise an issue or follow up on a point, and as a result I might miss something. Yet it will never be the deputy who is reprimanded; it will be me or my colleagues.
I have spoken to the headteacher about this, although it is difficult to be tactful, and I am always made to feel that I am the one who needs to just get on with things and not panic.
I have faith in my abilities as a teacher but I am losing my confidence because I don’t feel supported. I stay in the job because I care for the children, believe in the school’s ethos and work with some truly inspirational professionals, but I need a line manager who will be consistent, who will talk to me as a human and who will value my professionalism.