What keeps me awake at night

I've become a pawn in my headteacher's game

The problems with my headteacher have been going on for about a year. She was airlifted into our school because we were "failing". She came with quite a pedigree.

But rather than building us up as a team to work with her in turning the school around, she alienated us almost immediately. She observed everyone in the first few weeks and said that we were all bad teachers.

There was no constructive criticism, no positive encouragement, simply a call for us to pull ourselves together or find somewhere else to work.

I am all for personal development and I am happy to take criticism, but this woman based her entire judgement of each of us on a single observation. Not only that, but she handled it in an aggressive, unproductive way.

I went to her a week later and asked if she could provide a list of areas for each teacher to improve on. She huffed and said she was far too busy trying to get our "appalling" school into shape and that we should be able to recognise our own weaknesses. I didn't know how to respond, so I left.

Since then, she has singled me out at every opportunity. She finds fault every time she comes into my class and tries to belittle me when I question her decisions. For example, she said we all had to use a particular method for reluctant readers. I asked why, and she took this as a cue to tell the whole-staff meeting that I should do as I was told as some of the worst readers were in my class.

Of course, several of the staff have already left and people will say I should, too. But why should I? I have given many years to this school and have put a lot of effort into trying to help children from awful home situations towards a better life.

And if I left, who would replace me? This is a failing school in a deprived area; it is not top of many teachers' wish lists for employment. I cannot abandon the kids and leave them to a life of cover teachers. I just don't know what to do.

The writer is a teacher in the South West of England

Tell us what keeps you awake at night

Email jon.severs@tesglobal.com

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