Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Bullying

The latest fashion in Teaching is to be 'bullied'.

How on Earth can an adult claim with a straight face that they are being bullied at work? Have they got no self respect at all? What use is someone going to be in front of thirty hoodlums if they can't even deal with their own colleagues.

It's just another element of our increasingly cry-baby culture. Whatever happened to the traditional advice of 'Stand up for yourself'

Why has it been replaced with ''Just give up and take six months off'

Now that we are all trained to be victims from an early age, what was once known as workplace banter is now called 'bullying'

When I first started teaching, my Head of Department was always asking me to do things for him. He once handed me his entire set of reports and asked me if I could just add up the marks and fill out a sheet with the correct grades for each pupil. Always eager to please, I enthusiastically agreed and then the next day when he enquired if I had finished them yet, I regretfully announced that I had taken them all home and could not find them.

For ten days I made up an ever more ridiculous series of implausible scenarios including leaving them in the wrong pigeonhole, the theft of my briefcase, mysterious guests picking them up by mistake etc. By the time I eventually 'found' them, not having done a single one; he was at his wits' end. Other teachers were pestering him for his reports, deadlines had passed and the Head was on his back. Never again did he ask me even the smallest favour.

This was an easy and obvious way of dealing with a minor problem. There were dozens of alternative methods that I could have employed, ranging from polite refusal up to simply telling him to go and fornicate with himself.

Nowadays I'd be off with 'bullying' and he'd be off with 'stress'

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

No, I think that these days you would be accused of professional misconduct and he would be reprimanded for attempting to offload his own work onto a junior colleague.

Great wit, Mr Chalk, but I hope you won't mind if I don't take your advice here in the real world?

Anonymous said...

Professional misconduct! Get real. In teaching he'd practically have to kill someone to get charged with that.

Anonymous said...

Thank God someone has stood up and said what so many of us 'average' teachers feel. Try saying it in the Staffroom though_you would get lynched (mind you, then you could claim 'bullying' too)

Pete said...

Quite right, I can remember telling my HOD where to go when he kept trying to shaft me with work that wasn't my reponsibility. Stupid really, I should have taken six months off instead...

Anonymous said...

I think this bullying thing is a real sign of our times. It's not just in teaching_ nursing and the Army are two fields that I know have the same problem. People feel that they have a right not to be told to do stuff they don't like_ whereas the attitude 30 years ago was just to put up with it.

I'm a Deputy Head now and we feel we're walking on eggshells with some staff. Problem is, the better ones end up having to do more.

Tim said...

Bullying in the workplace = Boss giving a kick up the backside to some incompetant buffoon.

Jerry T. said...

Spot on! Couldn't agree more. If we weren't so desperate we wouldn't have to take on these hopeless cases in the first place.

Anonymous said...

No - senior managers in schools bully juniors by using professional misconduct and capability proceedings against them when they fail to kowtow to impositions like this.

It's not about who is right and wrong. It's about who is friends with the guy who has the power.

Anonymous said...

We've got some useless lumps at our place who could do with 'capability proceedings' against them. It never happens though.

Anonymous said...

A voice of reason :o)

Sandy said...

Great blog, Mr Chalk. It bring back memories of working in state schools - most of them awful (the memories, I mean - oh, and the schools, too!).

sarah said...

just found your blog
very funny, though not quite hard enough on the kids!
keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

tim said "Bullying in the workplace = Boss giving a kick up the backside to some incompetant buffoon. "

Not always - it can be "make life so unpleasant for someone who is surplus to requirements so they feel the only way out is to leave." Its cheaper than redundancy and keeps everyone else on their toes.

I thought I was bullet proof, and doing a good job - considering the circumstances. But no - there was a hidden agenda - shrink the department, lessen option choices and make them all do business studies.

I, in my inexperienced earlier years, was unsymathetic to those who suffered from stress, breakdowns, panic attacks etc etc. Having been at the top of the slippery slope and looked down I'm more understanding of those who are well and truly sliding down.

I never took time off but looking back I was close to it.

Some here exhibit my earlier feelings - I just hope they are not bullied - it does exist - and not all victims are ignorant buffons, not all have victim written on their foreheads etc.

Anonymous said...

I have to say I disagree. I've seen some horrendous cases of workplace bullying where peoples expenses have been deliberately reduced in order to bankrupt employees, constant emotional blackmail, organising team meetings on dates close to employee's due date, etc.

And don't get me started on the sexual harrassment.

That's not to say that some, if not most, cases are unwarranted. But just because one person is a hypochondriac does not mean the legless man can walk.

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