Advice required - bad experience in first year teaching!

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Advice required - bad experience in first year teaching!

Unread post by MickyMack » 10 Jun 2010, 09:51

Hi there.

I would like some advice on what to do about the following situation:

This year has been my first year as a TEFL teacher in Cadiz Spain. It has been both an enjoyable but also stressful 10 months!

Enjoyable because all of my students have been a joy to teach (and all 16 who sat their Trinity exams passed with flying colours!)
Stressful because of one reason. My Centre manager!

She is a fiery Irish woman who has only been a teacher for 4 years, but has somehow been elevated to the role of centre Manager (not DOS as i teach in a satellite academy of the main centre)

She has made my life absolute hell from the first day.

She rules the school with a rod of iron, everybody including the students are afraid of her. She shouts and screams not only at other teachers but at students too!

Her idea of observations are to enter my classes without warning - sit at the front of the class with arms folded, tutting and shaking her head at any mistakes i make. Her idea of feedback is to tell me that I am a terrible teacher and "that was the worst lesson i have ever seen"

She reprimands me in front of students, in class with comments like "this boy is going to fail his exams and its going to be your fault" and "see me in my office during your break!"

It got to the point after Christmas where i would feel physically sick if she came into my class, and my whole lesson would go pear shaped!

I have had one official observation which was in December (which surprise surprise she slated me and gave me a fail!)

After one "heated discussion" with her about her style of management in March after she had yet again stormed into one of my classes without warning i threatened to report her to the DOS and she promptly gave me an official warning for "refusing to take feedback"

I have spoken to a previous employee of the school who went through exactly the same process with her 12 months ago, he was also the only male teacher at the school (as am I) so maybe it is sex discrimination?

I refrained from reporting her and she apologised to me and said she had not realised the effect her "observations" were having on me. I accepted the apology but stated that I would not accept her coming into my classes without warning, and wanted a full observation, with feedback to be organised. This was planned (and i spent 3 hours planning and checking my lesson) only for her not to turn up!!!

Despite all this i was considering returning to the school next year (mad i know but i love Cadiz and their are not many decent schools with positions) and she had actually asked me 6 weeks ago if i would be coming back.

I was given my end of term assessment yesterday and was told i would not be invited back next year and was then given a written reference with a D for lesson execution and C- for organization and paperwork!!

This despite having only one official observation 2 months after starting as a teacher for the first time, and after having some glowing peer observations from some experienced teachers!.

To say I am angry is an understatement! Any advice or comments would be welcome, as i feel that the reference she has given me will damage my chances of obtaining work elsewhere!


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Re: Advice required - bad experience in first year teaching!

Unread post by systematic » 14 Jun 2010, 04:23

Bosses who are bastards (excuse my French). A fairly common problem to be encountered in many walks of life I'm afraid, and there's not really much you can do about it. It looks as if you will be losing the job there anyway so you can do anything reasonable within the law you get your revenge, including giving her a firm but controlled dressing down in front of her colleagues, students, and bosses.
Your major credentials for getting work are your degree and TESOL certificate. However, failing decent pre-written references from any previous employers, you could try to get some written citations from satisfied students or their parents.
Your new employer might pass on taking up references, but if you think they will contact your old school, and/or if they ask you directly at the interview why you are looking for a new job, simply tell them, just like you did here. If they don't believe you, and don't hire you, then you have probably saved yourself from yet another nightmare experience.

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Re: Advice required - bad experience in first year teaching!

Unread post by Alion » 15 Jun 2010, 12:04


No question you got screwed over,and from what you say she had it in for you from the start. You were set up. There's nothing much you can do about going back to the school but if I were you I would report her to anyone in the system who holds her accountable, DOS or whoever.

Write a formal letter-better yet,more than one- detailing not only your personal experience but also her general style of management-if she is terrorizing the entire school then she shouldn't be in her position. She sounds like she's unscrupulous, domineering and verbally abusive-certainly drunk with her misguided sense of power. Another thing you should do is put the school on the ESL Blacklist-you don't have to make your own identity public to do that. Other teachers should be warned so that they can have the opportunity of being spared the nightmare you had to undergo. Also, if word spreads enough maybe her actions will catch up with her sooner rather than later.

Good luck-I'm sure you'll find a better position elsewhere.

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Re: Advice required - bad experience in first year teaching!

Unread post by RobJames » 20 Jun 2010, 13:04

Sorry to hear that. References aren't everything, I am sure you can get good recommendations from other former employers/teachers etc. You may also get references from other people in the school. Anyway, sounds like this person has some kind of psychological issue (s).

In future interviews just state that you left the job for "more challenge" or to "focus on different aged students" etc. Don't sound bitter, make the reasons sound positive for your change. You can also mention how you are much more experienced after this year.

Don't let it get you down. Good luck.

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Joined: 23 Jun 2010, 23:48
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Re: Advice required - bad experience in first year teaching!

Unread post by MadMax » 24 Jun 2010, 00:23

You are by no means alone with your experience of having an Irish female Manager who behaves like a tyrant. Unfortunately it is quite common that Irish women behave like this as soon as the are promoted to Managerial positions and not only in Schools. A letter was written in a national Newspaper in Ireland recently by a person who worked in Hotel recruitment in London. Her comment was that the only way Irish female Hotel Managers know how to manage is to 'bully' and that they are particularly disliked where ever they work.

A friend of mine works as a Primary school Teacher in Ireland and she has had an Irish female Principal for the past 4 years. She has made their working lives hell and most of the experienced teachers in the school have already left or are planning to leave the School asap. Apparently the number of complaints about bullying by female Principals has become a huge problem within the education system in Ireland.

So my advice is to put the experience behind you and hopefully your next job will be in happier circumstances.

Good Luck.

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