Thursday, 14 December 2006

Prepare for a long one...

...because I am certain it will be long.

I know its been forever since I blogged - my sister asked me why the other day and I said it was because all my news was depressing. I finally feel like I'm in a position to share everything thats been going on, but I don't know where to start...

OK, so its been pretty clear from early on that I wasn't enjoying my job. About a month ago, I had that week off sick and begrudgingly went back in. My third day back, I got verbally attacked by another teacher in front of a class. I'm not going to go into the details of why and what she said, but lets just be clear that I had done nothing to deserve it. I almost walked out then and there - seriously considered walking past the office, telling them they'd never see me again, getting my stuff and leaving. The only thing that stopped me was that my students supported me and said I was in the right.

As part of reporting it to my head of department, I let him know how seriously I was considering leaving. He asked me to put the incident in writing and to let him know if there was anything more he could do to make my job better.

After writing out what had happened, I included this (copied direct from the email I sent him):

I’m still thinking on sorting out my own thoughts, but I know that part of the reason I am unhappy here is that I purposefully applied for jobs at Christian/Church of England schools, knowing that schools in London can be tough and assuming that I could at least expect some basic love, honour and respect approaches from staff and students at a Christian school. I’m not feeling as though I work at a Christian school. People (staff and students) seem to think its OK to treat each other like garbage. When I try and do bible-centred discussions with my form group, its an uphill struggle. I have actually had a student (not from my form) say that she didn’t understand why some teachers tried to talk about Christian stuff when most of the students aren’t Christians. The last school I worked at, although a state-funded, non-faith high school, felt more like a Christian school than this one does, because a lot of the teachers were Christians and the environment was mostly a loving one where there was mutual respect and the students were always the number one priority for every teacher at the school.

I know for a fact this email got forwarded to the deputy in charge of our department and then the head teacher (principal). I had one discussion with the deputy who said we would talk again later - we haven't. Nothing has happened to the teacher who yelled at me. The working environment has not got any better. Why then were they surprised when I handed in my resignation last week? Mainly because it sent them into a spin about how they were going to replace me, I suspect. Especially since I said I wasn't going back after Christmas. They tried to tell me that I couldn't do this - that I would be breaking my contract. I argued that, besides the fact that I have never seen/signed a contract (they tried to say I had a verbal one, which is legally binding in this country, but since I they haven't upheld the conditions they placed on themselves.... anyway), they shouldn't want a teacher in the school who isn't passionate about working there (although, just between you and me, there are plenty of those at this school). I guess I convinced them that they weren't going to break me with their "legal talk" or something, because its all official now, even though, apparently, any reference they write me will "have to include mention of the fact I broke my contract" - pppphhhhhhhhhh whatever - I just need to get out of there. I am currently writing out a full breakdown of my reasons for leaving - I'll let you know when its done if you want to read it.

On a happier note, I have already applied for another job. Its not a teaching job and its not even a design job, but its something I think I'd be really good at. I don't want to say too much about it publicly yet, but I have an interview next Thursday. So 5 days left of my job, an interview the following day and then, next Friday, we get to go home for Christmas :) Hopefully happy Kate will reemerge with better, more regular news soon.

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