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May 16, 2004
Leaving the School from Hell

Another email from my friend the Kent schoolteacher:

In my previous posting on Brian's blog I was planning to leave the School from Hell I was teaching at and start somewhere new in September. I left much sooner.

I arrived one morning at my department to find a boy out of lessons, when challenged I was met with the usual torrent of abuse. The Head of Department (HoD) came out (somewhat surprisingly) to see what the commotion was about and told me he was a known troublemaker and that I should go to my room and lock the door. "Lock the door?" I asked. "Yes" was the reply, "to be on the safe side."

I hid in my locked room and waited. The boy began banging on my door and issuing a variety of threats. I tried to ignore him, so he went outside and began banging on my window. At this point I summoned help on the phone that fortunately (only) I had in an adjacent store room. Someone actually
came and took him away. Good. The next proper lesson I had resulted in another assault on me (being pushed around etc.) I phoned for help again and had someone taken away. Double good. So far, so good. Just another 'normal' day at this school.

The next day I find a note in my pigeon-hole from a member of the Senior Management Team (SMT). My facility to have pupils removed for misbehaviour was being withdrawn as I was using it too much. My HoD knew nothing of the decision, nor did the support staff who actually did the removing. The
Head had already said that pupils could not be sent out of rooms (as they merely went and disrupted other lessons) so I just had to cope with them without any support.

That was it. I was furious. I asked the support staff what they thought of it and they couldn't understand it. Other teachers thought it ridiculous. I went to see one of my colleagues who'd had similar problems. I found him at the back of his room, head in hands shaking. He'd just had another day of teaching at this school. "That's going to be me anytime soon" I thought to myself.

I made up my mind. Next morning I phoned in sick. And the next. I went to see my GP who, after explaining the situation wrote me a three week sick note for 'stress'. I wrote a letter to my Head explaining that I would not be returning.

I now had to find a supply job for the Summer Term ...

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 10:06 AM
Category: The reality of teachingViolence
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