Difficult situation at work

Cleopatre VII

Jedi Master
I am asking for advice on a situation that I will describe below.

The principal of the school where I work had been making attempts to pick me up for some time.

About 2 weeks ago there was a situation where he was punched in the face by me in front of students for trying to touch me. He was not unkind to me for this. He seemed to understand my reasons.

I have worked as a teacher at a high school for three years. Today I have been informed by the principal that he cannot afford to employ so many teachers and therefore he proposes that I either take up a full-time position at the school or resign. On the other hand, he cannot fire me because I have signed an indefinite contract.

However, if I insist on staying I could get into conflict with the management, which destroys the atmosphere at work.

I also have another job (at university) so I am not materially dependent on my job at the high school. However, I treat it ideologically, as a form of mission. During these three years of work I have also become close to my students. I care about them very much, I know they like me, and I would like to see them graduate.

Taking on a full-time position is not feasible for me because I have another job, as well as studies and many academic and artistic plans.

On the other hand, I really don't want to leave my students. I feel responsible for their future. I have been thinking about organizing extra classes especially for them free of charge.

What would you advise me to do in this situation?
 

Saki

The Force is Strong With This One
Hello Cleopatra. I understand the difficulty of your situation. If you have an indefinite contract and they are obliged to you, could you tell them if they want you to leave, they must "buy out" the contract. Is it possible that you could negotiate a settlement, perhaps for several years of salary?
It sounds like you have a good relationship with your students and you likely had a good influence on them and their development. They'll probably be okay and may even go to university where you are.
 

Natus Videre

Jedi Master
The principal of the school where I work had been making attempts to pick me up for some time.

About 2 weeks ago there was a situation where he was punched in the face by me in front of students for trying to touch me. He was not unkind to me for this. He seemed to understand my reasons.
What a horrible situation. :-(
Do other teachers know this happened to you? Apart from your students, do you have any allies at this high school that could stand up for you? Are you alone fighting a shark or a group of sharks? Is the principal of the school a manipulator?
However, if I insist on staying I could get into conflict with the management, which destroys the atmosphere at work.
I'm worried that this could spiral down very quickly and become a very traumatic experience for you, especially if management starts harassing you. If there is nobody in a position of power to support/cover you, I wouldn't stay there if I were you.
During these three years of work I have also become close to my students. I care about them very much, I know they like me, and I would like to see them graduate.
On the other hand, I really don't want to leave my students. I feel responsible for their future. I have been thinking about organizing extra classes especially for them free of charge.
Your emotional attachment to your students may be putting you in a vulnerable state, which could be used against you. Be careful.
Remember, you are responsible for your future. Take your life into your own hands. Don't feel obliged to "shape" anybody's future. I know it's hard, but let go of all the "wants" and "wishes." Whatever you do, just let it be, don't force anything.
 

naorma

Jedi Council Member
Your emotional attachment to your students may be putting you in a vulnerable state, which could be used against you. Be careful.
Remember, you are responsible for your future. Take your life into your own hands. Don't feel obliged to "shape" anybody's future. I know it's hard, but let go of all the "wants" and "wishes." Whatever you do, just let it be, don't force anything.
I simply would like to support this statement!
 

Oxajil

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
About 2 weeks ago there was a situation where he was punched in the face by me in front of students for trying to touch me.
Does the high school have an independent confidential advisor? If yes, I'd report this inappropriate behavior. I'd also ask the advisor about which steps you both can take (maybe a report to the police but it'd depend where you are and what the laws are).

Based on the details you provided, if I was in your shoes, I'd first report the inappropriate behavior, then I'd seek some free legal advice, and if I'm not obliged to follow his proposal, I'd stay. But I wouldn't stay if there is no confidential advisor because that means the work place probably won't improve and the principal will probably try harder to get you out.

If you decide to leave, and you're attached to your students, one way they could choose to still benefit from your teaching would be to start something like a homework assistant business for students. Also, can you work full time at your other job if you leave here?
 

Cleopatre VII

Jedi Master
Thank you very much for your answers and advice!

The situation takes place in Poland. However, this is not a typical school. It's a Catholic school and there have been many situations here that I didn't like very much. However, this school is no exception. The Catholic Church has a huge influence in Poland.
I personally wasn't baptized in the Catholic Church (although I'm in my third year of theology). But I remember my elementary school. When children were preparing for communion I even envied them a bit.

But when I found out that some children (children with trisomy, cerebral palsy, various other diseases) received communion separately just to make it look better on photos, I was horrified.
The Catholic Church in Poland "prides itself" on its immeasurable hypocrisy.

In terms of the school, on the other hand, it is all about my sentiment and emotions towards the students. For three years I've watched them change, gain knowledge, learn empathy, love their fellow human beings. Leaving them behind is a big loss for me.

I am still looking for an optimal solution.

Are there other teachers who are working part-time? If so I'd be interested to know if they have also been asked to go full-time or quit.

I don't know about that. I know my students very well, but I know the teachers poorly.
 

Jones

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
I don't know about that. I know my students very well, but I know the teachers poorly.
It might be helpful to gather more information. So far it sounds as though word has just come from the principal and he may be targeting you because of the other things that have happened. It could help to talk to other teachers and management to find out if what he has said is legitimate. As far as him seeming to accept your hitting him for touching you with good grace, perhaps he had no other option to act that way since there were witnesses to the event.
 

Zzartemis

Jedi Council Member
However, I treat it ideologically, as a form of mission. During these three years of work I have also become close to my students. I care about them very much, I know they like me, and I would like to see them graduate.
Cleo, I don't see a problem with this care for your students. I, personally have a very protective spirit towards children and teens and god knows there's not a whole lot of good mentors for them.

Are your students near their summer break? Do they take summer breaks; that's how it is in the USA. If so, why pull out now, and have them left for a few weeks with a teacher they don't know....that's not conducive to their learning.
Also, if this is a concern to help them graduate, classes outside the school might be rewarding for you but it will not count towards their graduating.

Yes, as Jones mentioned, find out if other part-time teachers have been asked to go full time or quit. This will at least let you know if the principal has singled you out for not returning his sexual advances.

Speaking of his interest in you, does he come on to other female teachers? He's got to be a number one ass to touch you in front of students. You do have this leverage over him, but that's a sordid affair to go public with....If he is pressuring only you with full time or quit, and you know this is because of an attempt to manipulate, you could speak privately to him, reminding him of his indiscretion in front of the students.

Before you just up and quit, find out if he's approached other females. If so, you can all take that to the school board. If it's only you, well that's harder and you'd have to get testimony from the students who wittnessed him touching you.
 

Cleopatre VII

Jedi Master
Thank you for all your comments and advice. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to talk to the other teachers or consider other options, since this morning I was urgently called to see the principal and forced to take the decision. So I went there and here is the description of the meeting.

I went in there and he started:

- "I would like to give you 31 classroom hours. High school and elementary. Specific classes, a lot of freedom, I'll adjust to the hours, but I know you're involved in academics, music and don't have time for that. You are indeed wasting yourself in this work and I would absolutely not urge you to do it, unless you are in a difficult financial situation."

So I told the truth:

- "I'm not in financial hardship, if I switch fully to a university job I'll earn a lot more, but it wasn't a job for me. It was a mission piece for me. What was to be built at this school appeared beautiful. However, various external circumstances (influence of the inspectorate, curia, church) do not allow it. I do not intend to burden the management with additional costs. However, I cannot abandon my students either. I've grown close to them, I've watched them develop and I'm not going to abandon them one year before final exams. I would like to run extracurricular activities with them, they can be free of charge".

Somehow this touched him, because he said:

- "And really this earning is not important for you? All the teachers here are always arguing about raises and perks. You're always talking about the students. But the extracurricular activities won't be free. I'll pay you triple for them because it's an honor for the school to have such an employee. Someone who always thinks about the students, about the mission.".

And I told him:

- "Yes, because for them I am here. And I don't want them to lose me, nor do I want to lose them. I would like to lead the current 3c class to matriculation examinations as I promised them and I will not break that promise."

I was very moved, I think he saw this and tears came to his eyes. And so did I. He made up his mind to make me some kind of consultant on scientific matters for the school. He apologized to me for the various situations. He said that he had always been attracted to me because there was something in me that he was looking for in a vocation, and he sometimes behaved stupidly, which he knows. He also said that he knows I'm right and that he also agrees with me on the issues of my protests about discrimination against students and recently had a reflection on whether he abandoned his faith for advertising after my comments. And that he doesn't want me to go away forever, but he is financially coerced, although he is able to make an exception for me and give me the 9 hours as I wanted. But I said I didn't want to burden him and just keep regular contact with the students. He promised me that he would see to it.

He told me goodbye that he would write me the best job review he had ever written and that he was sorry for everything. He didn't try to touch me. He cried when I left and told the secretary to leave.

Thank you so much for your support!

I would appreciate your opinion about the event. Was I too weak? Could I do it differently? Better? Smarter?
 

Zzartemis

Jedi Council Member
I would appreciate your opinion about the event. Was I too weak? Could I do it differently? Better? Smarter?
I don't know Cleo; he just went from a boorish cad to a crying saint....Do you believe him?

Good men can indeed contain themselves from touching a woman inappropriately, let alone on the job (a professional one), let alone in front of students.

So, he offered a job, he knew you couldn't/wouldn't take (full time), now you don't have the job, even though signed an indefinite contract.
there was a situation where he was punched in the face by me in front of students for trying to touch me. He was not unkind to me for this. He seemed to understand my reasons.
Why would you care about this, like he did you a favor by not getting angry for your instinctive self protection?

Was he truthful, or was he crying fake tears or tears of relief that the situation, which would be very damaging to his career, has gone away?

Let us know if you get that consultation job.
 
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