the workplace bully

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He wants to show his prominence

And throwing useless weight around

Seems to be the way to have

An iron grip on those below.

He gossips all about their faults,

The drinking problems, gambling

And who got off with who

At the Christmas party.

Stay away from him, or get involved

At your peril if you have

A heart as hard as stone.

The big story in the UK today is the rehiring of Gavin Williamson to the Cabinet.He has a lot of haters after he made a few clangers as the Education Minister and so I thought he was pretty brave in stepping up to the plate again.

But now, there have been allegations that he was bullying staff members last time he was in the Cabinet. He appears to have sent some pretty vile text messages to people and about people and it has come back to bite him on the bum.

And I’m sure that the stories that are being reported are bringing up horrible memories for lots of people – as there are a lot of people out there who have experienced that kind of behaviour before.

Most people will have experienced bullying in the workplace, and the bullies can do what they do without having any idea what kind of havoc they are playing on people’s lives. I got caught up in some nastiness and it led to a complete mental health crisis. I was paid off and that was the last those people probably ever thought of me.

However, good always comes out of the bad, even if you can’t see it when you are in the thick of it. I got sober out of that whole situation and so I could say that something that seemed very dangerous, actually, saved my life.

If you are stuck in a horrible work situation don’t battle on; get out and let the bullies eat each other alive. And remember that your outlook on what is happening will change over time. Things will turn good.

Much Love

Rachel xx

the day that twitter went poof

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It all came crashing down

That Friday afternoon

When everyone began to panic

Thinking that the worst was coming

Social media was finally ending

The bubble burst

As all our lives begin to fade

Into the world away from webs

A place were people live in peace

No need to share our meals each day

For acquaintances who have no say.

I don’t really know what is going on with Twitter, aside from the fact that lots of people have been laid off. But scanning social media, I have seen people sharing all of their other details so that they don’t lose their Twitter friends ‘should the worst happen’.

I had to smile reading the Tweets, and seeing them a little like messages being put into a bottle and cast out to see. They are saying that the world is ending but I’m still here, don’t forget me.

Can you imagine if this is the end of the world as we know it? I won’t know what Karen from two doors down did at Crossfit this evening? I won’t know what Tim from work ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner? How will we all survive?

I do feel terrible for the people who have lost their job with no warning; and in this economic climate, it can’t be happening at a worse time. I really hope things start looking up soon.

<uch Love

Rachel xx

so they do actually trust me

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It’s a funny little thing,

To know that you’re loved,

That they trust your word

And the advice that you give,

It hums in your bones

And puts warmth in your belly,

Knowing they like you,

That they care what you say.

I have a real issue with thinking that people don’t like me, so when I get proof that they do, it can sometimes come as a bit of a shock.

As a teacher, you are putting yourself up for being mocked, and being picked on by teenagers can be miserable. Teenagers are mean.

I have a slightly tricky Year 9 group and there are a couple of girls that are always sniggering in my class. I have spent the whole half term worrying that they hate me.

But yesterday, just before the end of lunch two of them rushed into my room and stood wuietly in front of me, quite obviously deliberating whether or not to confide in me.

“Tell her!” one hissed at the other.

“I don’t think I should,” whispered the girl.

I shifted my weight as I waited for her to word vomit whatever it was just before the bell.

I managed to get out of her that shee was having a friendship issue and she was wanting my advice on what to do. Her plan was to ‘get revenge’, which I told her may not be the best idea. I told her to enjoy her half term and have a break from social media and all the bitching that can go on between fourteen year old girls.

She nodded and off they ran, as the bell began to sound.

I was left standing in my doorway, wandering how I had gotten it so wrong again. I’m obviously doing something right and that was a nice feeling.

Much Love

Rachel xx

seeing them in a different light

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I see them in their uniforms

All the same, some quiet

And some in angry huffs

Stomping off when we say no.

But some days we can see

Them in another way

A stronger version

A bit more personality

And now we see each other as

A proper human being.

We had a two day Retreat and Pilgrimage with my school on Thursday and Friday. On the Thursday I was in school and we did lots of activities that made us think about ourselves and our faiths and our school community. And on Friday, we went to the cathedral in a nearby city.

I was lucky enough to have two days off timetable to spend with the kids as I am a Year 7 tutor. I see these kids every day in their school uniforms and I thought that I knew them well. It’s only been six weeks, but I could figure out who was naughty and who was quiet and who was clever.

However, seeing them all outside of the classroom was really eye opening and it was so nice to see more of the quieter ones. There was one girl who has always been so shy and all of a sudden I saw her as this really cool team leader. She could do street dance and she led her team to winning an engineering challenge.

Then I sat on the bus next to another quiet one for an hour. I thought it would be really awkward, but we ended up chatting away for the whole journey.

I am exhausted, but I’m so glad I had that experience with my tutor group. I’ve got such a soft spot for even the ones that I thought were a nightmare. I can’t wait to see them grow over the next five years, and to watch them turn into fabulous human beings.

Much Love

Rachel xx

the monsters within

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We had a bloody long day at school today because it was the dreaded Open Evening, where Year 6 students and their parents can come and look around the school and see if they would like to be members of our school community.

I say ‘dreaded’ because it’s a 13 hour day, and you are ‘on’ the whole time. However, I do actually really enjoy speaking to the younger ones and asking them about what books they enjoy reading.

We did a Gothic room in our department and I was responsible for getting the kids to draw their own Gothic monsters. And some of them were interesting, to say the least.

I asked everyone to give their monster a name and we had everything from Richard to Mrs Jelly Legs.

I find it so sad that the creativity seems to just get sucked out of kids as they reach their teenage years. My Year 9s couldn’t even come up with one thing that scares them and yet three years earlier, they could have come up with a three headed monster called Richard.

Don’t grow up, kids. I love you just the way you are.

Much Love

Rachel xx

so what do you think of the new girl?

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Do you like the colour of her hair?

Do you like what she wore today?

Do you think she’ll do a good job?

Should we all just talk on Twitter

About what a terrible mess she’ll make?

And would the same rules apply

If she were a posh man?

So, we have another new Prime Minister in this country. It feels like the Conservatives have served us up a revolving door of candidates – we bring one on, slag them off until they have no choice but to leave and then we start on the next.

It’s a really punishing position to be in and I can’t quite work out why anyone would want to put themself through it. And, as much as I hate to say it, I think that women have it even harder than men.

When Boris was voted in, half the country were very happy with their decision and they were very vocal about how great they thought he was. If you go on Twitter today, you get a very different vibe, and probably the same people who voted for him, are now going as far as wishing him dead.

Now Liz Truss has been voted in, the conversations are very different. I overheard someone in the park saying ‘so, it’s a woman they chose’. Why is that even a relevant question? Nobody was commenting on the fact that Boris was a man three years ago.

And there is a real sense of distrust in the online comments. Can she do the job? Does she have the experience? Does she have chubby ankles? These are questions that were not asked of Boris.

Perhaps we should just let the new girl get on with it. Who knows, she might surprise you…

Much Love

Rachel xx

giving out small doses of advice

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She gives out little doses like medicine,

Small capsules or pills, easy to swallow

And hopefully helpful too.

She’s aware that they watch her

And scribble their notes

And she hopes that their nodding

Shows that they’re liking the things that they see.

So, I am still suffering from imposter syndrome and I fear that it will never ever leave me. I am only just entering my second year of teaching so I am still so new to the profession, and therefore it makes sense that I might still feel this way.

However, now that I’m not a first year, I am getting trainees coming into my class and watching what I do – and worse still, they are taking notes!

I think a lot of the problems come from the fact that I don’t feel much older than some of the students that I teach and so I don’t feel mature enough to teach, let alone have people look at the way I teach.

It is slightly wonderful though, knowing that I am allowed to have trainees in, and there might be things that they see me do, that they like and that they use intheir own practice in the future.

The fact that I am seeing things in this way, shows that I’ve probably matured a lot over the last two years of this journey. Feeling confident enough to offer advice is something I never thought would happen. And yet, here I am.

Much Love

Rachel xx

the hair disaster

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It’s always just before new jobs

When nerves are running high,

You think that it’s a marvellous idea

Until you blow your bleached hair dry

And find it’s turned a flaming orange

And all you want to do is hide.

I did the classic hair dye thing last night. I thought that I wanted a change before I went back to work, so off I went to B&M to purchase a box of hair dye. As I perused the shelves, I decided that I might go for blonde this time around – because, why not?

I excitedly ripped open the box as soon as I got home and started mixing, pouring and massaging in the bleach concoction.

Now, I dye my hair every so often so I have done it before and I have gone lighter but I think the box kits have become stronger since I last did that.

I washed out the bleach and found that my hair was extremely light. And then it dried and it went extremely orange. Think Cyndi Lauper and Girls Just Want To Have Fun – that was the look that I had achieved.

Luckily, I did this with a day to spare, as I don’t start my new job until tomorrow. I raced to town this afternoon and purchased a box of dark dye.

Now, I’m no hairdresser, and I’m no chemist so I had no idea what this new dye would do to my hair. It could turn witchy green for all I knew. So I held my breath and waited for the 25 minutes.

I think that I have saved myself the shame of going in on my first day with some freakish colour hair, and there is no need for me to shave it off. But it just goes to show that you need to give yourself a bit of time to sort things out if you are planning something drastic.

Hopefully, I have given you a piece of life advice (that you probably already knew anyway). You are welcome, and I hope that all the teachers have a wonderful first day tomorrow. I’m just glad I have hair.

Much Love

Rachel xx

you’re doing it all rong

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Your spelling is all dodgy

And you’ve filled the wrong boxes,

You’ll never make much of yourself

Behaving like that

But perhaps you’ll have fun

When all’s said and done.

There is nearly always a right way and a wrong way to do things, but I have to say that I really enjoy seeing people do things the wrong way.

I think that everything is down to interpretation and you can’t be angry at someone who has gone about something a little bit wonky. In fact, I think that doing things in a different way can be show a certain amount of creativity and bravery.

I worked in a holiday place where we used to have to go out to guests staying on the site and check that they had no problems with their cabins. We had to fill out a sheet with the cabin number, our name to say it was us that checked and then there was a notes column that was meant to record any problems.

That final column was just labelled ‘notes’ and so this new guy went round all his cabins and wrote what he thought of the guests. The column was filled with things like ‘the lady was fit’ and ‘they had a cute dog’. I saw his sheet in the folder at the end of the shift and I was nearly crying with laughter reading some of his comments.

Now, that guy did eventually get the sack (for other offences), but I did admire the way that his brain worked. And these creative ways of doing things can sometimes lead to amazing discoveries.

Apparently, the glue on our Post-It notes was discovered as an accident, and instead of just chucking away the mistake, they filed the idea away and it became a serious money spinner.

Listen to the people who do things differently because they’re not always wrong!

Much Love

Rachel xx

a workplace so snug and solitary

The office has walls that press in,

Perspex and glass to make it feel light,

But there’s no getting away

From the fact I can’t move,

I can stretch out my legs, and circle my neck

But I’m caged like an animal

For eight hours a day.

I like teaching because I have the ability to walk around my room; I don’t have to sit in one place and tap away at a keyboard for eight hours. And when I’m not teaching, I can take walks to the staff room and the photocopying room, so I get lots of opportunity to move about.

So, I do wonder how people manage in jobs where they have to sit still for long periods of time. I think that the only exception to the sitting rule would be if I worked in a booth of some sort.

I used to love working on the checkout in Sainsburys, there was something hypnotic about just scanning people’s shopping through the till and I never seemed to get bored.

I do wonder if my introversion plays into this. Although I hate working at a computer in an open plan office, I do love to be isolated. It would be even better if there were quiet periods and I could just sit in my ticket booth and read my book or do a sudoku puzzle.

I never thought that I would fancy working for the police but I found this image of London’s smallest police station and I think that actually I could get on board with that. I could imagine myself sitting in that little office, just watching the people go by. Not sure I’d get much work done, but I’d enjoy my working environment!

Much Love

Rachel xx