When Your Administrator Doesn’t Like You

About Teresa

Teresa Cooper is a 30-something wife, mom and teacher from Havelock, North Carolina. She has a Masters of Science in Education for Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment from Walden University and a BA in Psychology with a minor in Creative from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Having struggled with anxiety and depression most of her life and later having birthed a child with autism, she is passionate about spreading awareness and acceptance of mental illness and autism and has been writing for Embracing the Spectrum since 2011. She also writes for The Mighty, The Huffington Post, and The Educator’s Room.

Have you ever felt like an administrator just doesn’t like you and that no matter what you do, he/she will determine you’re doing it wrong? What do you do when that happens? Run for the hills? Kill them with kindness? Here are some common sense strategies for dealing with an administrator that simply doesn’t want you around.

Try a Private Conversation

Maybe you’ve read the signals wrong, but maybe you haven’t. Ask to speak to the administrator in private and give him/her a chance to say how he/she really feels. What do you have to lose? Maybe you can gain some new-found respect by having that conversation and clearing the air. If that doesn’t work, move on to step two.

Just Do Your Job

You can try just doing your job to the best of your abilities and avoid that administrator as much as possible. Keep your opinions to yourself and don’t air your dirty laundry to other co-workers, as this might land you in more trouble. Keep your head down, and press on. As long as you’re doing everything you’ve been told to do, you should be okay. If he/she still finds fault with you, try the next step.

Speak to Another Administrator

You’ve already tried giving this administrator a chance to clear the air. You’ve tried just doing your job. If you’re still having trouble and it’s with an Assistant Principal, ask to speak privately with the Principal. Ask that the conversation remain confidential and keep your emotions out of it as much as possible. Stick to the facts. Talk about all the things you’ve done to try to improve the relationship and ask for suggestions. Try to make the conversation about you wanting to become a better teacher, not about trying to make the other administrator better.

If things go wrong here, you may have just one option left.

Transfer to Another School

There’s no reason to remain miserable if you’re unhappy where you’re at. Keep your eye on job listings and look for an opportunity to start fresh somewhere else. Just be aware that the grass is not always greener on the other side, so be sure that you’ve done everything you can to make things better where you’re at before deciding to just transfer somewhere else.

If You’re on an Improvement Plan…

If things have gotten so bad that they’ve put you on an improvement plan, be aware that this will likely follow you no matter where you go. You still may have a better chance elsewhere, but don’t expect it to just go away. If you’re on an improvement plan or an action plan, follow it to the letter. You can work your way out of a hole and prove your merit, especially if you know it’s unmerited. If you’ve made mistakes, own them and learn from them. Either way, show them they’re wrong and that you are a good teacher. Always do your best and stay organized. Don’t give them any reason to doubt you.

Finally, Seek Legal Representation if Necessary

Even if you’re not in a union state, most states have non-union teacher support networks, like the NEA or PENC. If you get into one of these, you can get free legal advice. If you’re doing everything you’re supposed to do and you’re still receiving poor marks on evaluations, it may be time to seek help, and going to HR might not be a bad idea either. Make them show the burden of proof that you deserve what you’re getting instead of waiting around for them to find reason to fire you.

Things Will Get Better

No matter what happens, know that things will get better. Even if you decide teaching is not for you or that going somewhere else is necessary, your career is not over–you just need a fresh start doing something else. If it comes down to it, here are some suggestions for things to do if you quit teaching. Just don’t let them get to your head if you know that you’re a worthwhile teacher. One administrator should not be the reason you decide your career is over. And if you need support, we’re here to help.

Have you ever had an administrator who was out to get you? What did you do?

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By |2017-07-02T23:15:08+00:00July 3rd, 2017|Instruction&Curriculum|3 Comments

About the Author:

Teresa Cooper is a 30-something wife, mom and teacher from Havelock, North Carolina. She has a Masters of Science in Education for Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment from Walden University and a BA in Psychology with a minor in Creative from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Having struggled with anxiety and depression most of her life and later having birthed a child with autism, she is passionate about spreading awareness and acceptance of mental illness and autism and has been writing for Embracing the Spectrum since 2011. She also writes for The Mighty, The Huffington Post, and The Educator’s Room.

3 Comments

  1. Dee July 3, 2017 at 1:11 pm - Reply

    I’ve experienced this with this past school year. I’m a new teacher and I got zero support. My administrator wouldn’t even speak to me in the hallway or where ever I saw him. I was put on an improvement plan but was never given any feedback or followup. I was never given my results from my observations. He didn’t even show up for one of my scheduled observations. When in the presence of one of his “favorite” teachers, he would make litthe comments that made it seem like they were better than me. I’m just glad I won’t be returning there (along with several other teachers).

  2. Millanee July 5, 2017 at 12:18 am - Reply

    I ignore her, she actually tried to call me out in a PLC and asked if I had a problem with her! I was floored. I told her I was merely there to do my job and that I was not there for popularity. She basically left me alone afterwards and other staff contacted Asst Superintendent and she popped in for next PLC and she ended up with more problems.

  3. Chery July 9, 2017 at 4:01 pm - Reply

    Thank you for the article , and the much-needed advice.

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