Bullied teacher: Workplace bullying in Education Queensland and Australia
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I am a caring, dedicated and competent teacher.
I wanted my students to do well and I wanted them to feel good about themselves.
But I was bullied by the principal of my school.
He seemed to have been collecting false evidence against me* (To protect myself, I have been advised to use the terms “seems to”).
I have shown his allegations to be false.
But he still seemed to be trying his hardest to have me terminated.
He seemed to ignore my strengths and to twist positives into negatives. This has been done to other teachers as well. For example, a teacher had his strengths spun into problems, partly because they were weak spots for the principal- the principal who was not good on computers criticized his use of computers, etc.
He seemed to pretend to offer support purely so he could allege in his official documents that 'support was given'.
He destroyed my self-confidence - and he criticized me for lacking self-confidence!
There is a critical difference between giving honest, constructive feedback versus giving endless unjustified criticism that bears little relation to reality with the goal of destroying the teacher's reputation and career.
It is impossible for anyone to teach under these circumstances, but I tried and tried.
I have been on sick leave.
I toss and turn at night unable to sleep.
I cry into my pillow and shake with anxiety.
I have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, depression and anxiety as a result of the administrative abuse I experienced while teaching.
The bullying has made me physically and emotionally ill. I was repeatedly called and harassed by the principal and his administration (under his orders) while on parental leave.
I have documented the abuse.
I wanted the principal to stop his bullying.
I wanted him to stop abusing his authority.
I wanted him to stop undermining me. I am competent. I do my job well. I was highly praised for my teaching skills before working for Education Queensland.
I wanted him to stop the threats and intimidation.
The principal made an official report that I don't care.
Nothing is further from the truth!
I wanted to focus on my job, but this was difficult as I was trying to save my career from the principal's destructive forces.
I see students with such good character every day at school.
Many of these students with their pure hearts and moral sense of right versus wrong are vastly superior to this corrupt principal and yet he is supposed to be their school leader.
Teachers may be afraid to sign this petition, so I need the help of students, parents and members of the public.
Please support my petition.
This is not just about me, many Queensland teachers are being bullied.
In 2007, Dr Dan Riley of the University of New England and Professor Deidre Duncan of the Australian Catholic University surveyed more than 800 Australian teachers in government, Catholic and independent schools
The results of the survey showed that more than 90% of teachers reported that they had been bullied by colleagues.
83% of teachers said their concerns about unfair treatment, bullying and harassment had been dismissed.
91% of teachers said their mental or physical health had suffered.
The Queensland Department of Education know that workplace bullying in Queensland public schools is a major problem.
They have a duty of care to protect teachers from workplace abuse.
Competent, ethical, dedicated and hardworking Queensland teachers have a right to teach, free from harassment.
Some bullied teachers have committed suicide.
Some have resigned.
Some teachers never regain the health they once had.
I did not want to be forced to turn away from a profession I love.
The fact is I can never return to teaching after the trauma I experienced.
Dan Riley of the University of New England described the results of the bullying survey as "frightening".
"We didn't expect to find what we did - we have a problem - teachers are not happy and we believe this is very serious," he said.
Preliminary findings from the survey suggested that workplace bullying is rife in schools in Western Australia and Queensland.
State school principals received the worst rating for bullying.
"In government schools, the principal receives a significantly higher nomination as a frequent or persistent bully than found in independent or Catholic schools," Professor Duncan said.
"Government schools are not very attentive to bullying," Dan Riley said.
"Claims made (by bullied teachers) often take a long time to be investigated or are ignored altogether."
Queensland Education Minister Geoff Wilson said on Wednesday 13 May 2009 that the research findings were a concern and that he would ask his department to look into it.
It is now a decade later and there are teachers who have ended their lives or have serious mental health problems as a result of workplace bullying. It can take years to recover from the abuse and many NEVER do.
Teachers are too afraid and too defeated to speak out.
It is a soul-destroying experience.
I am in a very dark place and very alone.
I need your help.
The more out in the open this is the better.
Evil thrives where there is fear and silence.
I need help to stop the principal from continuing his campaign of abuse against me and potentially others.
By supporting this petition you will give me the strength and confidence needed to battle this terrible injustice myself.
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Lydia Burns needs your help with “Petition against workplace bullying”. Join Lydia and 683 supporters today.