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14 hours ago, kayc said:

It's good to hear from you again, I've missed you, and of course, pictures of Lena!  I'm glad you were able to get your dad's watch fixed.

Thanks, Kay, and it's good to hear from you too. Yeah, having a good watchmaker is really a treasure. I had another meeting with my boss today and he pretty much beat me up verbally for an hour. We never even got to the part about Cindy. I think he was on edge and all freaked out when we started because a kid new to the district had really ripped up a classroom and part of another. They had to call the police and suspend him. The same kid, when he came into the district arrived with a partially completed evaluation, and the SpEd coordinator went through the file and gave it to me to review. It  took me about a week because it was confusing, but I got it back to her. I thought the SpEd teacher was going to set up a meeting, but she said she thought I was going to do it (even though it would have been her task to do). The SpEd director was really upset about this problem (that was tossed into our lap by another district) and blames it all on me that we went out of compliance on the date. I didn't see this date at first because it was buried in the middle of about 50 pages of documentation, but the SpEd coordinator said she saw it from the beginning. And why didn't she make it apparent that this particular file review was urgent? Like when I asked her if it was urgent? I finally asked her if we could get a 30-day extension on it and she went to the SpEd director (my boss). Turns out he was still sitting on the file and had not gone over my review once it came back, and so no one could have done anything about it until he reviewed it - neither me nor the SpEd teacher. And whose fault is all that? Mine, naturally!

He was also after me about a couple of the SPEd teachers who do not get me the information that  they are supposed to get to me in a timely manner. If I ask them over and over and still can't get them to do it, then that is my fault. He told me about the latest one (same teacher as the one above paragraph, who is a great person, but not up on technology - she is probably near 70) - he said that I needed to go to her principal and tell the principal that my butt is in the line if this teacher doesn't snap to it. And this poor teacher is recovering from having surgery on fractures in her neck from being kicked repeatedly in the head by a violent student. And I am supposed to ruthlessly push this poor teacher??? Oh yeah, I was also in big trouble for not taking responsibility for adequately communicating with her during the time when she was out sick, during winter break, while I was out sick, the SpEd coordinator was out sick and the principal was at a conference. Why could I not get any information from any of these people while they were out sick. Huh. Go figure. I must just be lazy to not have  hunted them down in their sick beds. Actually, I looked bad at a meeting because of some information this teacher did not give me before she went out on sick leave for her surgery. She said the SpEd coordinator set this thing up, but that wasn't true, the SpEd coordinator said the teacher set it up, no one followed through and it just fell between the cracks. And whose fault is that? Mine again. 

This guy is a terrible administrator. He says things impulsively without thinking about what the implications are, and he doesn't communicate well because he doesn't pay attention to what he says and whether it makes sense or if he left out so many pieces that it makes no sense. In my improvement plan, he had a comment that there is a woman in Phx who was writing IEP's for us and there were two of them when she was sweating bullets because I didn't get the testing results to her in a timely manner. So he has decided that I don't communicate with anyone and he wants to know the names of everyone who will be involved in every meeting I am involved with so that he can "survey" them afterwards to see if I communicated with them. My experience is that if you send 100 emails at work, about half of the people will say they didn't get it. I asked him if instead I could cc him on my emails to all of these people and show him my working files that have copies of all of the ones I have been sending for the last weeks/months. He said sure. Then he said he wanted to be cc'd and survey the people. I don't think he even thought about what they would look like. He wants to send out emails to people saying that he got a copy of an email that went to a them and even though he has a copy of the email and can see that it went to them he wants them to tell him if I communicated with them. (Or maybe I am sending out fake email in a way that even the IT team could not do). Then he wanted to know if he could take all of my working files I brought to the meeting and keep them for a few days. I was aghast and asked him, "How could I work? What would I do? Every single thing I am working on is in those files! Turning them over would mean dropping the ball on absolutely everything I am working on." He said, Oh, ok. What a maniac!

I guess this is why I haven't been writing...I am just sitting in my house listening to about 70 or so clocks ticking away and hoping I get through it all somehow...

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22 hours ago, kayc said:

I know this makes you miss your dad all the more as you used to be able to talk things over with him and get a fresh perspective

This is so true, Kay, and I appreciate your thoughtful comments. I was so happy about getting back into a regular job because I wouldn't have to drive as far, would get a few more years into the retirement system, and have good health insurance. I had forgotten about the many snarls of backstabbing and political b.s. that go with a district. When you contract and they don't like you, they just don't renew your contract. When you are hired, they can torture you for quite some time and then not renew your contract.

I am particularly distressed about this "improvement plan" because it is like watching ripples spread on a pond. It was originally written very vaguely and so it is easy for him to keep expanding it, adding new parts, and then say that it was actually part of the original plan. I am thinking about writing a response of what I think has occurred so far and asking that we have a written record from each meeting as to what he is asking me to do. 

When my dad was alive, I used to talk to him about this stuff and he was really great, but he said he never had any of this crazy stuff happen to him in his entire career. He learned his field, worked hard, did a good job, and was respected for it. Sometimes he was given a gargantuan amount of work, but it eventually leveled out, and things were ok. I never had problems like this in business (because people were too busy doing business and worried about the bottom line). I also never had problems like this in the prison or court system because paramilitary systems are male-driven logical hierarchies. But the schools - there are so many crazy women and a system that really doesn't work where people gain and keep control by crazy means...all the back-biting, back-stabbing, tattling, gossiping stuff that plagued me in the third grade, the fourth, grade, middle school, etc... Well, here I am back in the middle of it again! Ughh!

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Oh Laura, he sounds impossible, the job sounds impossible.  It's like someone ties you up and then tells you, "Okay, go into that wrestling match!"...with your hands tied up!  I was so excited when you got this job, but I guess we never know what it'll be like until we're actually in it.  It just doesn't sound worth the pay and the benefits to have to endure the abuse and stress.  If a person can enjoy the work part and somehow ignore the administration part, but that's pretty hard to do when they're berating you.  And the worst part is when it's an idiot doing it.  I had that in my last job...seven   l...o....n....g   years!  I remember when he laid me off for a year, cutting me from full time to one day a week and wanting me to keep up the full time job, which was impossible of course.  He pestered me at home constantly, wanting me to issue invoices, call the insurance company, etc., all while I was trying to job search and go to interviews.  This was right during the recession, no one was hiring.  After a year he put me back on to four days a week and gave me the task of figuring out how much he owed his friend.  He had been posting the contracts and did them all differently, he misfiled and lost contracts.  I found some of them on the floor of his office with footprints on them, lunch spilled on them.  I was missing a couple and had to contact his friend for copies.  After putting the pieces of the puzzle back together and reposting everything consistently and how it should have been posted to start with, I came up with the bottom line figure...nearly a million dollars, it had taken me two weeks of working on it constantly.  He had sold invoices to his "friend" and then when he got paid for them from the clients, instead of paying his friend, he pocketed the money.  It's called fraud.  When I was all done, the books balanced to the penny, I was proud of myself, not all bookkeepers could take on such a task and do it perfectly.  Instead of thanking me or grunting a "good job" at me, he bellowed at me, "THAT'S how it SHOULD have been done all along!!!"  I was furious!!  I retorted, "ALL ALONG???  All along when YOU were posting it all year?!!"  I got off work a couple of minutes later and good thing he had the sense to stay out of my way as I left!  I don't think I've ever been so mad.

We work for these idiots, we do the best we can, but they don't have the brains to appreciate us.  When he gave me my pink slip a few months later, I didn't know how I'd make ends meet, but I knew I was done.  I retired.  He kind of ruined me on bosses.  My body fell apart and it took me a good year to heal inside from the stress and all of the bad memories from that job.  Oh and it took me 13 1/2 months to get paid from him.  If I would have reported him to BOLI they would have closed him down and he'd have likely ended up in prison and I never would have gotten paid.  So I kept working with his stringing me along.  He had the nerve a year later to try to get me to "come do some filing one day a month".  Ha!  And ruin all the inner healing I'd been doing the whole year?  I don't think so!  I gave him the name of a temp outfit.  Never heard from him again. I ran into his "friend" a few months later, he never turned him in, he knew he'd never get his money if he went to prison, so he's working with him trying to collect his money.  Good luck with that.

Laura, I pray you get some resolution in your situation, so your body doesn't rebel against the stress.  You deserve better.  I know you well enough by now to know you are thorough and do a great job.  Too bad in an alternate universe we couldn't write THEIR performance appraisals!

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Thanks, Kay! You are right - I do a good job for them and am meticulous and enthusiastic about every evaluation I do. I have this idea that everyone should "get their money's worth", even those who aren't paying for it. Having a psychoeducational evaluation done on a student is a rare and precious commodity, and I feel that everyone should get the maximum possible in the way of information. Therefore, I am the most thorough communicator I have ever heard of in the capacity of school psychologist because I want everyone to get the maximum possible from the information. I generally score tests the minute I complete them and then start sharing the information immediately. I talk to the team at the MET meeting, of course, but I also talk to the teachers for as long as they will listen, and to the students to the limit that they are capable of understanding, because they will be living with that brain for the rest of their lives. I also call the parents at home, on the weekend, any time I can find them and answer any questions they have about the testing results. I have many many times spent an hour or more on the phone with parents talking about the implications of their child's testing, even when I was doing contract work and didn't make a dime on any of those calls. I talked to the other psychologist where I work and she says that she hardly ever calls a parent. I also have very good skills in the area of listening with interest and empathy, and expressing what I have to say in a way that is sensitive of the other person/people. This comes from working as a psychotherapist. So here are three of my biggest strengths in my job - thoroughness, open and generous sharing of the information I gain, and empathic, sensitive communication with a deep desire to understand and be understood. These are the highlights of my improvement plan. It really is kind of crazy. The only really big strength he hasn't attacked is my writing. It's not like I don't have weaknesses - I surely do. But he hasn't taken the time to figure out what they are. He is impulsive and when he is angry or upset he tends to take it out on a nearby target, and he really doesn't like me. I suspect that it's like the emperor with no clothes. I don't have to say a word and he knows that I can see him for who he is. I am always polite and respectful, but he knows that I can see him... So he abuses his power to whip me. Nice.

It is starting to make contract work look more attractive...

That sounds like a nightmare you were in. It is terrible to be highly skilled and be abused for it.

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I just know that if I had a choice, I'd take the work that had a pleasant environment over one with more money...during the recession I didn't have a choice.  But I hope you do, it may take a while.  Lord knows you've tried getting through to these people.  

If you can separate your work with the kids from what comes from the administration and let the latter go in one ear and out the other, then you can keep on, but that's hard to do.  I felt like a whipping boy at my job.  Very undeserved!

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Thanks! I feel like I am being verbally beaten at work, most particularly when I have any contact with my boss, the person who is responsible for the education of the absolute most vulnerable children we have - those with disabilities. I dread going to work; at the beginning of the year I would jump out of bed and go skipping out the door.

I could make more money in less time doing contract work as I did before - and have much less stress. But I wouldn't be putting time into the state retirement and wouldn't have good health insurance.

Another problem of this created chaos is that I am upset and distracted at work, and to do the detailed kind or work that I do, a calm quiet environment in which to work is critical. I am finding that I am making more mistakes, getting less done, and having more trouble tracking things. I also need time to attend to the things Michael wants me to do to track things for him. And when I asked him Monday if it was ok for me to get behind on my real job because I was working on gathering data on my work for him, he wasn't sure. And most of the original problem was that I got behind on my real job because of the chaos he created by allowing the start of the work year to be delayed 6 weeks because he took over the SpEd coordinator as his personal assistant! He may have some distorted priorities...

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I had a conversation today with that teacher Cindy, the one I had all of the problems with in the fall and the reason I have on my "Improvement Plan" to "Not demean" people. We were talking about this and that and I was helping her again, by explaining how to figure out how to line up your meetings ahead in such a way that you don't create extra work by having to do things twice. This was not done by the staff last year, which messed all of us up. And somehow in this I decided to tell her that her complaints against me had really caused me a lot of trouble. Maybe that was a mistake. She was totally nonplused to hear that I was in trouble. I guess she feels I deserve it. And then she told me the most egregious thing I had done to her. It was astonishing!

In the fall, we had quite a number of conversations that included her rather abruptly interrupting me when I had barely begun to speak, either to argue with what she imagined I would say next or simply change the sentence. When I objected to her doing this to me, and how frustrating I found it to have to begin another conversation to get to the point I had begun trying to make, she pointed out that in my speech there are quite a few brief little pauses, and whenever she heard one she would assume I was finished speaking even if I was obviously mid sentence or mid-thought. (obviously, she was not listening but simply waiting for a pause so she could jump in).

I didn't think I should have to have explained myself, but I said that when I was a child and young person, I had a profound speech impediment and stammered terribly; I would just freeze and be unable to complete a sentence. I was very quiet and shy, and seldom even attempted joining in any conversations because I would only freeze and be cut off. It was terribly painful and frustrating and it made any social or even work functioning very difficult because really, I could hardly talk in many situations. Also, people would make fun of me and mock my speech. But when I was in my late twenties, I endeavored to fix this situation myself. I just forced myself to keep talking even if it was a forced ramble - anything to keep words coming out of my mouth. It worked - for most situations. But when I got my MSW, I had to take it to a much higher level and be able to continue a stream of conversation while using professional vocabulary and sophisticated thoughts, and responding to those of others. Throughout my life people who got to know me well enough to comment on something on that would ask about the pauses, and I would explain. They generally said that they thought it was something like that and that they had just tried to be patient, figuring that I would finish eventually.

But not Cindy. When I told her about all of this, she made her belief clear that if I paused, I had effectively surrendered the floor and it was her turn. If I tried to continue I was being rude  to her. I told her that I was not asking her for any special favors or accommodations - only the common courtesy that anyone should show to another - if she would listen to the other person. she would know when they were done speaking. She said no, she would not do this, but would continue to talk over me when there was any pause.

So today, she told me that this was the terrible thing that I had done to her - that I thought I should be able to continue to speak after a pause that was about the length of a breath. Apparently she did find it to me demeaning that she had to listen to me speak and not just wait for a pause and jump in. And this is a special ed teacher, who thinks she is going to do a fabulous job of working with children with disabilities! On the plus side, she said that she was going to be working elsewhere next school year. Someone told me this yesterday - that she was going to join her husband working on the reservation next year -Navajo or Hopi, I don't know which...but they sure won't like that!

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Well perhaps next year half your problem will be gone.  Let's hope they get someone that is easier for you to deal with.  I do know how frustrating it is to be given extra work so that you can't get what you were HIRED to do, done.  My boss put all of his personal stuff on me, I had to keep track of and pay his personal bills, keep track of all of his passwords, etc. on top of everything for the business.  All in all I had to know about 300 passwords.  I couldn't go on vacation without his bothering me.  I remember being at my Sisters' Reunion and we were all about to leave to do something and he wanted me to do something, and my hard drive was failing on my laptop and he STILL was emailing me work to do even though I told him I couldn't use my laptop!  So the next year I asked to borrow his old laptop (a spare) and he refused, saying he had stuff to get off of it, the IT guy overheard and said he could get it off, but Jed still wouldn't let me, so I had to buy myself a new laptop just to be able to go on vacation.  I could never have a day off without being tied to him.  Shortly afterwards, he cut my job so I bought a laptop for nothing.  In fact my job was cut right before my vacation started, thus canceling my vacation.

I understand how important a peaceful environment is.  I started meditating after my job ended, I felt I didn't have time before, but maybe even a short one would help, I don't know if you do that already.

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On February 9, 2018 at 8:12 AM, kayc said:

I understand how important a peaceful environment is.

I feel demoralized...no, that's not it. I am afraid. Afraid of going to work and being crushed. When I began this job I was so excited every morning and would jump out of bed and scurry around getting ready to do the best I could in every way. Now I feel uncertain and afraid. I have fears of being eaten alive at work and hope they're irrational. I wish I didn't care but I do. I want to do well at work, but if my boss is bent on putting me in a bad light he will. I think it comes down to what everyone has told me...it's a lose-lose situation that I am in. I have fear and trepidation about even leaving my house to go to work...

I sure miss my dad. He always had my back and was always on my side no matter what was going on.

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Laura,

People come in all types and flavors.  My sister tell me stories of her Job (Sped?)  She is working as an assistant and the stories make me want to go and straighten some people out,  The teacher's are flawed, the system is flawed, and the children play around in the system. Personally, I couldn't work in that environment.

However, please remind yourself the purpose and reason you chose this particular job.  When you strive to keep that focus on it you will persist and succeed.

FEAR - (False Evidence Appearing Real).  Fear stirs up doubt which causes you to questions your motives and purpose.  Fear weakens our resolve to continue and pursue our goal. Yes, it may be possible that these people will cause problems but why give them the benefit of doubt.  You are doing what you enjoy to benefit the children.  This does not sound like a power trip on your part.  I would minimize my exposure to obnoxious people.  Life has a way of working thinks out. 

Discouragement -> Evaluation -> Review -> Focus on your Purpose ->  Keep pressing forward

Never quit... Never give up... always pursue your dreams/ goal and one day you will reach them.:D  - Shalom 

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What do you think your dad would tell you, Laura?  What do you hear him saying?

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I just watched this today.

 

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23 hours ago, kayc said:

What do you think your dad would tell you, Laura?  What do you hear him saying?

When he was alive, he seemed overwhelmed by my stories about crazy irrational stories about adult professionals at work that did not actually resemble adults or professionals. He commented over and over that he never had anyone act like that in the business environments in which he worked. He used to talk about the boy scout law a lot, and that if it was followed carefully it would lead to success in life. Now what I hear him saying is more like "just keep your head down and do your job", "focus on what really matters", and the thing he always said when he was alive and I told him about being criticized; "well, I think you're wonderful!"

The part that worries me the most is that Michael's crazy stuff (and everyone else's) is that it comes out of left field, is not true, is frequently abusive/demeaning, and is to be taken as if it were rational.

Like that teacher who figures that she doesn't have to listen to what I am saying but only has to listen for a brief pause and then it's ok for her to seize the conversation. And this is a SpEd teacher! Does she think it's ok to do that to children? All this while, she has been complaining about me while I have been helping her to get her feet under her in her new profession in any way I can. Several have told me that I should stop helping her. I don't seem to be able to stop helping her. That seems kind of crazy on my part, but the truth is that this is a team team team environment, and helping her by giving her correct information will eventually help us all avoid problems and it could even save my own neck. Also, as she learns the ropes, she is offering help to me...yesterday we scheduled a MET-2 meeting at the MET-1 meeting. When it was over she offered to create the Meeting Notice for the MET-2 meeting and have me check it for accuracy before it went out. And this was after I sent her a brief litany in an email a few hours before that MET-1 meeting with a list of errors she had made, one of which was a parent's report of her calling to tell the parent her predetermination of the determination of what would happen at the meeting - a really big illegal no-no - and I cc'd this email to principal, SpEd director, etc. I thought she would be ready to cut my head off when she saw me at the meeting, but she was sweet as pie... 

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See, you are having an effect, Laura..

On 2/12/2018 at 6:17 AM, iPraiseHim said:

please remind yourself the purpose and reason you chose this particular job.  When you strive to keep that focus on it you will persist and succeed.

I don't think that there is any one answer, but rather the answer YOU choose that is most right for you...and either way you go is okay, it's up to you to decide for yourself what is best...whether to find a different job, or whether to focus on what you are doing in this one and try to not be swayed by other's actions and words as you set about to do the best job you can.  Their actions are their's.  That said, I know how hard it is and that they DO get to us and affect us, been there!  I guess all you can do when you feel upset is go back to your purpose and remind yourself of it.  For me I wouldn't want to live in that unhealthy environment, I've already been through that and it doesn't seem worth it to me, but if you can ignore all that and keep going, I'm here applauding you!  Just know that those of us here know your worth, Laura, and we are supportive of you and your choices.

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Thanks to both of you - I really appreciate the support. I went into this field because I wanted to help kids, and I wanted this particular job because I didn't want to keep driving such distances that could endanger my life. I especially wanted to help low functioning kids to end up with jobs and not in prison. I also wanted to help gifted kids find a path to success even when the systems were paralyzing them with boredom by forcing them to complete tasks that were much too low for them before being given appropriate work. So many of the most brilliant minds we have do not even finish high school because they find themselves thwarted and turned away from what would challenge them. I am not sure I am helping either of these groups, especially the latter group, because the schools give the same answers they did when I was a kid. They didn't have gifted programs then, much less highly gifted programs, or I would have been in one instead of being told I was lazy. I have a pair of siblings right now that I am trying very hard to help - both gifted and emotionally scarred by abuse. I started with the girl...my boss wanted me to approach the evaluation in a way that I felt was absolutely inappropriate (not even do an IQ test, but to a Functional Behavior Assessment to determine why she was acting like she did) I talked the team into taking my advice and she in fact has a very high IQ and PTSD. Her brother is very much the same and it has been been easier to get him going on an appropriate assessment path without adversity. That's why I'm there is so that I can help those kids. A lot of them any school psych could do about the same thing for, but some of them I might be able to help in a way that no one else could due to my skills, experience, and personality being what they are. That's why I am there...to contribute all that I can...

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Then put up an index card in front of your desk or somewhere you can see it often, with cue words reminding you WHY you are there, it'll help you get through all the rest of the stuff.  ^_^

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I have a difficult job that is demanding and at a large volume that must be done with a high degree of accuracy in a constantly changing environment. Not only that, as another school psych put it, we are always a lone wolf. Everyone else falls into natural teams except us. If the SpEd director backs us up we are ok; if they don't, we are toast. This is partly because people just love to blame everything on the school psychologist. Just yesterday we had a meeting about a child who had moved very frequently and we were trying desperately to have a meeting to determine her eligible and give her an IEP, and the mother didn't show up in person or by phone. I suggested that we should have the meeting anyway and that I would chase the woman all over town if I had to and get her to sign. The speech path commented that if we didn't get the signature it would be like the meeting never happened. The get ed teacher got up to leave, turning on me angrily about having a meeting that would result in "it never happened" and she had work to do. Fortunately, the whole team heard these words came out of someone else's mouth and not mine, and I was volunteering to spend my day finding her so that this would all work out and her student would get the help the teacher was desperately trying to get her. But her first response was to not really listen and get angry at the school psych.

It really makes me angry... I think that is probably the thing that scares me most - my own justifiable anger.

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No, that's not it - I don't do well with being used as a whipping post and I don't take it lying down. If someone says something absolutely crazy to me I will say it's crazy, of at least look like I think it's crazy. Michael and I had another meeting today and he spent a good part of the hour and a half ranting and yelling at me. He not only doesn't listen to me; he doesn't listen to himself. He rambles around from one thing to another between one sentence to another, without realizing that he is changing the subject/context or even reversing his position as he goes. He is just a nightmare. Today he pulled Suellen in to help mediate or translate or something. At times she looked rather horrified at what was going on, but she tried to help out, and I think her presence was helpful. He brought her in because he was asking me to create a database on a spreadsheet. She was able to get him to see that most of what he was looking for was already on the spreadsheet I have been presenting him every time I see him, and to get him to agree that if I added three columns to my spreadsheet, that would answer his questions.

Nevertheless, we got stuck. He was basically telling me that I was being insubordinate. I told him that if a person will not do something that was unreasonable, impossible or illegal, that is not insubordination. He said that it absolutely is insubordinate to refuse to do the unreasonable, impossible or illegal.

It is really terrifying to have one's boss rant and rage about things one cannot fix. He was enraged because a teacher failed to get information to me early this week. The other teacher, who is in PHX and writing the IEP did not get the information in time to do her part of the meeting. The first teacher should have gotten it to me so I could put it in the online program where the second teacher could see it - or put it in herself. The second teacher was upset because she didn't get the information in time and canceled the meeting. The first teacher was in Argentina from Dec 22 until Feb 7 because her mother is gravely ill. When she finally came back she was really in a crunch to get on top of things, and so she did not get this information to the second teacher (or to me to get it to the second teacher). Michael lost his temper and yelled at me as I asked him how was I supposed to get this information from a woman in Argentina. You can't even send text messages to there. I tried, but didn't hear back from her until she was in Canada, where she was re-routed on the way back. So Michael demanded to know why I didn't get a third teacher involved and get her to tell me the information that as far as I knew only the first teacher knew. By the way, the third teacher, who sees this kid only for math and hence only had a fraction of what the second teacher wanted, is the teacher who has complained about me constantly all school year. 

Last week he told me to tell some principal that she had to get some teacher (a different one) to get me thin information that I need in time for the meetings - he said, "You should tell her (the principal) that you are on an improvement plan and your butt is on the line - that you are going to lose your job" if this teacher does not get her stuff to you." Today he was raging at me because I had talked to several teachers about being on an improvement plan and told me that I had no business talking to teachers or anyone else about this.

Crazy...

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I know that there is other work and I will be able to get work elsewhere - probably a higher rate, fewer hours, and much less abuse. I suppose there is just something really awful about being verbally abused and yelled at irrationally. Is that really ok? A supervisor has the legal right to verbally abuse staff in an irrational way and if you protest, it's insubordination?

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I simply can't see any way to get through this. Every time we have a meeting about my improvement plan he has changed and added to it. He tells me things that are totally conflicting with other statements from other meetings and when I ask him about this he gets really angry. He told me to set up a "ducks in a row meeting" between yesterday's meeting and our next meeting. This is a little problematic because Thursday (yesterday) and Friday are parent-teacher meetings all day, Fri & Sat are a weekend, and Monday is a holiday. We meet mid-day next Tuesday. No one could hold a meeting on any of those those days!

He told me at meeting one that every single teacher at all three schools where I work had complained about me. Yesterday he told me that virtually all of the staff have found me to be unworkable and not a team player. He said had complaints from all of them but he would not tell me who any of them were or what they had said because that had all been said in confidence. Nevertheless I am supposed to work out these mystery issues with unnamed people. He told me that all I do is is say negative things about other people. I have mentioned some problems/omissions with previous reports I was working from, in the context of apologizing to current teams about why the information had to be collected currently.

The other school psychologist told me that Michael seems to find someone to target every year and this year it's me. Last year it was the person I replaced. I have been told that she had "a really rough year".

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Laura,

I don't think it's right, it's called a "hostile work environment" and people have been known to bring lawsuits because of it.  Proving it is another matter.  usually it involves getting others on board with it, which is difficult because then their jobs are on the line and they clam up.  

I do not think it's okay to be treated this way in a work environment.  My boss beat me down, treating me different than everyone else, demanding everything, appreciating nothing.  He didn't have the brains to know what he had in me, and as my neighbor put it, it's hard to work for a moron.  Your boss sounds like one too.  When someone can't listen, isn't reasonable, it makes it very difficult to do a good job.  Can you imagine what working for our current administration must be like?  So many people have come and gone. 

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On 2/16/2018 at 8:16 AM, Clematis said:

I simply can't see any way to get through this. Every time we have a meeting about my improvement plan he has changed and added to it. He tells me things that are totally conflicting with other statements from other meetings and when I ask him about this he gets really angry. He told me to set up a "ducks in a row meeting" between yesterday's meeting and our next meeting. This is a little problematic because Thursday (yesterday) and Friday are parent-teacher meetings all day, Fri & Sat are a weekend, and Monday is a holiday. We meet mid-day next Tuesday. No one could hold a meeting on any of those those days!

He told me at meeting one that every single teacher at all three schools where I work had complained about me. Yesterday he told me that virtually all of the staff have found me to be unworkable and not a team player. He said had complaints from all of them but he would not tell me who any of them were or what they had said because that had all been said in confidence. Nevertheless I am supposed to work out these mystery issues with unnamed people. He told me that all I do is is say negative things about other people. I have mentioned some problems/omissions with previous reports I was working from, in the context of apologizing to current teams about why the information had to be collected currently.

The other school psychologist told me that Michael seems to find someone to target every year and this year it's me. Last year it was the person I replaced. I have been told that she had "a really rough year".

Laura,

I would contact the EEOC, Human Resources, and every organization that could help you.  Are you legally able to record conversations in your state?  Can you request a third party to be there with you and him because this has become a hostile work environment? Are you SAFE with him?

You can't resolve these alleged issues with other works without acknowledging who that are, what is the disagreement and attempt to resolve them.  This boss sounds like he is manipulating the system.  He did it to the person before you and some people get great Joy in causing others pain.  I will seek legal counsel to see what your options are. Document everything. 

Sometimes in life, we have to fight and stand against the enemy even when our own nature and persona would rather turn the other way.  Your also standing up for every one else who comes in his path. Focus on your Purpose to protect and educate the children and protect them from the bullies.  You are worth it... They are too!  Never quit.. continue to press forward. - Shalom

 

 

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1 hour ago, iPraiseHim said:

You can't resolve these alleged issues with other works without acknowledging who that are, what is the disagreement and attempt to resolve them.  This boss sounds like he is manipulating the system.  He did it to the person before you and some people get great Joy in causing others pain.  I will seek legal counsel to see what your options are. Document everything. 

I think you are right. Unfortunately, the other psychologist has told me that the person in Human resources who would do this is not anywhere near smart enough to help with this, or even find her way through this. When I learned who this HR person is, I agreed. She looks very average and I think the subtitles of this are way over her head. And the only other person would be the superintendent, and that would make him furious.

During our last bout (Thursday), he pulled in Suellen, the SpEd coordinator who has come to be his assistant rather than doing what had formerly been her job, to "mediate" as he put it. She was reluctant, but agreed, and it was really helpful. She told me when I had a problem with him in the fall that I should listen to him carefully because he frequently leaves out important pieces as he talks and you can't understand what he says without pointing that out and getting him to go back and fill them in. I realized when I woke up Friday morning that this is the key - or at least one of them. 

When he talks I think he is (like most people) mainly aware of what is going on inside his own head. He remembers what he was thinking and figures that is what he said and that one thought/sentence logically followed the other, like a sting of lights in rope lighting, all in a logical row. Unfortunately, that is not the case. When I listen to him talk, I listen like an attorney in a courtroom to every little detail of every thing he says because I really want to understand what he is saying to me. But when I listen to him it is like looking at fireflies that are moving all over the place and sometimes even disappearing and reappearing. He contradicts himself and changes nuances and details of what he is saying as he goes. This is very hard to follow, as hard as I try. I am sure that I look confused and he goes into a frustrated rage as I become increasingly terrified. Suellen has a lot of experience in finding meaning in what he says and interpreting the essence of what he is saying. 

Also, when she was there, I said some things like "In meeting one you said do one thing. In meeting two I said can I do another thing instead, and you said yes. In the third meeting you said you wanted both things and some other things as well. Also you have asked me to do some other things that were not part of the original plan that will make it virtually impossible for me to do my job. I don't understand how I can do all of that and not get horrible behind." With her there, he agreed to go back to what he had started with. We ended up with a plan for the following week that is entirely doable.

I brought up the idea that the plan might be rewritten so that it is clear, concrete, and specific - something that a person could achieve and it would be clear that they had in fact been successful. I also mentioned that what I knew of improvement plans is that it was done after ordinary communication, and after which normal attempts to get a change had failed. This was not true. That all made him furious. The truth is that he has written a plan that was not cold correctly in any way, he adds to it with any new information, he actually goes out trolling for more confidential input, and it is so vague he things anything related to communication is part of the plan because the word "communication" was in the original wording.

I have also realized that he is very susceptible to sycophants and obsequiousness. Cindy the SpEd teacher as well as Becca that I had trouble with earlier in the year are very much like this and he eats it up. Loves them. That item about not demeaning people should have read, "Cindy does not like Laura and the fact that a school psychologist with extensive experience knows more than a brand new SpEd teacher makes Cindy feel really bad. This goal will be met when Cindy has decided she likes Laura and complains about her once a month or less, instead of almost daily." Then it would have been clear, concrete, specific, and quantifiable.

So he is always going to side with Cindy and hold all of her comments in confidence. I reviewed my behaviors with Cindy (all that I knew of) one by one, because he had seem me do similar things, or the same thing, over and over. I asked him if he thought there was anything wrong with any of these things when he saw them. He said "no, of course not". I asked him, so what is wrong with them and they are on my improvement plan as "Don't demean staff...). He said, "Well, she  didn't like it." 

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1 hour ago, iPraiseHim said:

I would contact the EEOC, Human Resources, and every organization that could help you.  Are you legally able to record conversations in your state?  Can you request a third party to be there with you and him because this has become a hostile work environment? Are you SAFE with him?

I don't know about the EEOC. I'll look into it, and also into getting an appropriate recording device. As to recording conversations, in Arizona it is a "One Party" state. If one person knows it is being recorded, such as the person doing the recording, it is ok. I suppose the truth is that it has become a hostile work environment. He has told me that "every single teacher" in all three of my schools has complained about me. He has stated that "every staff" has complained about me in confidence and he will not tell me who said anything or what they said. He told me that if he asks me to do something that is illegal, impossible, or unreasonable, it is insubordination if I don't do it. He also told me that if my work is above the level of the other school psychologist and I do things more thoroughly and on a shorter timeline than she, he can arbitrarily add higher levels than the expectations for her and it is ok because "she is not on an improvement plan - only you are".

I guess I need to start recording these things, and to make a list of things I need to bring up again so that I can get him to respond to them when I am recording him. Sigh...

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I looked up the EEOC online, and it seems to apply mostly to discriminatory abuse...having a bully boss apparently seems to be just an unfortunate situation but not a legal problem. I'm not sure that it applies. I think a lot of it is playing favorites. He likes people who are inadequate but obsequious and tries hard to keep them. My last bully boss had the same preferences. Since I am neither, it leaves me out in the cold. I suppose those would be the preferences of a very insecure person - someone who doesn't threaten them and good at boot-licking. In contrast, I am smart and competent, and not given to false flattery or sycophancy. Education was probably a poor choice for me. Mediocrity really rules the scene. And I suppose for a man like Michael, I suppose these people make him feel smart. I am not sure that anything is going to really help much here because the bottom line is that he is very insecure and finds me threatening. That is not likely to change. I think I have to survive the rest of the school year and figure out where to go next...

I remember my dad saying that when he got to be retirement age, he was going to dye his hair and go into a new field. Unfortunately, he got Parkinson's and none of that panned out. By the time he was out here and declining he no longer remembered that when I asked him. I wonder why he was thinking that when he was mid career. He must have been bored. I wonder what he would have done... 

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