Dr Bill Rogers' Conference Presentation Anti-Bullying Network
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  Supporting colleagues    

Last year I was up in Sydney and I was talking to a teacher on playground duty and I didn’t recognise her and she said ‘no I’m a relief teacher’. And she was crying, not full bore crying, just y’know, crying, like holding it in and I said, ‘What’s up? Do you want to talk about it? I’m a visitor to the school, I’m running a workshop this afternoon.’ She said, ‘Yeah, I know, I might come.’ And she said, ‘Well I had a teacher barge in on my lesson today’ And I said, ‘Tell me what happened.’ And he did what, I must admit I’ve done as a young senior teacher, yes I know. Just barge in and take over ‘RIGHT! SHUT IT NOW, I CAN HEAR YOU ALL THE WAY DOWN THE CORRIDOR. And don’t you laugh either, go and stand over there, go and stand over there.’ And of course, you are a senior teacher with a tie on, so the kids go ‘Senior teacher, mega stum, senior teacher.’ So you’ve done that. The next thing you do is roast the class. ‘I’m sick and tired,’ And the teacher is standing there saying ‘I don’t think that’s the collegial support I was looking for…’ (audience laughs) Do you know that still happens? It happened last year in this school in Sydney. Y’know when I first did that and I looked back with a forgiven shame to the half a dozen times I did it, I honestly thought I was helping the teacher. That’s not helping the teacher at all. Y’know difficult inner city high school, what we do, we have an available time out option for the teacher, that we call colleague safety valve. If the teacher, for some reason, is loosing it quickly, and they haven’t been able to get support, the teacher nearby, because you could be teaching next door and one of your kids has got his hand up ‘Hey Mr Rogers, there’s catalytic conversion going on big time next door.’ You can leave your room, respectfully with the door open so you’ve got line of sight back to your room and go in and say to the teacher, ‘Sorry to bother you Mr Smith, excuse me class, I wonder if I could borrow one or two students’ And the teacher says ‘One or two would be fine, eight would be better.’ (Audience laughs). ‘Alright, Michael, Troy come with me.’ If I’m going down the corridor and this is for senior teachers now who may have, y’know, fifteen periods time release every day, emm, (audience laughs), when they walk past, they won’t stare in the window or go and barge in and try to make the class and the teacher feel like a pack of low lives. He will or she will, knock on the door and do the same thing, ‘Sorry to bother you Mr Smith, excuse me class.’ Always cue the class here. ‘Excuse me class, wonder if I could borrow one or two students thanks.’ And you do it respectively with dignity, always knock first, even if you’ve got an open door policy.

Supporting colleagues