Question

I am currently completing my PGCE. I am very near to the end however at the place where I am working and have been offered a permanent place, my mentor is super difficult. I understand she is in a bad place in her life at the moment but she really takes it out on me. This has had a really bad effect on my mental health where I have developed anxiety. Sometimes when walking into work I have a mindset that wonders what rubbish is going to come out of her mouth today. Overall, she undermines me a lot and says silly things, one-minute she is up and the next down, unpredictable but you just know when she’s in that silly mood to attack. She has accused me of underperforming, she has undermined me to a student and I heard it and confronted her in a polite way. Today she threatened my position at work saying that this is an outstanding school, you aren’t consistent and will be kicked out if you don’t improve. I have spoken to senior management and they are really supportive however their way of dealing with it is brushing it under the carpet because I guess they need her right now. I like where I work I just find working or dealing with her super stressful these days, is there any advice you could give me on this?

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Response

Assalaamu ‘alaikum – peace be with you,

We understand that what you are going through must be a stressful experience, especially as it is during such a crucial time in your studies, so Jazakallahu khairan for contacting Inspirited Minds; we hope that we can be of some help.

It is commendable of you to understand that your mentor is going through a tough time in her life but it is not right that she is taking this out on you, to the point where it is now having an effect on your mental health. The first and most important step for you is to make sure you do not rise to her level, where you end up belittling your mentor or those around you, as she has done. Islam teaches us to be better: “And the servants of the Most Merciful are those who walk upon the earth with humility, and when the ignorant address them harshly, they say, “Peace.” [Surah Al-Furqan, 25:63]

With that being said, it is also important for you to be able to manage your anxiety effectively, so that you are able to complete your studies in the right frame of mind and so that the children around you are not able to pick up on the tension within their environment. If your school or university offer any counselling or pastoral services, then we advise for you to go and speak to them as a form of reducing your emotional burden. We also provide counselling and a listening service here at Inspirited Minds which may be of service with regards to the current situation. It is likewise, important for you to surround yourself with friends within this workplace who can support you when in times of need. Allah also tells us in the Qur’an, “Oh you who have believed, seek help through patience and prayer. Indeed, Allah is with the patient.” [Surah Al- Baqarah, 2:153] The Best of Listeners is of course Allah (SWT), so have sabr (patience), pray to Him, and allow for Him to guide you through this difficulty.

A few practical tips: take this issue up with your supervisor and senior management once again in order to reinforce your distress and if they refrain from taking action, then approach the HR department in your workplace, as they may be able to liaise between parties effectively. You may also be able to request for a different mentor as she seems to be the main source of your anxiety. A further tip may be to speak to the school or university that you are attached to; they may be able to offer you further advice or may even offer to switch your placement. We understand that you have been offered a permanent place at the current placement, however if this is affecting you and your mental health to such an extent and your workplace remain unresponsive, then it would be best for you to take yourself out of the situation completely. And as always, once you have made any decision,“…then rely upon Allah. Indeed, Allah loves those who rely upon Him.” [Surah Al-Imran, 3:159]

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you need any further support.
Allah knows best and Insha’Allah we hope this helps,
Duas always,
IM Support Team

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One Comment

  • A says:

    I would suggest to contact the union you are registered with. This sort of things happened a lot in schools. Your mentor should be professional, do not tolerate this sort of comments, you need to stand firm and get a representative from your union. This is your right and this is free for newly qualified teachers.

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