Female #SLT, big deal about nothing.

IMG_4192.jpgI sometimes wonder if I have a chip on my shoulder. If I take things to personally or read into things too much.  For example being a woman on the SLT. Do people treat me differently because of who I am……… or what I am………. Do others see it like this? Is it as simple as sexist behaviour?

Let me give you an example.
I pointed out to a member of staff that he wasn’t following our school code of conduct in a polite and non threatening manner. He made a joke but continued drinking his tea, not changing his behaviour/ action.  I then pushed it further and asked him to do something about it.  Alright what I said could be interpreted in a sexual manner but it was very clear that I didn’t mean it like this. And he replied, ” Ohh errrrr” in a manner that my yr11 boys would, laughing and nudging his colleague next to him.

I discussed this with a male colleague and he didn’t see the innuendo, almost suggesting that I was making a bigger issue of it and that this member of staff would be “jokey or different” with anyone. I spoke to another colleague, this time a woman, expecting a nod of agreement, but she too thought I was analysing this to much.

I spent a long time thinking about this. Would he have responded like this to a man? is it the comment or the fact that he was on purpose not doing as I asked? Am I, as an SLT worthy of respect?  Do staff see me as a member of the SLT? Do staff think any differently of SLT and their gender or race? I was annoyed that I was letting this issue bug me so much.

So the next day I sat down next to him and politely and discreetly explained that I didn’t appreciate the joke and although I realise it was a joke, it felt disrespectful. I explained that I find it hard being a female SLT and that I constantly feel I have to prove myself.  He quickly apologised and said he didn’t realise that this was an issue and to give him his dues seemed honestly sorry. I feel better for talking to him in this manner and hope that I have proved myself to not only him but myself.  But still I wonder …..am I making a big deal out of nothing? Half term is making me look in the mirror a little more.

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Assistant Head ( DSL) at a boarding school. Interested in all PSHE and safeguarding topics.

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