Let’s be honest with a sweeping generalisation – in the UK today, many adult mental health problems stem from the workplace.
I can only talk with any foundation about education as bullying there is woven into the fabric of schools and displayed, overtly or covertly, by headteachers and their pack animals, the Senior Leadership Team.
It wasn’t always like that but I’d argue that the descent into bullying in education has accelerated in the past 10 years – to a point, where politicians are being blamed for the teacher retention and recruitment crisis, when really the main fault lies with headteachers, heads of school, Principals, CEOs or whatever they like to call themselves.
The type of people routinely promoted to those titles in those primary schools, secondary schools and academies are generally psychopaths or sociopaths.
In the past 6 years, I’ve had the misfortune to meet and work with several psychopaths and sociopaths.
But how do they differ?
Well in some aspects they don’t at all.
Both have very little, if any, emotional intelligence.
A psychopath though has no conscience.
A sociopath has a little sense of right and wrong, but that doesn’t prevent his or her actions from taking place.
Both lack empathy and both could be classed as being mentally ill.
The problem with each type is that they’re difficult to spot, a psychopath can hide intents by being intelligent and charming, and who behave differently to different people and are therefore skilled actors.
I worked with a psychopath in recent years. He was cold, devious, liked by others but savage to those who weren’t in his favour. The ones in his favour were the fawning mediocrities who posed no threat, who he even promoted and praised regularly.
Above all, the man was ill.
He’d been placed in a job he couldn’t do and developed a blame culture for falling results, when he never looked at himself or his incompetent pack of SLT.
When I read on social media, or get messages from ex-colleagues or friends (many of whom are involved in education), the psychopathic treatment of teaching and support staff is unrelenting.
I’ve got great friends, who are superb teachers, who have been routinely hounded out of teaching.
I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night if I’d treated colleagues like that – and I wonder how they do – until I realise they’re psychopaths with no moral compass or conscience.
It makes me wonder too what happened in their childhoods to form their attitudes, psychopathic tendencies and to become a bullying twat for want of a better word – though I do see why they surround themselves with similar bullying twats. It’s a pack mentality.
So, as half term begins for beleaguered teachers, here’s a message for Ofsted, the DFE and our MPs: schools are in crisis because of workload, pay freezes, poor working conditions, yes, but mainly because those offices down the admin corridor are filled with preening psychopaths who bully, belittle and destroy people.
Someone needs to take a long look at this pack mentality and destroy their teacher-hunting and teacher-destroying behaviour patterns.
Would I work in a school again? In this bullying climate, no, not for a million quid.
No job is worth your mental health and education is now run by psychopathic headteachers, with unions lacking a spine to defend staff robustly.
Education is broken.
With one possible fix.
Let some humans run education – that would improve schools and teachers’ mental health.