Director Invited me Out - Help!

gotthetshirt
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Feb 18, 2020 11:53 am

Director Invited me Out - Help!

Post by gotthetshirt »

I'd like to get some opinions on this situation. On Friday of last week our school director invited me to go to brunch with him and a few friends from outside school. I'm flattered he asked me. He's about my age, smart and attractive, single, and in most any other situation I would have said yes. But being here at his school, in a foreign country, I felt a bit vulnerable and made an excuse for why I couldn't make it. We get along great and have had a good in-school friendship but this felt somehow different. Not sure what to do at this point. Am I overreacting?

PsyGuy
Posts: 9560
Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2011 9:51 am
Location: Northern Europe

Response

Post by PsyGuy »

Go to brunch, the friends excuse themselves and disappear, just the two of you. Sounds like a horizontal promotion opportunity. Directors gf beats principal, if you were interested in moving up or into leadership or a role with TLR duties, this could be an easy opportunity to do so.

ILMathTeachr
Posts: 15
Joined: Wed Aug 29, 2018 11:38 pm

Re: Director Invited me Out - Help!

Post by ILMathTeachr »

Do my eyes deceive me, or did you just suggest a teacher sleep with her director for professional advancement?

sid
Posts: 1131
Joined: Sat Dec 02, 2006 11:44 am

Re: Director Invited me Out - Help!

Post by sid »

She did. Ignore her.

If you think you might have an interest, why not accept. It's a group situation and a chance to test the waters in a relatively safe environment. Go slow, go carefully. If you find love, great, but have a think in advance about what happens in case things go south.

Also explore, early on, the HR ramifications of potentially dating the director. Whether this is acceptable from an HR standpoint varies considerably. Many schools will have a rule about not being involved with anyone you supervise, and in the case of the director, that includes literally every staff member. Other schools don't have an issue, or will have some solution that creates distance, like making your supervisor someone who is 2 levels below the director, or even the board (I've only seen that one used when the spouse was a member of SLT). At some schools it's a free-for-all without rules, but still be careful and disclose your relationship early on to an appropriate . - an HR rep if there is one, or other members of SLT, whatever option you can find.

s0830887
Posts: 41
Joined: Thu Dec 17, 2015 4:46 am

Re: Director Invited me Out - Help!

Post by s0830887 »

I don't see a problem with going to brunch and being friends, but it is definitely a problem if the director is trying to pursue a romantic relationship with you. Putting your perspective aside for a minute, this person would be pursuing their subordinate, which speaks very poorly of their professional standards and awareness of power dynamics. These days it's actively considered misconduct. Even broader, it will make the people around you uncomfortable and mistrustful. My colleague started openly dating our boss a few years back, really tanked office morale and the boss was forced to drop from an admin position in secondary down to primary. Proceed with extreme caution.

reisgio
Posts: 204
Joined: Sat Oct 18, 2014 10:17 am

Re: Director Invited me Out - Help!

Post by reisgio »

Tale as old as time. Those on this thread feigning shock and horror are are either deluded, ignorant, or jealous. No matter. Take him up on it and see where it leads.

vandsmith
Posts: 346
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2014 12:16 am

Re: Director Invited me Out - Help!

Post by vandsmith »

sid is correct.
the optics aren't great but as long as you don't start exerting your influence it should be no problem.

but also consider what happens if things don't turn out nicely...

good luck!

v.

gotthetshirt
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Feb 18, 2020 11:53 am

Re: Director Invited me Out - Help!

Post by gotthetshirt »

Thanks everyone for your replies. I think I will reevaluate and accept the next time, if there is one, that he asks me to join him. If it's an invitation to join him for dinner, alone, I may have to rethink that one and suggest lunch. We'll see. I may be reading more into this than I should. It may also be he was thinking he was helping me get to know the community by inviting me to brunch, and nothing more. I enjoy being single and would date him if he was another teacher at the school. But this is the boss and things could get weird.

metooedu
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2020 7:20 am

Re: Director Invited me Out - Help!

Post by metooedu »

The reason the www.metoo-edu.org website exists is to help teachers who are sexually abused at work. The stories I hear always involve an abuse of power and the victim is always blamed for the abuse. The abuser faces no consequences.

***You should note that it often starts out casual with the victim thinking it doesn't mean anything and the person is just being nice.***

This male director has power over your job reference. Do NOT go out on any casual outings with your director. No lunches. No dinners. Set a firm boundary and keep a distance. Document all requests he makes to go out (no matter how nice and innocent they seem). If you feel like he begins to act inappropriately towards you once you turn him down, document all those behaviors as well. Even with all these things documented, if you reach a point where you want to report him, you'll be reporting his behavior to the board who will likely defend him and attack you. They won't want this sort of thing to get out to the parents/public. They will humiliate you. None of your coworkers will support you even if they think what he did was wrong. You can consider anonymously reporting his behavior to the accreditation body of the school. But, I wouldn't do that until you've left and safely secured another job.

I know you want to roll your eyes and ignore the above because it's scary and maybe feels silly to think this could go so wrong (...and he's just so NICE). But, it will go so so so wrong. As a woman, YOU will bear the full costs of anything that goes bad and not him. Like one of the commenters said above, ask yourself what kind of man asks out his subordinates? Use that to emotionally distance yourself from him. If that doesn't work, think about how your coworkers will view you for going out with the director. They may laugh with you and cheer you on, but they will not be kind if he later coerces and bullies you and they witness it. They will think you deserved it or tell themselves that you did so they don't have to get involved. I also wonder about the other men who work in this school. What do they think about their male director asking out female subordinates? Their silence in this situation and willingness to look the other way tells you a lot about the workplace culture there and the way you will be treated when things go bad.

We may live in a post-MeToo society, but the way we think about women in these situations hasn't changed much. Please see the resources on the site to find confidential help for your situation - https://metoo-edu.org/resources/

DomeVet
Posts: 43
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2018 12:16 am

Re: Director Invited me Out - Help!

Post by DomeVet »

I think the director is also taking a lot of risk in this situation. If things don't go well for the teacher he's dating he might expect a bad review on ISR. And, he'll have to be wary of all he says to her while dating as it could later be used against him. Also, some staff might be bitter and would be looking for any favouritism he may give the teacher. Relationships between teachers working at the same school going sour can be bad enough. I've seen a few. But between a teacher and director would be a real nightmare.

PsyGuy
Posts: 9560
Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2011 9:51 am
Location: Northern Europe

Discussion

Post by PsyGuy »

A number of points of disagreement with @metooedu:

1) The director absolutely has power over your reference, but "emotionally distancing yourself" can be just as bad. The director might be offended, take it personally and reflect it on your reference as not being a team player, failing to collaborate, insubordination, disrespect, or any number of options.
2) Documenting all these interactions will amount to nothing. Unless you have video and/or audio, or emails or other evidence, notes amount to a lot of nothing, especially outside of the west.
3) There may not be a board, ownership takes a number of different forms. Ownership might be some rich guy that regularly socializes with the director. Even if your IS doe have a board they have likely no been elected or hold in sort of public office. The board is likely to be little more than a PTA. You could file a report with ownership and they dismiss you immediately, especially in regions where woman have far fewer if any rights.
4) Accreditation organizations will do nothing. They are concerned with the curriculum, and even if they were disposed to do something they are not going to spend resources arbitrating and potentially punishing an IS over anonymous and uncorroborated reports. Theres a mechanism for that involving government agencies and courts, etc. Its not what accreditation agencies want to be doing. What may be more effective is reporting the director to whatever regulating authority controls their IT/DT credential/license.
5) The kind of supervisor that socializes with a subordinate is the kind that has an attractive subordinate.
6) The male faculty in your IS wont care, theyre ITs, none of them is in such a great position they will take whatever drama comes from getting involved with other peoples problems.
7) This is only a post me-too society in regards to western cultures, in much of Asia, the ME, etc. if its not forcible rape its nothing.

metooedu
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2020 7:20 am

Re: Director Invited me Out - Help!

Post by metooedu »

I don't think we disagree on that much.

1) You're right. It's a lose-lose situation. As soon as she's been targeted it can go bad no matter what she does.

2) You're right here too. Thank you for reminding me that I was thinking of Western laws, etc. However, I still believe documenting things can help later down the road, even if it's just to avoid gaslighting herself. I think even if you have video/audio, etc, it still often won't matter legally. But, should she decide to talk about it later on social media, etc. she has evidence she can use.

3) I don't think we are disagreeing here. Whatever the board or ownership or PTA is, we seem to agree that they will dismiss her.

4) I know of one accreditation organization that has started drafting guidelines for schools that are similar to the child safeguarding guidelines. It could still take ages before it actually gets implemented and whether or not they will be effective is yet to be seen, but to say they don't care or aren't doing anything is not accurate. I could be really cynical here, but I choose to have hope and optimism that they can do something.

5) Oh I also disagree here. I believe men can control themselves, especially if their community finds their behavior inappropriate. The way you stated it makes it sound as if men just can't help themselves. It also leads to a terrible assumption that only attractive women get sexually abused. This allows men to say they couldn't possibly have raped/harassed someone because she's not his type.

6) I sadly agree. As long as men don't step up and hold each other accountable, abuse will still be easy for abusers to carry out. Too many people don't want to get involved because they can't be bothered or don't want it to hurt their job. I've heard from many victims that the lack of help from bystanders is far more painful than the abuse.

7) Very true! Thank you for correcting me on this. On the resource page we warn women that reporting incidences of rape, etc in certain cultures can land you in jail for sex outside of marriage, etc. In this case, I was using post-metoo a bit sarcastically. I will be more careful in the future.

mignash
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:16 pm

Re: Director Invited me Out - Help!

Post by mignash »

I think you all are reading too much into this. Directors are humans too and have their circle that they spend time with outside of work. Could be nothing other than an invitation to brunch. Our director is visible both in school and outside socially...

metooedu
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2020 7:20 am

Re: Director Invited me Out - Help!

Post by metooedu »

I disagree. Does he invite every employee to lunch? Is it fair? How others view it could lead to bullying and nasty gossip about her. And, once the gossip gets started there will be little she can do.

The OP hasn't come back on here, but hopefully she decided to be very cautious here. If something goes bad, she can find help on the MeTooEdu website.

shopaholic
Posts: 67
Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2017 11:42 pm

Re: Director Invited me Out - Help!

Post by shopaholic »

The thing that would concern me most right now is: does he read this forum? Plenty of people I know do. For a lot of reasons connected to this, I suggest you have the post deleted.

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