I need advice on how to deal with a very difficult supervisor in an otherwise amazing job.
My position is kind of strange - I am half instructor, falling under the jurisdiction of the department chair, and half coach, falling under the theoretical jurisdiction of the athletics department, and work and live on the farm almost exclusively, which would theoretically put me under the jurisdiction of the farm manager. The last time I was in HR, for a meeting with me and my supervisor, they brought in the college dean (my supervisor's supervisor) partially because they admitted they didn't really know whether I was even staff or faculty.
My job is approximately 92% teaching mounted horseback riding, and 8% teaching one hour of classroom instruction a week for my advanced riding class. I am halfway through my third year working here, and my supervisor has yet to watch me teach riding. The first year, she didn't come to watch me teach anything at all before ending my probationary period. The second year, she showed up to what would have been my lecture hour, but 2 out of 4 of my students were sick and so I chose to postpone the lecture for a better time and have them ride instead, so she left and did my year-end review without ever having watched me teach for two years. This year, she again showed up to just my hour of lecture. She knows absolutely nothing about horses, horseback riding, or what I actually do or need to know on a day-to-day basis, and she is on year three of giving me a performance review based on what I do for maybe 2% of my job instead of what I do all day every day. She regularly tells me I cannot make changes to my program to improve it because that's 'not how it was done before', despite having no knowledge of my industry, and told me in one of our meetings that my higher education and experience specifically in my field was irrelevant, anyone in the department could teach my classes.
In addition, she refuses to communicate with me on a regular basis. In my probationary period review, she presented me with a list of complaints she'd been holding on to but never addressed with me, and we spoke about them. I disputed some claims and agreed to work on others. I was released from my probationary period and given my job outright with no further discussion of them, so I assumed I met her expectations and improved where requested. Last year, she summoned me to a meeting with the Dean just before Christmas with no explanation and proceeded to present me with a two page spreadsheet of issues and complaints she had - some of which she had been holding on to for at least six to eight months - never addressed with me beforehand. Some were complete nonsense, some were miscommunications on her part, and some were supposedly 'complaints from students' which were always very vague. She would not or could not give me examples of when I had exhibited many of the vague behaviors she was complaining about. She would not engage with me at all - merely read each complaint, waited for me to explain if it happened and in that case why, and then read the next complaint. The Dean did not speak during the whole meeting. She ended the meeting by saying she'd filed an official reprimand with HR in my file for three of the things on the list.
When I had somewhat recovered from my shock, I went to HR. They were summarily unhelpful. After explaining the situation, they arranged a meeting with my supervisor, the dean, and the HR representative. The end result was that the reprimand was removed from my file on grounds that she hadn't followed the right protocols to file it, and that she and I should have weekly meetings to improve our communication and relationship.
This was just before the Christmas holidays, so we went our separate ways until January. We had two of these meetings last Spring. Both times she actively refused to speak to me about my job or communication; all she did was give me packets of "Customer Service" training to work on, copied from an out-of-date manual that dealt mostly with retail, and claimed she was signing me up for an online customer service program to complete as well (this did not happen). After the second meeting, we entered pandemic world and have not met since, because we couldn't meet in person, and again she has offered no guidance or complaints about my performance or behavior since August.
I am very worried that as we reach year-end review time again, that she has a document of complaints saved up again for the past six months she never bothered to address, and I am not sure how to prepare.