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Advice/strategies for dealing with difficult TA please?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Twinkles, Jul 11, 2011.

  1. Twinkles

    Twinkles New commenter

    Next year, I am moving Key Stages and will be working with a different TA and I need some good advice please. We have worked together before, but only for a couple of hours here and there and it has not been terribly successful. She likes to 'do her own thing' and does not take direction well at all. For example, I once asked her to work with a group of YR children who were finding out about shapes - gave her some resources and my planning......when I asked her how it went, she said 'it was too easy and they found it boring, so I wrote down some sums for them to do instead!'
    I overheard her earlier in the year telling someone that if the Head made her work with me, she would leave....but sadly, she doesn't look like she's going anywhere and we will be together every day.
    Any advice please?
  2. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Only had experience of this once before.

    After a few weeks of her driving me nuts, I stomped into my then HT's office and told him she was a horrible nasty woman and I wasn't having her in my room ever again. He wasn't impressed and told me to come back another time and and he would have a more professional conversation about any difficulties, but wasn't moving TAs because teachers threw strops. So I'd not recommend trying that route, it is too embarrassing when you have to go back later and apologise.

    But I think I would (now I'm sooo much more mature and sensible!) always plan for her and give her a clear sheet with what she is to do and some key questions. Include on it the WALT and WILF and some extension ideas. Also space for feedback for each child she is to work with. Insist on getting the written feedback, even if it is 'too easy gave them sums instead'. Then after a few weeks you have evidence of how things are not working to take to your SENCO and request a change. Or, hopefully, she will be able to do as you ask and the children will make excellent progress.

    Don't worry that she doesn't want to work with you, you don't want to work with her either. But hey you are just going to have to.
  3. That definitely needs to be nipped in the bud. That is a clear case of undermining. Yes, I agree with the advice of the other poster: make sure there's a feedback sheet for her to fill out on the children's progress etc for the task. Don't give any time and attention to her 'alternative' lessons. If something like that happens again, confront her over it. You are the person who has a university degree and a PGCE, not her.
  4. Hi Twinkles,
    Perhaps you could look at September as a fresh start. Be nice to her as you would any other TA and expect her to do her job professionally. The advice on feedback sounds good but try to couch this as you being able to plan effectively for the pupil's next steps rather than 'I'm going to be checking up on you'. I hope that you can develop a good working relationship as you will spend a lot of time with her.
    If she does undermine you then I would politely challenge it immediately and if she persists then follow whatever protocol you need to for that situation. Ultimately if she cannot follow your instructions without good reason then she is not doing her job.
    I do hope that you can work this out.
  5. Perhaps this is partially true but maybe not. Some TAs have degrees... PGCE ok not likely but don't be so quick to dismiss.
  6. legoearth

    legoearth New commenter

    I agree . My school,a primary, has 3 ta's with degrees, two others that are qualified teachers and one a doctor. They are not all wanna be teachers. Maybe the ta was right.Don't get your back up,she might have some useful feedback for you. It's about sharing, no one-upmanship.
  7. Twinkles

    Twinkles New commenter

    Please don't get me wrong - my current TA and I have a great working relationship and are a real team. We share ideas all the time and I value her feedback with children she works with. The 'new' TA is not like that at all. She will not look at my planning or listen to instructions and prefers to do whatever she likes.
    In the example I gave, I would have been happy for her to move the children on from the shape activity if they really were 'bored because it was too easy' but I would have expected the activity to be at least linked in some way to shapes! Incidentally, when I assessed the children in her group later on, they hadn't 'got it' at all so I'm not sure whether it was them who were bored, or her!
    My strategy for next year, at least initially, is to formulate some sort of proforma so she has the LO, activity and names of the children she will be working with and then ask her to record how they get on. Hopefully, this will give her clearer direction of what I would like her to do and she will know that I am valuing her input and we will be able to talk about next steps for the group.
    Anyone think that might work? Does anyone use something like this with supporting adults?
  8. DaisysLot

    DaisysLot Senior commenter

    Hand them some polo mints. Tell them to suck them slowly until a hole appears in the middle.
  9. I've worked as a teacher and a TA. I agree it sounds frustrating and I've had TAs who've done their own thing and caused more chaos then help but.... I remember when I was workking as a TA the SENCO always emphasised to us that if the children weren't coping with the work set by the teacher (for whatever reason) it was our responsibility to differentiate/change the work and even take the children out of the classroom altogether. TAs have their own agendas/responsibilities.

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