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Being taken seriously

Discussion in 'Teaching assistants' started by GoHardcore, Dec 10, 2010.

  1. Oop, sorry if this is a bit difficult to read - I had split it into 3 paragraphs but it didn't come out that way!
     
  2. Have you raised this point with your teacher? They should be able to help in the way that you are percieved by backing you when needed ie. dealing with the "Miss X told me to bring the oranges".
    I have no idea what stance you took when you started working with these children so the following is not aimed at you in particular...but the old adage of starting as you mean to carry on is so true in this profession. It is fairly easy to 'loosen up' but near impossible to 'toughen up' (without feeling like an ogre every day). The children will find the level that they are allowed to find and that is why the acceptable/unacceptable boundary needs to be drawn early on.
    Back to helping, I would speak to your teacher/line manager for support in this matter.
     
  3. Yes, I've talked to both the teachers that work with this class on more than one occasion and they always tell the children off and remind them that they should be showing respect to the support staff too. There have even been a couple of times when the head teacher has seen children ignoring me or the other TA and has come down on them very sternly. It works for a little while but I think in a way it sends out an unhelpful message - that we NEED a higher authority figure to intervene on our behalf before they have to take the message seriously. I'd like to be able to get that level of obedience all by myself!


    As for the other part of your post, I didn't think I was inappropriately lax with them at the start, but now I'm beginning to believe it would be better to be completely impersonal right from the start. Having known these kids from the start of Year 4 to now partway through Year 6, I think some of them have reached a stage where they would be testing the boundaries anyway, so the fairly easy-going stance that worked with most of them when they were younger isn't working now. I would definitely do things differently if I was starting again with a new set of children!
     
  4. GloriaSunshine

    GloriaSunshine New commenter

    I'm a secondary teacher and see this happening all the time. I recognise that it's happened to me in the past because I'm quite easy going with kids. I have learned that as son as any child pushes, you have to stamp on it in a way that the whole class see you're not letting them get away with it. If you don't, it's a downhill slide.

    Once you've got to the stage you're at, it's much more difficult to regain control but you just have to up the ante, be very strict and face off any child who challenges in any way. If they make any remarks about your children, blank them and tell them to get on with what they should be doing. Save the personal stuff for out of school or, at least, the playground. In the classroom, you're Mrs A, and not Tom's mum.

    In secondary, there'll be at least one who'll retort with, 'What's wrong with 'er today?' or 'I only asked, Miss. Take a chill-pill" or some smart-**** remark to save face which is an ideal opportunity to slap them down for rudeness. With persistence, they will realise the boundaries have shifted and comply. The worst thing you can do is be inconsistent. Our TAs that have problems are nice women who try to talk kids round or put them down nicely. I think you can only do that when you have the relationship right and the kids have respect for you as an adult with authority. Some of our admin staff get more respect from the kids than the TAs, and although teachers challenge it, there will always be a problem if the kids see you as 'only a TA'.
     
  5. The 'Miss X said I could do such and such' is a sticky one I usually say, 'Well, I'm saying no. Off you go now and I'll see Miss X and she can tell me if it's ok, then you can come back.' I have even said to a child, 'What would Miss X say if I asked her if you were supposed to be here?'
    With regards to trying to change the subject to Black Ops or whatever, just say 'That's not the subject at the moment' to block it.
    I speak as a TA who has been very friendly in the past, perhaps too soft, and has had to raise my status with the children. I'm not saying I'm perfect, not by a long chalk! I stopped dressing casually and now try to look very professional. This helps me feel higher status.
    I'm female, in my 40s and not very intimidating too!
     
  6. I found that being a TA after working for many years in a commercial settings was quite difficult. You have to be responsible setting boundaries and not putting up with some behaviour. I found this quite hard as I am not a particularly strict person and like to have a bit of fun. I did get taken advantage of by some kids in my first year or two and it wasn't until a former pupil (who had left the previous term) saw me in the shopping centre with my daughter and told me I was a *** *** amongst other things that I started to toughen up a bit.
    I handle things a bit better now!
     
  7. You might want to try a few high status tricks in your classes. This might help: http://www.teaching-strategies-for-classroom-discipline.com/acting-techniques.html
     
  8. I guess it depends on what school you're at, but I'm afraid teachers and the old-fashioned hierarchical nature of schools generally is largely to blame. Students subliminally know this and TA's are easily scape-goated.
     

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