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Class cover - not respected by the class

Discussion in 'Teaching assistants' started by donaldvass, Mar 29, 2012.

  1. Hi everyone. It's my first year as a learning support assistant (in a year six class, age 10/11) and I'm hoping for your advice and experiences after a bad day. I occassionally have to do some class cover which although I'm still a little uncomfortable with, usually goes fine. It was probably my fifth time, today.
    The teacher hadn't really left much for them to get on with, and alot of them became bored and restless and I didn't really have anything to pacify them with. Many of them were extremely rude to me and openly challenging my authority. I had to give several of them detentions but they seemed not to care, and continued behaving very badly. I work with this class fairly regularly and thought I had built up a good relationship with many of them but much of the class seemed today to have absolutely no respect for me at all.
    I'm going off to do my PGCE next year and days like this are so disheartening and make me reconsider how good a teacher I will be and whether or not I'm up to it. I do think I'm good at my job but perhaps my skills lie in being an LSA rather than a class teacher. Is it normal to have experiences like this? How best to deal with it when it does happen?
    I have wondered wether it's me, or just the role - obviously as support staff you are often the 'nice' one who will help talk through their problems, or work with lower ability pupils, and I wonder whether they just see me as a pushover. It's difficult to tell - perhaps I'm just overthinking it. Any advice appreciated though, as I feel quite down abit it this evening.
  2. chocolateworshipper

    chocolateworshipper Occasional commenter

    I wouldn't read too much into it. Our Y6s are becoming increasingly vile - I don't know whether it's fear of SATs / hormones or boredom with the endless tests. I had a Y5 class to myself today, and they were pretty hard work too. They all seem to play up for anyone who isn't their normal teacher to be honest (so if you DO become a teacher - it may actually become easier!). Don't forget that many primary children become exhausted by the end of term - so this could be part of it. I would have a large glass of your favorite tipple and a disgustingly huge slab of chocolate or cake - think "s*d it, it's nearly Easter" and forget about the little s*ds for now!
  3. How long are you expected to cover for? I thought that only HLTAs cover classes in primary? I agree that pupils may try it on with someone who is not their class teacher.You should not be put in that situation unless you have the experience to deal with it. When you teach a class for your PGCE you will always have support in the class, plus a mentor and your tutor to advise you. I worked as a TA in year six for several years and it took a while for me to crack behaviour management. I found it helpful for the teacher to make it very clear at the beginning of the year that all the adults in class were to be afforded the same respect. I also followed exactly the same behaviour management strategies as the teacher. If you threaten the pupil with a missed break etc make sure you always follow through with it. One memorable year we had a pupil who didn't get out at playtime until February, but we sorted his behaviour in the end!
  4. 100% agree with this.
    Many children also suss the 'hierachy' of a school, not that this is acceptable. Some of our children will give LSAs a tough time and have to face the sanctions of this behaviour.
    However as Yogs touched on, it could possibly be said that you were not left in a suitable situation. You need to speak the teacher about the standard of the work that is left for you to work with if it happens again. Also have a string of 'holding activities' up your sleeve so you are not simply left wishing the clock away. If you do not have these and you are asked to repeat the situation, ask the teacher to leave some of these activities for you. However, it has to be said, too much of the holding activities will also result in a wayward behaviour.
    Good luck - speak to the teacher though.

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