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Difficult Teaching Assistant?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by lcornes, Nov 11, 2011.

  1. lcornes

    lcornes New commenter

    I am in my thrid year of teaching and not having a great time of it all recently. I've had to be signed off work for the last 5 weeks due to pregnanncy related illness and during that time my classroom assistant has understandably taken a leading role in ensuring the children in my class have had a smooth a ride as possible.
    Since coming back, I'm finding things v difficult. I feel rubbish whatwith not being that great in pregnancy but my domineering classroom assistant is being even more unbearable. Shes always going on about how she has 30plus years experience and that shes worked with the best teachers and she had the best training. She also said today that I am only average and that I keep my children for far too long on the carpet.... I would agree I prob do sometimes, but I'm not rubbish although my teaching is only average at the mo as I feel average.
    Sorry for moaning on but I'm so fed up. Plus, its that happy medium between letting her take the ropes more when I feel ill and will obviously not be a part of the children's classes in 10 weeks when I go on Mat leave.
    She comes in to school and takes over my class, but she has no idea how much it takes to become a teacher and the work we do in the background every night with plans / evaluating etc, but shes always saying how brilliant she is.
    Does anyone have any good tips on living with less than great assistants?



     
  2. lcornes

    lcornes New commenter

    I am in my thrid year of teaching and not having a great time of it all recently. I've had to be signed off work for the last 5 weeks due to pregnanncy related illness and during that time my classroom assistant has understandably taken a leading role in ensuring the children in my class have had a smooth a ride as possible.
    Since coming back, I'm finding things v difficult. I feel rubbish whatwith not being that great in pregnancy but my domineering classroom assistant is being even more unbearable. Shes always going on about how she has 30plus years experience and that shes worked with the best teachers and she had the best training. She also said today that I am only average and that I keep my children for far too long on the carpet.... I would agree I prob do sometimes, but I'm not rubbish although my teaching is only average at the mo as I feel average.
    Sorry for moaning on but I'm so fed up. Plus, its that happy medium between letting her take the ropes more when I feel ill and will obviously not be a part of the children's classes in 10 weeks when I go on Mat leave.
    She comes in to school and takes over my class, but she has no idea how much it takes to become a teacher and the work we do in the background every night with plans / evaluating etc, but shes always saying how brilliant she is.
    Does anyone have any good tips on living with less than great assistants?



     
  3. Ophelia 9

    Ophelia 9 New commenter

    If she actually said that directly to you (or to someone else who will witness it) then I really think you have to take it to the Head - possibly (preferably?) not on a formal complaint basis but do ask for something to be done about it.
    I am a TA, with many years of experience who has been fortunate enough to work with some outstanding teachers, but I've also worked with some (usually inexperienced ones) who still have some areas which have room for improvement. Please be assured that I would never dream of criticising them either directly or to another person! They are teachers and I am not (even though, over the years I have had to carry out a large number of responsibilities which should really have been teacher ones!) and I am very well aware of the amount of work which goes into planning and assessment, as well as curriculum responsibilities - I actually can't imagine how anyone who has worked as a TA for years could possibly fail to be aware of this!
    I do realise why you say this but is she actually good at her job? If so, especially given your pregnancy issues, you may want the Head (or whoever else may be her line manager) to try and explain very clearly that you really appreciate her assistance but her attitude is totally unprofessional, not appropriate and could lead to disciplinary action. Perhaps also it should be pointed out that this is causing you distress (rather than fury!) It may be that, in spite of her appalling attitude, you would still want to try and develop a more amicable relationship so that you can feel confident that she will support you in class and you will be happier to consider her input if it's given in a more constructive manner.
    Presumably you will be covered by a supply teacher during maternity leave and your SMT will need to be very careful that this TA helps the teacher to work well with the class rather than try to take over. I don't know what makes some people behave like this but please don't think that this is typical TA behaviour - it's not. Right now, you need to be able to relax and keep yourself and your baby well.
     
  4. Cervinia

    Cervinia Occasional commenter

    average teacher > brilliant TA

    Remind her of this.


     
  5. Aside from being so rude to you, does she do anything wrong as a TA?
    She might think she knows better than you but she does not. She is not the qualified teacher - you are. She maybe has a bit of a chip on her shoulder that she is so experienced but without QTS. But for whatever reason, this is the case. Watching teachers 'perform' for 30+years does not mean that she understands the work you do behind the scenes and - crucially - the REASONS you make the judgment call to do the things you do. I suppose this is pretty wishy-washy advice, but hug to your chest the knowledge that she must feel pretty frustrated and small to need to comfort herself up by trying to make an ill, pregnant, relatively newly-qualified teacher feel bad.
    OR, of course, I very much liked the advice above mine!!
    I'd also like to say that as an NQT who has come into a school after October half-term to a half-finished classroom and who has no TA... I'll have her. I think. Maybe not? [​IMG] xxx
     
  6. As an ex TA (now qualified teacher) I think she needs a reality check. I've worked with a number of teachers over the years as their TA and hopefully supported them in what I recognised as a very difficult job. Feedback from teaching staff was that I was a very good TA. Somewhere along the way, I've ended up being an actual teacher and have to say it has taken me a while to realise I cannot be superwoman on a regular basis. There are many areas where I know I'd perform a whole lot better if I didn't have other work demands. I'm not doubting that she might be good at her job and it is very easy in a less demanding role to pick holes in someone's practice.
    I think with what you've described, you're having quite a difficult time now at the moment and would probably feel differently in normal circumstances. I'd say suggest she goes into teaching herself if she feels she can make a difference. She may be a brilliant TA but that does not mean she'd be a brilliant teacher. In life, I find it's the people who find faults in others do so to make themselves feel better...
    Rise above it and smile!
    From a fellow exhausted teacher.... [​IMG]
     
    efm likes this.
  7. Happyregardless

    Happyregardless Occasional commenter

    I'm not doubting that she might be good at her job and it is very easy in a less demanding role to pick holes in someone's practice.

    Wow. Please can we put this in a leaflet and send it to all TA's as a reminder?! I hear so many TA's at my present school talking out the top of their heads about how they can do a better job than x, or commenting on a young man's ideas about going into teaching - 'y's training to be a teacher?!' increduously and then sniggering in front of other staff and SMT or marching into a new teacher's classroom in the middle of the 'getting to know you' swap over day and shouting at a particular child ' I can see what you're doing even if noone else can!' I could go on. A reminder along the lines of 'until you've actually done it keep your mouth shut' wouldn't go amiss! :)
     
  8. marymoocow

    marymoocow Star commenter

    I would go with Ophelia's advice. How dare she say that to you. You are her line manager. I would go further and say that if she continues to make these kinds of remarks, that she is bullying you.

    Have you asked previous teachers she has worked with what she was like with them? I have worked with a TA just like this although not quite as direct. She would say inappropriate things to kids and parents and try to get in first if anyone important came to visit. Having tried the gently taking her aside approach and then the complaint to SMT approach and neither worked I started to be more forceful. If it was a parent she had collared before I could see them, I would interrupt asking the parent to come with me into a different room whilst at the same time asking the TA to do some photocopying or something similar. If she continued to interrupt on the carpet or tell the children to do something she knew I didnt want them doing but she disagreed, I would tell her in a firm voice in front of the children what i did and didn't want doing. It was a horrible situation as I have always had good relationships with my TAs. SMT were aware but the trouble was she wasn't able enough to work with older children and no one else would work with her. I did get the option to have her moved when we got an NQT, but by then I had learnt how to handle her and I couldn't in all honesty, let this poor young NQT have to deal with her.
     
  9. marymoocow

    marymoocow Star commenter

    By the way, when I was a governor an experienced TA had a go at an NQT jobshare teacher, saying her behaviour management wasn't as good as the other etc. She had this mature NQT in tears. The head moved the TA to another class but not before b*llocking the TA and letting her know that if there was another occurance, she would be sacked. That teacher is now a DH! The TA is still there, though is still someone who people consider has a face like a slapped ar*s and has a superiority complex. Parents and staff alike dont like her.
     
  10. ziggieb80

    ziggieb80 New commenter

    I was looking this up online. Seems Inam not crazy after all. I have been teaching at 1 school for over a decade. This year I worked alongside a very difficult, stubborn ta. I have worked with many ta’s over the years and learnt how to deal with things amicably. I got on with most.This year was rather tough. I had worked with this teacher before but only as a floating teacher, not homeroom so I knew beforehand what issues might arise.Boy was I wrong, from constant interruptions to constantly questioning or making bland statements saying I’m wrong without prior consultation or reviewing my lesson plans first as to why I am teaching something a specific way. Constantly undermining my authority and yelling at the kids during my class time. Just the simple sheer rudeness and constant criticism drove me nuts. There was just no mutual respect amongst the adults. It nearly broke me and as result caused a nervous break down. I was a senior teacher at the school so they were quite shocked to see me resign.I had no choice.The ta is also very experienced. I was told no one else wanted to work with her so that’s how I ended up with her. I ‘d like to add that is important that you and your ta get along and work as a team.I have worked with some ta’s who were very dedicated, passionate and really good. So I know it’s not all bad .I also know it’s not possible to always choose. If you do end up with someone toxic, best walk away.
     
  11. harsh-but-fair

    harsh-but-fair Star commenter

    Zombie thread alert.
     
  12. efm

    efm New commenter

    Use her. Find something to feed her ego with but not a lot. Give her something to focus on, a 'special job' / ask for a little bit of advice about something innocuous, occasionally. Lead by example - more importantly, continue to look after yourself xx
     
  13. hammie

    hammie Lead commenter

    You will have to front up to her at some stage, the sooner the better!
     

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