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Fuming that I was undermined!

Discussion in 'Supply teaching' started by anon1369, Mar 15, 2011.

  1. I'm in a school doing supply, I have been here for a couple of weeks. I covered a lesson with a class that I don't normally have. They were a low ability class with poor behaviour and a TA is assigned to their group.
    Whilst trying to remove a child from the lesson some of the other students questioned my reasoning! I then returned to the class to hear the TA confirming to the students that their opinion was correct and was <u>explaining</u> to the class that I had removed the child even though it wasn't their fault and it was another childs fault who should have been removed instead!
    I didn't say anything to the TA nor the class, I walked in towards the end of her 'speech but I am livid that I could be undermined like that! [​IMG] There was a reason I removed that particular child but I shouldn't have to explain myself! In this school it is common to remove at least 1 child from every class if not more!
    Off to calm down...
  2. why didnt she pipe up wehn you were removing the child. a good lsa is worth thier weight in gold, however some just want to be the kids friends
  3. I think you will need to have a debrief on this when calmed down. It is not acceptable that a colleague, regardless of status, should undermine you, and you need to both assert teacher status authority and a better approach from the ta for similar future scenarios.

    Some tas may want to be the kid's friends, I found rather more who want to be the real power in the classroom,. and may work their agenda to achieve this
  4. Crowbob

    Crowbob Senior commenter

    I agree that it was unprofessional for the TA to undermine you in this way. However, your statement that you shouldn't have to explain yourself comes across as slightly arrogant. Why shouldn't you have to explain yourself?
  5. It is extremely unlikely that I will be seeing this class and TA again as this is not one of the lessons that I am timetabled to take, I was only covering because of an unexpected absence. If a similar issue happened again with the TA then I would bring the issue up.
    I am not being arrogant. I was the person in charge of the class, I am a fully qualified teacher and have been at this school for a few weeks covering another teacher but in this case was covering for another absent colleague. I understand that TAs can be highly useful especially with difficult classes. But, I do not have to explain myself to the rest of the class nor to the TA why I have removed a particular studen. It was my decision and I believe it was the right one, I am not going to justify myself. The TA might have believed that I removed the wrong child but they do not know my reasons for my actions.
    On the other hand, if someone came to me concerned about my decision then of course I would explain to them.
  6. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    But might that explanation help you settle the TA's mind, should you have the misfortune to take this class again?
  7. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    The real issue here is that a TA has been unprofessional in undermining the person in charge in the classroom.
    I'd have taken the first opportunity to speak to the TA and then speak to the line manager for the TA.
  8. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    That's my advice too & what I actually meant.
  9. Crowbob

    Crowbob Senior commenter

    Sorry, I was a little harsh.
    I agree with jubilee that the real issue is the undermining behaviour of the TA. However, I still think that explanations should be given when decisions are taken. It allows for transparency, it allows the students to understand expectations and it allows support staff to act consistently.
  10. Yep it is difficult to comment if we posters were not in the classroom. HIndsight is easy to have.
    So what was the reason for exiting the student?
    However if as said the TA went off on one telling the students the teacher was wrong then the TA was out of order.
    Only thing I feel like saying is most TA's are a help not a hindrance. However sometimes you get the odd one who thinks it is all about a nicey relationship with the students.
    Exiting students. If you Exit one, then it has to be about their behaviour, even if provoked by something unseen.by another student. So if you exited one because you observed something disruptive from them. then you may have been correct to exit them.
    The TA should not have gone off and had a discussion with the students. The TA should have told you about the possible provoking behaviour of another student. Then you deal with that student as well.
    However as said, we the posters were not there. It sounds like a challenging school. As a supply if I go for an exit procedure, I avoid exiting as best I can but I always write down what it is I am exiting them for.
    Then if I have a chance at the end of the lesson go and tell someone why I exited, If not then I leave a note that I exited such and such a student for such and such a reason.
    Also this can help to justify your view because I can guarantee this TA will be having a chat in the staff room telling their version of events!
  11. I've had clasroom assistants:

    - counselling pupils when I had spoken to the children about their behaviour;
    - arguing with me, in front of the class, about the instructions that were left;
    - shouting at me that it was not the child's fault, in front of the class, when I paused during the register for a child that called out;
    - passing negative comments to the headteacher about my teaching, which the headteacher upheld and supported;
    - exchanging smirks when I floundered in front of the children because the plan did not work;
    - watching me flounder and failing to help when it was clear I did not know the sytem;
    - not explaining their role, which was far from clear as they appeared to do very little.

    Classroom assistants, in my experience, are not professionals, but their views and opinions on teaching appear to be valued by a number of headteachers. Furthermore, because assistants are not professional, there are those who do not consider they should maintain an appropriate relationship with the children or supply teachers. It is my view that the conduct of many classroom assistants is poorly directed and inadequately monitored by the school. Finally, I rarely return to schools where I have been knowingly undermined by classroom assistants - no matter how often they ask!
  12. Few weeks ago TA complained to the office(in the middle of the day-when she should be helping me in a classroom) that i asked her to cut some worksheets (it was not her job). She also complained that I made a comment about an unpleaseant smell in a classroom. I will never go back to school where I am not being treated with respect.
  13. I think one of the most unattractive human traits is arrogance. Unfortunately, it is found in almost all walks of life and in almost all aspects of school life. I'm probably guilty of it myself. It's very easy to become smug within your own personal remit. You do your job day in and day out/ If you are a permanent member of staff, you know the school, you know the system, you know the staff and pupils. I work as a cover supervisor these days (after the bottom fell out of the supply business in my area - I've hardly seen a supply teacher this academic year).
    However, I worked as a supply teacher for 8 years and my admiration for the job you do knows no bounds. You never have the luxury of smugness as you are always dealing with new schools and new pupils. You are constantly having to think on your feet with virtually no support. When support is offered it is a godsend, be it from the HoD or from a classroom assistant. I used to get wonderful support from primary teaching assistants (I am secondary trained). I would never have survived key stage1 without them.
    The last thing a supply teacher needs is sniping from staff who are supposed to be supporting them in the classroom. Their role is to support you, not undermine you. When they forget that (and most of them don't) it causes major problems. As a cover supervisor, one of the few privileges left to me after many years of teacher training, is that, when I'm in front of a class I'm in charge. Any other adults in the room need to be supporting me (whatever they think of me). Any other response is completely unacceptable ( but I make sure I write everything down just in case!).
  14. The teacher does not have to justify her reasons to the TA, it is utterly inappropriate for her to undermine the teacher in front of the children, there is no excuse for that whatsoever. Children need consistency in order to recognise behaviour boundaries and they will see what they can get away with if they know thatthey can play the adults off against one another.
    Having been a TA before completing teacher training, there is no way I would EVER have undermined a teacher. You are there to <u>assist</u> the teacher, the teacher is the person ultimately in charge of the class and they will be the one held responsible for anything that happens.
    Additionally now I am supply teaching, it is amazing the difference that a good TA can make. They know the existing class rules (which I find are often not made clear!) and can be of great help with any 'difficult' children. I always try to make sure I get off to a good start with them because it can make the difference between a good and miserable day.
  15. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    Other children in the class do not have a right to know why the teacher has invoked a course of action with another pupil!
    The teacher will be filling in DT or incident forms to account for the pupil being removed from the classroom and the pupil in question will be aware of why they were removed.
    The remaining pupils are aware of the school rules and will know when they have infringed them and been found out.
    The OPs information does not suggest that the pupils did not recognise the behaviour boundary in question. It indicates that the teacher saw something and acted on it and the remaining pupils (through doing their work, perhaps!)were not aware of what ocurred and jumped to conclusions (unprofessionally supported by the TA) that theexclusion from the classroom was linked to another issue and was thus unwarranted!
    Are teachers really to be placed in the position of having to account for every decision they make to children who feel entitled to have an opinion on the matter? Strangely, most of the pupils wouldn't dare argue the toss with members of SMT when they order pupils out of the room!
  16. Happyregardless

    Happyregardless Occasional commenter

    I feel sometimes the personal relationship between TAs and SMT sometimes blurs, because they are seen as friends and colleagues they see every day. Unfortunately supply teachers are still often seen as the 'outsiders' however good you might be.

    Today I heard a member of SMT ask a TA's opinion about a supply teacher. I didn't see this supply teacher teach so can't comment, but I felt it was inappropriate even if I felt I couldn't say anything about it? It's one thing asking someone's personal opinion but another asking for an unqualified member of staff to pass judgement on the performance of a qualified teacher (supply or not)

    The words 'dreary' and inadequate' were banded around and the TA'S response was to say "I could have done better" and I feel that this is the attitude of many TA's. Fine, but it's easy to talk out of the top of your head and speculated - if you feel like that about it, how come you didn't put yourself through teacher training and do the job yourself? To be fair it wasn't the TA's fault as she was asked her opinion by a member of SMT - so had to give an answer of sorts - but why is that member of SMT asking them in the first place?!
  17. Anyone remember (or even heard of) the WAMG? They have issued some notes on the responsibilities of HLTA; one of those notes stipulated that HLTAs cannot be expected to assess any teacher. So if HLTAs are not expected to do so why do classroom TAs have that authority?

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