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I’m scared

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Nsands11, Oct 29, 2019.

  1. Nsands11

    Nsands11 New commenter

    So I’m a level 3 student on placement in my local primary school as a classroom assistant and I also play bowls and tonight children from my placement were at bowls and got in an argument we were playing a game and one child “p” said would you rather have 10 of child “L” or one “R” I said 10 and child r got upset and now I think I’m in trouble i never thought before I said anything and I apologised to the child “r” and I know I shouldn’t have said anything about children outside of placement but it was a Halloween party and everyone was just a bit excited I’m scared that the parents will mention to my supervisor after we go back from half term. What should I do
  2. amysdad

    amysdad Established commenter

    Oh dear.

    First lesson - if you see your students outside of school, say hello, be polite, but don't interact any more than you need to. That avoids any potential issues (and at least with primary, you're less likely to see them in a pub on Friday night...)

    I do think you need to discuss this with your supervisor in the school. It might well cause some problems and upset for R. There is a chance that it will all be blown over by the time half term ends but I think honesty might be the best policy here. Think about how you would react to it if it happened again to show that you have reflected and learnt from it.
    jlishman2158, caress, Flanks and 5 others like this.
  3. HolyMahogany

    HolyMahogany Senior commenter

    Good advice from @amysdad, also be very careful around child ''p'' who started this whole thing. This was not a chance remark, they sound like a stirring little S**T who was trying to bully child ''R''
    Yes you may have to explain yourself to HT and you have already apologised, but child ''p'' should also be apologising for their behaviour and remarks. I doubt that will happen so watch your back with this individual.

    remember - You are new to working in a school, you made a mistake, learn from it and move on. We have all made mistakes.
    jlishman2158, caress, Flanks and 3 others like this.
  4. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    You feel bad about it. And no offence, so you should. Why you got involved in such a conversation when it is so easy to simply bat off, confuses me.

    Luckily for you, this will probably blow over. Luckily for you again, you’re a trainee. School can sell you down the river a bit and say ‘she’s a trainee, she shouldn’t have said it, inexperienced’ etc. A lot easier than a paid employee.

    Do learn fro this. Unlike many, I think it’s good for some kids to see you outside playing bowls. No issue here, but Halloween party or not, professionalism can’t dip to these levels.

    I won’t lie. As a parent I would be complaining I think if an employee said that about my kid. Not vociferously, but it isn’t appropriate.

    As a HoD I also wouldn’t be happy if one of my team put me in this position.

    Therefore I think it’s worth being upfront with placement school about what has gone on. I don’t think they’re going to cancel your placement, but they may not employ you! You don’t want this coming from someone other than you though
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2019
  5. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    Yes, you've learnt an important lesson about keeping a professional distance. I never worked near where I lived deliberately. Many TAs do work in their own community so have to deal with this sort of thing sometimes. Work out what you should have said and done and also how you're going to respond to any child or adult who wants to question you on this. Don't worry too much, I think it will blow over and shouldn't do any long term damage.
  6. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Star commenter

    I agree with the advice above. Talk to your college lecturer about the incident and reflect back on what you can learn from it.
  7. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    That being said, it isn’t crime of the century, and as a parent, I’d accept that you apologised to the student and move on.
  8. hhhh

    hhhh Star commenter

    Said parent might KNOW their child is a lying stirrer. I've known many cases of children lying and saying Sir said something suggesting bias/bullying etc, and some parents come in and cause trouble, others just ignore it because they know their child is as s/he is. Ok, this is a rare case in which Sir/Miss actually did...
    Flanks likes this.
  9. Flanks

    Flanks Senior commenter

    Based on your course and professional training I will make the dangerous assumption that you are youngish? Certainly in life-experience if not in years. As others have said, chalk this one up to life experience and learning, both professionally and personally. I am sure that had one of your 'friends' posed such a question you would have been more careful about answering it because the social consequences would have been obvious. Kids are clever and I agree that this one has played you.

    That being said, it is far from a major issue. It is significant in that it is a silly thing to do and in the short term will colour both your thinking and your relationship with these children and families. However, within a few months it will blow over and what are a few months compared to a whole career?

    It is also worth bearing in mind that placement is exactly to learn from mistakes and build good practice. I suspect you will have learned this particular lesson faster than any of your peers, about the importance of maintaining professional boundaries at all times with children. Talk with both your course supervisor and your placement supervisor, let them support you and follow their advice to the letter. If you get a slap on the wrist, accept it, apologise and gradually move on. Good luck :)
    annascience2012 likes this.
  10. Nsands11

    Nsands11 New commenter


    Thank you and yup you are correct I’m young 16 coming 17 and my first year of college and first placement. I defiantly know I could’ve handled thing a lot better now
  11. Flanks

    Flanks Senior commenter

    Welcome to the world of working with children! Am nearly 40 and routinely learn the 'I could've handled things a lot better' lesson every week, if not every day! None of us are perfect, what makes us professionals is acknowledging the room for professional growth and trying to take time to be reflective for that purpose.
  12. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    I am confused how you go from ‘at bowls’ where children from your placement happen to be there to ‘playing a game.’ If you see children outside of school, best to ‘blank’ them or just say Hello and that’s it, although I appreciated it may have happened that they just approached you and before you knew it you said what you did.
    It is always bad to say things like this to children, even in jest or ‘banter.’ It may be best to admit what happened to your tutor, but the fact you are 16 is a massive mitigating factor here, doesn’t mean you are not expected to uphold professional standards but you are young and learning and I would be extremely surprised if anything beyond a telling off and ‘don’t do it again’ came of it. The fact you have raised it on here shows a decent level of maturity (but I would advise you NOT to mention to anyone at school or on your course you have been on Workplace Dilemmas.)
  13. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    I take it you're in FE? Or is this some kind of apprenticeship?

    As a matter of interest - did you get your L2 quals in Maths and English? What attracted you to this course?

    In my opinion a student of your age shouldn't be let within a mile of such a role. You're far too young! You've clearly had no proper induction! It's hardly your fault. You've been badly let down.

    But here's a tip. Keep your mouth firmly shut. What happens in school stays in school. Unless there's a safeguarding issue say as little as possible about anything. Express no opinion. Offer no view. Make no comment.

    "School stuff. Confidential. I'm saying nothing."
  14. sunshineneeded

    sunshineneeded Star commenter

    Hi Nsands11, welcome to TES and the world of working with children! What happened was unfortunate, but, as others have said - it shouldn't be a major issue. I hope it has all been forgotten in the excitement of half term. But learn from it and always keep you distance from children you work with if you come into contact with them outside school. A quick 'Hello' and 'Have a lovely weekend' is all you need, then quickly move on. If it is brought up at school, the only thing you can do is apologise and let your supervisor and Head Teacher know that it won't happen again.
    Post any questions and concerns you may have on the Teaching Assistants forum - there are lots of people who will be able to identify with you and support you there.
  15. Nellyfuf2

    Nellyfuf2 Senior commenter

    "I was just joking when I said that. But afterwards I realised that even if you say things as a joke, they can hurt the feelings of other people, so I must say sorry. I did not mean it really. And you lot know that! Because of course, I enjoy working with all of you."
    annascience2012 and sabrinakat like this.
  16. Nsands11

    Nsands11 New commenter

    Nope no maths or English I came straight from GCSE into FE and I was attracted to the course as I have always enjoyed working with children
  17. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter


    Chances are nothing will come of it. If something does, you've apologised, and re-iterate this.

    I'm sorry this has upset you so much. Seeing students outside of school is a minefield. I remember on my first placement a long time ago, my (male) housemate and I went to the cinema together to see a film. A few kids from the placement school where there, in the lobby, to see a different film. Cue Monday morning "Oh, is that your boyfriend Miss?" I got embarrassed and tried to defend myself, which of course made them more interested! Now I'd have brushed it off with "nope, and our learning objective for the day is..." As others have said, just smile and nod when you see students. Good luck with the rest of your placement.
    annascience2012 likes this.

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