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Support staff staying too late

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by cleobud, Oct 14, 2018.

  1. cleobud

    cleobud New commenter

    We have a member of support staff who stays up to 3 hours later than she needs to. She says she's never been a clockwatcher and I'm struggling with what to say to her to get her to leave on time, this is for her own wellbeing and that of the teacher she works with. The teacher has expressed a concern that she cannot get on with her own work after school as this staff member is constantly talking to her after school and faffs around, getting in the way so the teacher cannot concentrate on getting ready for the next day. I fully appreciate what the teacher is saying. I am concerned that this is causing my teacher stress as she has said she feels she is drowning as she can't get on with what she needs to do after school as she is constantly being interrupted. The staff member is trying to be helpful but doesn't do anything after school that takes that length of time and the teacher just wants to be left alone.
    Any advice about how to approach this in a nice way? I have had a conversation about her wellbeing and said I don't want her to stay so late, but I'm concerned if something isn't done soon, my teacher may go off on stress leave.
    Many thanks in advance.
  2. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    Surely the teacher should say to the member of the support staff: 'Much as I'd love to stay and chat, I have work to do...so I'll catch up with you tomorrow' and firmly escort therm out of the room, then close the door!
    Pomza, Mermaid7, sabrinakat and 5 others like this.
  3. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    JYou will have to be direct.Just say this:

    tell her she needs to be off the premises by such and such a time.

    If you don't want to do it individually, send all all staff email around stating what time support staff should be on the premises, and should be off the premises.
  4. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Ooh. That is genuinely tough.

    I think I'd lie. In a good cause.

    "I've been told by HR we shouldn't have support staff staying on after their hours. It's an insurance risk. It has health and safety implications apparently. I didn't fully follow what they were saying but the gist of it is that you have to be out of here by 4 o'clock. Not just you. There are a couple of others I need to speak to."

    Something like that. She won't blame the teacher. There needn't be any awkwardness between them. It sounds plausible. Some excuse like that. Total bull. But it would achieve the desired effect whilst upsetting nobody.
  5. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    I agree with Frank. Another alternative is to tell the class teacher to have a routine perhaps of spending 5-10 minutes with the support staff after the end of the day as a kind of de-briefing. Then have an agreed time that the support staff will leave. The class teacher can explain the new routine to her support staff.

    At least the support staff clearly likes the class teacher and sounds like a hard worker.
  6. sunshineneeded

    sunshineneeded Star commenter

    A very tough one. Lots of good ideas - I think I'd go with GDW's, it seems the least likely to cause anyone offence or upset. Does the school have after school clubs? If she has that much free time, would it be possible for her to run a club some nights? Would give her a focus and extra income.
    chelsea2 and grumpydogwoman like this.
  7. SCAW12

    SCAW12 Occasional commenter

    Get this all the time with support staff popping in to chat. I just stand up and say I'm really sorry but I've got things to do and start moving them to the door whilst smiling. I then sit down and get on with my work. A daily debrief sounds good though and anything after that has to be saved until next debrief.
  8. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    The danger with that is that the person will demand to see it in writing, or go directly to HR (or their Union) and the lie will be exposed.
  9. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Good point Frank .

    SCAW12, at least you are friendly and people want to talk to you - you must be popular.
  10. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    She sounds a very lonely person whose only social contacts are in the school.

    Ask her if she would like to run an after school club for the children.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2018
  11. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Yes, do a club.

    It's very sad though that teachers aren't capable of saying to co-workers that they're frightfully sorry but they're very busy and need to get on and they've no time to talk beyond their official post day briefing of 10 minutes.

    "Honeybun, you know I love you, but I have stacks to do and I need to get my head down and crack on. So you'll get nothing out of me now. I shall be as silent as the grave doing my planning and marking and so on. Please don't be offended. It's not you. It's me."

    Perhaps it's time to teach teachers how to conduct relationships with people who aren't children.
  12. friedgreentomatoes

    friedgreentomatoes Star commenter

    Many, many years ago, the HOD in the school where I was doing my final teaching practice wrote in her report to my university: "Fried is fantastic with the students but needs a bit of practice with the adults" (sorry, a bit off topic!).
  13. cleobud

    cleobud New commenter

    Thank you for the advice. This has been going on for a very large number of years and wasn't addressed previously so difficult to bring in now. We don't have enough children for an after school club.
    Many thanks.
    nomad, pepper5 and grumpydogwoman like this.
  14. Geoff Thomas

    Geoff Thomas Star commenter


    And with particular emphasis on SLT. (Apologies to members of SLT who do behave like mature adults)
    Fluffy_Koala, pepper5 and agathamorse like this.
  15. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    This has been going on for years?

    Should have been nipped in the bud. And it needs to be nipped in the bud now.
    pepper5 and agathamorse like this.
  16. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    You surely must do. If the TA is happy to be in school until 6, then they can run a club until 4 and would probably love doing do. You clearly have at least two classes, so plenty of children for the TA to run an art club, sports club, something similar.
    digoryvenn, nomad and pepper5 like this.
  17. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    In that case I'd tell the teacher how to speak to her TA.

    "Sorry, m'dear, but you have to learn how to handle your staff. You have to be assertive but not aggressive. There's loads of stuff online about it and you'll need to know this. It's part of the job. I'm actually doing it now. With you. I'm trying to tell you that it's up to you to get this over to your colleague and get the result you desire without alienating her. I'm having to be honest with YOU and say that I'm not going to do anything. But I'm trying to be helpful here and think about upskilling YOU. With the best will in the world and wanting the best outcome for all. It's in your hands. You're the appropriate person to sort this. And I'm sure you'll do a grand job of it."
    pepper5 likes this.
  18. saluki

    saluki Lead commenter

    a) If there are not many children in the school the teacher shouldn't need to stay very late in order to prepare for the next day. I am the sort who likes to finish asap, get out that door, and do a bit from home later in the day.
    b) The work load can be made lighter by giving the TA something to do. 'Ooh, I'm rushed off my feet. While you're here would you mind doing this pointless, time-consuming task for me? Then we can both get away earlier.'
    c) She is probably a bit lonely and has nothing to rush home for. Or, feels a bit awkward or guilty about going home when people are still working.
    d) Target to be implemented by Christmas: Everyone to leave the school premises within 90 minutes of children leaving.
  19. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I was thinking about this as well.
    Plenty of pointless maths or SPAG marking the TA could do.
    Also sorting out displays, possibly across the school, including corridors.
    Or some other admin task to help office staff.

    I don't think giving the TA the message she isn't wanted is the best thing, nor is asking the teacher to sort it themselves.
    Fluffy_Koala, digoryvenn and pepper5 like this.
  20. SCAW12

    SCAW12 Occasional commenter

    Thanks pepper5. Try to be friendly and approachable (apart from when standing up and herding people out of my room)! Not sure why but people like my advice?!
    pepper5 likes this.

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