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TAs at war - any advice?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by bizent, Dec 8, 2019.

  1. bizent

    bizent Star commenter

    I have a class team of 5 really good, hard-working HLTAs and TAs. All brings different things to the table but all have one thing in common - they are there for the kids. Or so I thought.
    Suddenly two of them cannot see eye to eye and it’s now causing tension amongst the others. I’ve spoken to them both separately and it’s clear they don’t get on but I have asked for professionalism from both of them. This hasn’t happened.
    What can I do? Take it further? Bang their heads together? Ignore them?
    Never had a situation like this before and I don’t want it to ruin the best job I’ve ever had!
  2. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    Are you their line manager?

    I think you need to look into it properly if your are, because one might be entirely innocent in this situation, and the victim of the other.

    If that is the case, then you need to go down the disciplinary route with one of them.

    If they are both being unprofessional and it is impacting on the team, then they both need dealing with
  3. bizent

    bizent Star commenter

    I believe I am.

    After speaking to them both, neither are victims believe me!
    Corvuscorax likes this.
  4. Curae

    Curae Star commenter

    I assume you have tried to resolve this situation but to no avail ?

    Both members of staff refuse to listen ?

    Sounds like they are being unprofessional possibly aggressive ?

    If the answer is yes to even just one of my questions ( please don't answer them ) you will have no choice but to do as @Corvuscorax states and go down the disciplinary route ...as much as I hate to say this you can't save everyone and if it's beyond your control go down the SLT /HT route ...that's what they are paid (significantly more) for. And failure to report this asap could place you in a compromising situation.

    I'd act fast !

    Good luck

    Ps BTW don't feel guilty about passing this on either
  5. GreenTrees123

    GreenTrees123 Occasional commenter

    This is clearly unacceptable if it's impacting on their work. We all have disagreements in the workplace, but the needs of the clients/ service users must come first.

    I'm a headteacher and this situation could well require both individuals to be moved to different departments or out of the organisation altogether.
  6. starlightexpress

    starlightexpress Occasional commenter

    If you’ve spoken to them and you’ve asked for professionalism and this has not occurred, then it’s dealing with this more formally.

    You could meet with both together or separately and advise them of your expectations for working in your classroom / the school. Personally I’d do it together then they’re very clear they’re both getting the same treatment.

    Follow it up with a written record- further to our conversation on ... where I set... this is what I expect to see...

    If then they continue the behaviours they are demonstrating, you escalate it, sharing record of the conversations you’ve had.
  7. Kandahar

    Kandahar Star commenter

    Pupils is the word I think you're looking for.

    Regarding TAs...if you pay them peanuts, expect to get...
    lizziescat likes this.
  8. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    Give them an ultimatum that this is the last chance to sort it before you escalate (although it is rapidly approaching Christmas, it is less likely any escalation will be enacted before the New Year.)
    Is it possible to find out the reason for the mutual hostility? School politics can run deep. Maybe they are both after the same member of staff romantically!
  9. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    Speaking to them separately wont really yield much insight. It's a forgone conclusion almost that they will find fault in the other.
    You need to meet altogether. Explain that the meeting is because it is clear they do not get on, and this is impacting on others. Also explain that whilst they may have confidential stuff going on, the meeting is about finding a way to rise above it so it does not impinge on the workplace. Reassure them that the meeting is between you three only. It's a chance to resolve things because you are being nice about it, rather than an actual procedure
    Then go. Chair the meeting. Sit back and listen. You'll need to make sure they get equal time to talk each, and that's about it really. You don't need to say anything, you just need to make sure they get a fair chance to say their own side.
    After the meeting ask them if now that it's all aired, will they be able to proceed differently with each other, less fractiously and more productively?
    It's a yes/no question.
    If no, tell them you need to make it formal. Hand them both the disciplinary policy. That's all.
    If yes, hold them to it, and if nothing changes hold another meeting on a sort of "last chance" basis.

    I think it's quite important that they work it out themselves, but it sounds like you could provide the forum and steering for this. Also important that if this does not work for you, you make it more formal with the kindest possible notice of this.
    sunshineneeded, nomad and Curae like this.
  10. Curae

    Curae Star commenter

    Good advice for SLT but be careful about being alone with these two. I'd pass it on maybe they (SLT) can do the final last chance before going along the formal route.
    Good luck
  11. lizziescat

    lizziescat Star commenter

    Every headteacher/principal/inspector/LA official - even business manager ;) I’ve known or spoken to has referred to ‘pupils’, ‘students’(secondary), ‘children’
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2019
    magic surf bus likes this.
  12. lizziescat

    lizziescat Star commenter

    Are you the head?
    If not, Have you mentioned this to your line manager ( ie outlined problem, explained what you have already done). Perhaps ask them for advice on how to proceed. This brings the LM/Head gently ‘into the loop’ and also gives them a heads up rather than a surprise if things don’t become resolved. They also have a duty of care to you and your stress, workload, performance. They don’t need to become involved but could, knowing the situation in your school etc, might offer contextualised advice. Hey, they might even have encountered a similar issue before.
    Good luck
    sunshineneeded likes this.
  13. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    Actually coming back to this thread I wonder about "the others"
    You are very non specific about the sorts of behaviours shown
    Do you need to meet all five of them and you together?
    I ask this because if "others" are feeling tension around this, how do you know that a bit of indulging in taking sides all round is not taking place?
    Perhaps instead of listening to the two about their conflict they all need to hear the same thing from you-there's nothing you have to say about professionalism and putting the kids first which needs to be a secret.

    We don't know the specifics.
  14. Bedlam3

    Bedlam3 Star commenter

    "I'm a headteacher"

    Oh my.
    IanG likes this.
  15. foxtail3

    foxtail3 Star commenter

    rRapid promotion from a few months ago.
    IanG, Bedlam3 and lizziescat like this.
  16. install

    install Star commenter

    Suggest a move elsewhere in your school where they can work. You need a cohesive team. And they are clearly unhappy in your team.

    That might make them think.
  17. bizent

    bizent Star commenter

    Thank you everyone. I had my first “Sunday terrors” last night because of this so decided to speak to DH this morning as felt myself going in circles. Not sure what she said but today was a dream.
    I don’t think this is the end though....
  18. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Flippin heck! Sounds a bit harsh for a recent change to not seeing eye to eye!

    It could just be 'end of Christmas term itis' and is a very common illness.
    This isn't quite the same as you actually are. When you say 'class team' it seems that you are the teacher and they the TAs. While you do manage them in a day to day sense, you are not the line manager and they are the person who needs to deal with this situation. You've posted elsewhere about having a lovely SLT, so involve the relevant one of them to help.
    IanG likes this.
  19. GreenTrees123

    GreenTrees123 Occasional commenter

    Both the pupils and parents at my place are the clients. It's up to us as a school, including all staff, to meet their needs- just as if we were a restaurant or shop.
  20. IanG

    IanG Occasional commenter

    Wanting to call pupils something other than "pupils" has always seemed suspect to me.

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