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Verbally abusive TA

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by littlezee, Mar 17, 2012.

  1. Hi everyone - I would really appreciate your support/advice

    On Friday I had to speak with a TA in my class as she had accused me of creating a bad atmosphere in the classroom because some mornings I sit & work quietly (I am the class teacher). I discussed the differences between our two jobs & she then stated that I 'took the p***' when I asked her (with another TA) to take a group of children to an activity outside of class & I stayed behind to work with the remaining children.
    I stated that it was part of my role as the teacher to direct her & the other staff in activities and she stated that the 'she didn't give a s***' and stood up and left the classroom, slamming the door and telling me that 'i can write that in my sh****' little notes'.

    This TA has behaved this way in previous classes but has never been spoken to about it. She does struggle with her moods & has started snapping at the children and the other adults in class ( I was planning on talking to her about this in our less than successful meeting) . I've also just discovered that in this last week she has been saying to other staff in the school that 'I am mean to her' and that I am taking out the stresses of my job on her. I have 3 TA's (I work in SEN) and they have all stated that I treat them fairly. I have spoken with my SMT about this and they agree that her behaviour is unprofessional & unacceptable, but have asked me what I would like to do about it?
  2. I have been in a similar situation before. I would ask SMT to speak to her, and to notify you of the outcome. This will probably make her more angry towards you, but she needs to be told how this is unacceptable. In my school this would result in a verbal warning from HT if corroborated.
    Of course, she may well deny the conversation took place, but will know that her card has been well and truly marked. In future class meetings, make sure you have an agenda, give them out beforehand - asking staff if they want to add anything, and the first item should be 'Clarification of staff duties' or something similar. Also, take minutes of the meeting at the time, photocopy them, then get everyone to sign them as a true record.
    There may be all sorts of reasons for her behaviour, but that does not excuse it.
  3. I am a Teaching Assistant and find the whole episode shocking. If any TA in our school spoke to a teacher like that it would result in a verbal warning.
    A good TA is very clear about the difference between their role and the teachers. I have not planned the lesson so I can't always know why a teacher makes a particular decision but I have to trust their professional judgement.
    Sometimes it doesn't suit me - 'Oh great I got the hands on practical activity involving buckets of water and measuring outside while the teacher gets to stay inside in the warm' but do I want to stay inside in charge of the whole class -oooh no thanks!
    Teachers and TAs work hard, it comes with the territory and anyone not prepared for a relentless slog is in the wrong job. It's not up to me to decide who does what and when. The advantage of the TA role is that you don't have the job of planning the lesson, the disadvantage is that you don't get a say in how it is done.
    So your TA has decided that you sitting quietly in class (marking?) means you aren't working directly with children and asking her to do so means that you are taking the pee! Sounds like she has a chronic case of 'Can'tBeArseditis' - what did she expect you to do? Ask her to complete your medium term planning? Is there some secret rule that TAs get to decide what the class teacher does?
    Sounds like a thoroughly difficult colleague who has somehow been allowed to think that she rules the roost. You did the right thing in challenging her. Coming into a classroom and critiquing a lesson is inappropriate and based solely upon personal opinion. Teachers have countless lesson observation from SMT any problems can be picked up in this way.
    If this TA has had Teacher training and specialist training in observing lessons, then good for her and her opinion may be worth listening to. I very much doubt that this person has enough knowledge to critique you so tough luck it's a case of 'put up and shut up'.
  4. Crowbob

    Crowbob Lead commenter

    A thoroughly sensible post, LaureRichis.

  5. Thank you so much for your reply. I worked as a TA before I started my teacher training and would never, ever speak to anyone in my school in that way, no matter who they were.

    I forgot to say that my reference to my 'working quietly' in class is before the children arrive. I like to get in early to set up for the day & clear paperwork - my TA's are occasionally in before their start time and like to sit & chat/have their breakfast. I apparently create tension in the room by working when they want to have 'fun'. I only direct them to a task when it is past their start time & they are still chatting.

    I also work with children with challenging behaviour and always stay with the most challenging - I never ask her to work with these children without my support or that of my senior TA.

    P.S I would love to work alongside you in my class - fancy a job? :)
  6. chriszwinter1

    chriszwinter1 New commenter

    While agreeing with the posts above, I would add that it is unacceptable for any adult to behave like that towards anyone else in the school and the respective positions in the hierarchy do not override courtesy.
  7. For a short while, we had a TA with us, who just got up everyones' noses. Given what happened at the school subsequently, we wondered whether she was some sort of agent provocateurse1[​IMG]. She would interrupt during lesson and then give us little homilies about how we should haev done things. After lesson four on Friday, I had had enough and just said to her, out of any other earshot, 'me teacher, you teaching assistant, understand!'.
  8. Sorry I misunderstood your original post but this TAs behavior is even more shocking.
    How old is this TA-twelve?? She likes to have breakfast and chat with her mates and you 'spoil' things by working!!! God forbid teachers should try to prepare for the day!
    Send them to my school, I start work the minute my feet get through the front door and no TA would stand about watching a teacher working without asking if there is anything they can do to help! It's about team work -or at least it should be!
    Surely this TA cannot make a complaint about you, she wouldn't have a leg to stand on. You directed her to work-she had a hissy fit. Presumably she has been difficult with other people as well as you.
  9. grrmummy

    grrmummy New commenter

    LOL ! But did she?[​IMG]
  10. kittylion

    kittylion Senior commenter

    Yes what DID she say? I'm all agog here!
  11. Thank you all for your replies - you've no idea how helpful you've been. The allegations/complaints have already started it seems. The reassuring thing is that she has done this before (almost word for word) and I have kept note of all incidents because I was so concerned his would happen. I have also kept note of everything I have done to support her. I'm still dreading tomorrow - people are so scared of her they daren't say a word against her in case she finds out. One of my TA's asked me not to pair them together as she found working with her 'horrific' - she then begged me never to tell her she'd said that (They are best friends!). Thanks again everybody.
  12. chriszwinter1

    chriszwinter1 New commenter

    And that's what she thrives on.
    You expect that kind of immaturity from year 9, not from grown adults.
  13. I hate to disappoint everyone but she just pushed assed me and huffed out of the room. I fully expected to hear more about this from our 'New Head' but, strangley, never did. Very soon after, she just disappeared. She was only with us for a little while. Given what other people have said on here, her behaviour was more like that of a stroppy, self-important fifteen year old, although she must have been nearer forty.
  14. spectra75

    spectra75 New commenter

    write up a minute to minute running order. keep her on her toes and give her jobs she doesnt like.
    put up the hireachy on your door for her to see every time she's entering.
    Mrs x TEACHER
    MRS Z NUrsery nurse
    I beleive in team work but she's asking for this.

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