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Year Group Colleague - sucks out all the life and ideas from us

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by kazza1968, Mar 3, 2011.

  1. Hello, we are slowly losing the will to go into work. We work in Reception with three parallel classes and our colleague relies on the two of us for everything (including planning, ideas, resources). We would be happy to share what we have if she were to make just some contribution to the workings of Foundation 2.

    She uses the excuse that she 'hasn't a clue what to do in Reception because I've never taught this year group in all my 12 years of teaching'. She worked for one term in Reception before going on Maternity Leave before returning in September 2010.

    Our FS Co-ordinator has been incredibly supportive and amenable towards our colleague and has sent her on relevant courses such as 'Letters and Sounds'. We intially offered our support gladly and willingly but have now realised that we are doing all the graft without any contribution from our colleague.

    She copies everything of ours - even displays (down to identical captions) when we have tried to stress the importance of celebrating the differences in our three classes. She has taken to lurking in the ICT suite where we send our work to the printers. She grabs it hot off the printer and says 'that's really brilliant, I'll take a copy'.

    I do choose to spend some of my free time (and funds) rummaging in charity shops and boot fairs to supplement the school resources. I also bring in some artefacty things and my children's old toys for the class to borrow. When she sees my little things she claims that it is 'unfair that the three classes do not have the same resources and I simply don't have any money to buy anything for my class at all'. She wants me to provide for her class too?

    She seems to expect everything to be laid on a silver platter for her and I have grown disproportionately (I admit it!) antagonistic towards her attitude. If I hear 'but doesn't anyone realise how hard it is for me when I have a 13 month old baby to look after as well as working full time?' I won't have any tongue left to bite. She readily admits that she refuses to do ANY school realted work at home and has made it clear that she can't wait to conceive again so that she can leave teaching and become a childminder ('yee hee, I won't have to pay any tax!').

    Thank you for giving me the opportunity to rant. If you have any ideas for coping with this situation, I would greatly appreciate it.


     
  2. Hello, we are slowly losing the will to go into work. We work in Reception with three parallel classes and our colleague relies on the two of us for everything (including planning, ideas, resources). We would be happy to share what we have if she were to make just some contribution to the workings of Foundation 2.

    She uses the excuse that she 'hasn't a clue what to do in Reception because I've never taught this year group in all my 12 years of teaching'. She worked for one term in Reception before going on Maternity Leave before returning in September 2010.

    Our FS Co-ordinator has been incredibly supportive and amenable towards our colleague and has sent her on relevant courses such as 'Letters and Sounds'. We intially offered our support gladly and willingly but have now realised that we are doing all the graft without any contribution from our colleague.

    She copies everything of ours - even displays (down to identical captions) when we have tried to stress the importance of celebrating the differences in our three classes. She has taken to lurking in the ICT suite where we send our work to the printers. She grabs it hot off the printer and says 'that's really brilliant, I'll take a copy'.

    I do choose to spend some of my free time (and funds) rummaging in charity shops and boot fairs to supplement the school resources. I also bring in some artefacty things and my children's old toys for the class to borrow. When she sees my little things she claims that it is 'unfair that the three classes do not have the same resources and I simply don't have any money to buy anything for my class at all'. She wants me to provide for her class too?

    She seems to expect everything to be laid on a silver platter for her and I have grown disproportionately (I admit it!) antagonistic towards her attitude. If I hear 'but doesn't anyone realise how hard it is for me when I have a 13 month old baby to look after as well as working full time?' I won't have any tongue left to bite. She readily admits that she refuses to do ANY school realted work at home and has made it clear that she can't wait to conceive again so that she can leave teaching and become a childminder ('yee hee, I won't have to pay any tax!').

    Thank you for giving me the opportunity to rant. If you have any ideas for coping with this situation, I would greatly appreciate it.


     
  3. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    I assume you plan together. Does she come up with ideas during planning sessions?
     
  4. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    Maybe her confidence has plummeted. Perhaps she senses your antagonism and feels crushed into inertia by it.
     
  5. breadmaker

    breadmaker New commenter

    Assuming that you do all plan together, then why not split the planning into 3 and allocate a time during your PPA where you all go off and then come back in a hours time etc. to share what you have done? It can be very draining when 1 person doesn't pull their weight, but also in a 3 form school, I have found that it inevitably ends up being 2 and 1 in a year group amongst the staff. I would share out the tasks on a list, then she can see what is expected of her and you are giving her chance to contribute also. If her knowledge of R is in question, then she needs to be honest and ask your FS Co if she can have some release tiem to observe in other classes or, even better, other schools, then she is not made to feel inferior to yourselves and going out to other settings could give her some new ideas to contribute when she comes back.
     
  6. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    That isn't really planning together. Planning together means sitting around a table and bouncing ideas of each other, developing them and refining them. I really miss that now that I teach in a single entry school.
     
  7. Oh Inky! Thank you for reading.
    Yes we plan together and she usually takes on role of typist as she is fast. In between the tapping of keys there is huffing, puffing and deep sighing. We ask how her class have found things and she answers 'yeah, yeah, just like your classes'.
    We plan everything together and we try to be as explicit as possible. However, I do think that although our objectives should be the same, I feel that each teacher can reach those objectives in whichever way that will appeal and engage his/her own children.
    For example, we recently looked at Traditional Tales ie. Jack and the Beanstalk, Goldilocks and the Gingerbread Man. All three classes baked GM during our weekly cooking sessions (for which she has bought just one lot of ingredients since September. All the other times the other teacher and I have taken it in turns as her excuse is that she does not have time to go shopping for stuff for school) and some of my children were disappointed that their GM had not tried to escape from the oven! They watched the oven door and listened intently for GM cries.
    So I set up a GM hunt around the school for them. As the clues were coming out of the printer and being intercepted she asked 'What's this?' When I explained she replied 'WHY are you doing that? It's not on the planning is it? We should all be doing the same.'
    I've been told that she creeps about my classroom when she arrives in the morning and it's now obvious why because we have identical classrooms right down to furniture arrangement, displays, tablecloths, signs. Aaaaagh! Every classroom should haved its own personality determined by its inhabitants. But ours just look like twins!
    A happy bunny I am not.






     
  8. Thank you for your feedback, Breadmaker. You are so right about the 2 + 1 dynamics and the workload is not being divided equally. She just takes, takes, takes. I could suggest planning together for the first half of the session and then finding a laptop each to type up the plans.
    Great idea about visiting other settings too. She has been once and when asked if there were any good ideas she'd seen in action, she just answered 'yeah' but did not elaborate even when asked by FS Co-Ord.

     
  9. great ideas breadmaker and very empathetic inky. I would just add that a course on 'letter and sounds' has very little to do with teaching in the foundation stage. It is not a preparation and is no substiture for understanding young children, their needs and learning styles and how to teach to them. A bit of oomph is needed in the flame, that is intitiative and energy by anyone who wants to be good at what they do. Experience and increased knowledge provide the fuel for that particular flame of enthusiasm to burn. Visits to other settings (in particular nursery schools and centres) and courses on symbolic play, organisation of the learning environment, language development or others that encourage along the line of reflecting professionally on what we do, would I think help her. Quite right that she should baulk at doing things at home - like unecessary planning and learning journeys- she does have a very important second (or first?) job as a mother of a baby/toddler. The unecessary bureaucracy of the foundation stage has to be put in perspective and sometimes the order of real-life priorities should be a big hint to everyone. Unfortunately many heads and advisors and even colleagues are beyond child-rearing age and accept unreasonalble intrusions into their personal time and space- their recovery and recharging zone. It is not so complicated this work with young children. There are many styles and qualities of teacher t have worked and can work very effectively. The obesssion with written planning, differentiation and assessement can be daunting and damaging to others who might work in a different - and equally effective way. Fro yourpost it is not celar what are the motivations, inspirations and skillls of this person in question.Pull together, be inspired by live of the children and the job. The qualities you show to her will be qualiteis the children will absorb and learn from.
     
  10. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery
    it sounds to me as if she is very insecure and out of her depth and obviously sees you as a good role model
     
  11. Thank you Yohana - I have read many of your previous posts on other matters and always feel inspired by your passion, beliefs, thoughts and eloquence.
    Oomph, intitiative and energy - that's exactly what I feel is lacking.
    As a mother of three, I also struggle to meet the elusive 'work/life' balance but for me (and everyone else bar a few, I suppose), teaching is not just about providing a salary. Although I find it exhausting and have often considered leaving the profession to set up my 'dream little cafe/antiques/book/ arty place' I am still here after over a decade. Although loathe to go into school during the holidays, for me, it just has to be done - also, my youngest two relish the opportunity to cause havoc in the classroom. It's just another facet to the job that my colleague does not understand. 'Do you have to come in, it's making me feel guilty'. My time management skills are not a strength so 'yes, I do have to come in'.
    I agree that doing extra planning and filling in Learning Journeys at home is awful and I very rarely do this. However, I do think it's not too outrageous to make up a batch of playdough for my class whilst making some for my own children. Similarly, collecting conkers and other Autumn treasures or hunting for seashells and pebbles are other activities I do in my own time every year. It's just one of the many things that have been incorporated into the annual cycle of the school year. When I bring in these resources, my colleague tells me that they should be provided by school and it's not fair.
    The visits to other settings and courses you mention sound ideal for every FS practitioner and my colleague is already ahead of me in this respect. Our school budget and the financial constraints have meant that in the seven (not consecutive) years I have taught in Reception, I have not had the chance to attend any such courses. What I do with the children in my class each year is borne out of my experiences with my own children, lots of googling on the internet, bookshops and TES forums! 'What's TES?' she asked us when we told her where we looked for inspiration of all sorts.
    Your last piece of advice is to 'pull together'. I will ponder on this and see how it can be done without the two of us feeling hard done by.
    As always, you have provided substantial portions of food for thought and I am really glad that you have made me see things from another perspective.



     
  12. Thank you for that Msz!
    There's being a good role model and there's being a person who's slowly becoming mad and gets short shrift if I have the audacity to 'do my own thing' that's not in the planning.
    Instead of a negative (dare I say an agressive) attitude towards me, it would be so much easier if she just adopted a more pro-active approach and did what she feels is right for her children?

     
  13. cariad2

    cariad2 New commenter

    I also teach Reception in a 3-form entry school. The way that we plan is that we do the long-term and mid-term planning together. Then we rotate the short-term planning. That helps with work load, as you only have to plan once every three weeks.
    Whoever has done the planning brings it to the weekly planning meeting, and goes through it with the other 2. We often get extra ideas as we discuss the plan, so these can get added in. One of our team was an NQT last year, so she obviously needed some support to begin with, but she was able to make a valuable contribution. So I can't see why an experienced teacher, albeit one with not very much Foundation experience, couldn't plan in this way.
    It could be, as other posters suggested, that this teacher lacks confidence. But it seems that she's been offered a lot of support, and to be honest, I do think it's up to her to ask for help if she needs it.
    I don't think having a baby works as an excuse for not pulling your weight. I went back to work full-time when Cariadlet was 7 months old. I used to pick her up from her grandparents, spend time with her, do bath and bedtime and then have to do school work in the evening. I was able to plan and assess, make resources, and do what ever else needed doing to be an effective teacher and an effective part of the team.
    Yes it is bloody knackering during term-time. But I think that if you choose to have a family and also teach full-time, and you aim to do both jobs reasonably well, then you have to accept that.
     
  14. Thanks to you too, Cariad2 for your insights into a three form entry Reception. It's been enlightening and I will certainly raise the possibility of 'changing our ways' before it gets completely out of hand.
    I agree entirely with you about not being able to use your baby as an excuse for not pulling your weight. In fact, I avoid using my children as an excuse for anything, at all costs! It's a difficult call when one or more of them is ill but I am lucky to have a partner and a marvellous Mother who can often step in at short notice. My colleague has taken several days/ mornings/afternoons off for baby related things and I cringe when I hear she is off again because of 'child related issues'. She does have a partner and the staff wonders why the onus falls on her every time? She has to leave her class of 30 with a HLTA who has been pulled away from other duties while he does . . .? If this were the exception then there is no problem but it appears to be occurring on a regular basis. Is this a harsh, uncaring attitude?
    Yes, I also feel strongly that you have to make certain compromises in your own life and lifestyle if you choose to have a family and work. The two are not incompatible but boy, oh boy, you need deep reserves of strength, energy and initiative.






     
  15. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    Maybe she isn't so lucky. God, I how I hate the word issue. Believe me, you would stay with your child without a moment's hesitation [I hope] if s/he was ill and there was nobody there to help.As for her husband/partner, he might be under even greater pressure to turn up regardless.
    I feel sorry for all of you.

     
  16. Harder in the Foundation Stage but maybe splitting the planning up a bit more would help make her pull her weight?
    We (and I'll admit it was slightly further up the school) used to collaboratively plan/bounce ideas for things and then we'd go away and one of us would plan half the subjects, the other would plan the other half - and what you'd planned, you resourced for across the entire yeargroup - either by delivering it at a different time and sending the books/scales or whatever over to the other class when you'd finished with it, or bunging extra stuff through the photocopier or whatever (obviously we tweaked it for our classes but the bulk of it was done then). Making it crystal clear that X is her responsiblity might cut down on the freeloading a touch - but obviously that's harder with Foundation Stage where things are much more joined-up than further up the school in many cases.
    Could you either alternate weeks for planning - all bounce the ideas and get a rough outline and it's up to one of you in turn to produce the planning in its "neat" (mine was always anything but!) format with the required extra stuff - so things like the ingredients for the three classes for cooking and the like... so you all get 2 out of 3 weeks "off" so to speak - and pitch it to her in that way, or split the focused activity resourcing, planning and organisation up between the course of the week. Pitch it as reducing everyone's workload and cross year group consistency?
    At the moment she sounds either desperately insecure in her own ideas (and I feel that because I can be at times) and knowledge, or just freeloading and playing secretary. If she's better with computers - perhaps you can key into that with resource production/IWB flipchart fiddling etc as part of her strengths?
     
  17. boatmanco

    boatmanco New commenter

    Just TELL her that you are fed up with doing all the work and that you are fed up with her copying you!
    I would.....she is not the only one who works full time and is a mother...grrrrr...this makes me cross.
    Surely your weekly planning should reflect what YOUR class are enjoying at the moment anyway so even though your long term planning would be done together, your topics and weekly planning would be completely different? If you are following the interests of the children then each class would be quite seperate. You could still find links for all 3 classes when planning together.
    Anyway, hope it sorts itself out!
    Just reread my post....a bit harsh but its been a hell of a week!
     
  18. OK...so she, in a sense, steals time from you. You are full of ideas and plans, and she just follows. You do extra work, outside of school hours, and she benefits from that. You understandably feel resentment.
    On the other hand, she sees you being dynamic and full of ideas, doing lots of stuff extra to contracted hours, spending time and money getting extra resources and being generally sickeningly enthusiastic and eager (her perception). She also knows that you have young children and yet you still commit long hours and lots of energy to your job. I suspect she sees you as superwoman, and feels a mixture of admiration and resentment.
    I have some sympathy for how she feels. I can imagine it - she has a young baby who is her absolute priority and the love of her life. She has to work for financial reasons and she is happy to do the work but does not want to go the extra mile that teaching can demand. The extra mile is for her baby. The presence of others working over and above what she wants to do makes her feel guilty and threatened and she wishes they wouldn't do it but she tries to tag along with them so that she can keep on top of what is needed.
    I have lots of sympathy for you too, and understand your frustration. However, don't forget, you choose to go that extra mile, and gain satisfaction from doing it.
    I worrry that your colleague may be feeling de-skilled by your expertise, greater experience and enthusiasm. This will make work an uphill struggle for her (not your fault!). Maybe she needs to have an area of planning which is hers and just her responsibility, so that she is not head to head with yourself and the other teacher (your teamwork may seem like that to her). It is probably not best practice to divide the planning up and plan in isolation, but maybe this situation needs that. If she has to come up with planning, display and resourcing for one area this could give her a growing area of expertise... you may need to be patient and bite your tongue!
    Once she has done the work for that area you may feel less resentment about her tagging along with your ideas and resources in other areas - after all that is what she will have to do.
    If she criticises your practice for going beyond what has been planned maybe you just need to say outright that you have time to spend thinking things through and coming up with stuff. You could even say that it was difficult when you had tiny babies to be so creative but not so bad now. In the final analysis, if she doesn't put the extra work in that you do that will be her problem, not yours. She is more likely to suffer criticism than you, so try to let it go.
    As for child-related issues- I remember having to take time off for my sick child in my first year of teaching. I went into school to set up and leave stuff for supply teacher very early before my partner had to leave for his work (he had already taken the previous 2 days off). I was incredibly shocked by my HT's reaction (woulldn't be so shocked now) - she condemned me for asking for time off (I didn't expect to be paid) and said that when her children were small she never took time off, her mother had always looked after them. So I was supposed to have a mum to look after my child - well unfortunately I could not oblige. Not only did i not have a mum available but I also would not have left my child with anyone else when, being unwell, they needed a very familiar adult (actually only myself or my partner really).
     
  19. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    A kind and compassionate post, thumbie, and one that more or less sums up my feelings.
    I didn't quote you in caase you thought I was copying you [​IMG]
     
  20. Thank you to all of you for taking the time to respond in such a heartfelt way. Your own expeiences have been fascinating to read. I'm glowing with the warmth and empathy oozing through the computer screen but have also realised that it's time for me to do some serious thinking about my own attitude to work and family.




     

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