Any teachers who could advise on managing TAs?

(78 Posts)
blackcoffee Tue 20-Nov-12 23:11:32

And before you refer to tes, I've looked!
I'm NQT, mid 40s doing maternity cover in EYFS. One of my TAs has been at the school for ever and has set ideas about how to run the room. In fact I think she has run it, to all intents and purposes, in the past. It's not too bad when I am in class but when I am not (ppa/NQT) the outdoors will be shut and children will be given very controlled activities which are not on the planning. I have addressed a couple of points with her but she doesn't seem to get the concept of child initiated. The HT seems to like the way this works and the other person in the school who has similar view on EYFS has worked with TA and found it impossible, so no real solutions. I am a big fan of early phonics, which TA teaches, and while I don't mind lessons going off plan I want to stress phoneme not grapheme at this point .. which I have explained, but she'll ask me for a box of letters - so I remind her, and she'll agree, oh no, we're not doing letters, just the sounds... I have explained this but it's not sinking in. I feel really unsure of how to handle it all. When I am teaching TA either sits on a chair with a blank expression on her face, interrupts or is off in another room chatting to colleagues. I've tried explaining about being on carpet with children, have modelled the support I give but it might happen once and then back to normal ...I know she means well but I don't know how to get her into a more EYFS way of thinking - and I'm only in there for a mat cover - I can't wait to finish tbh. I'm trying to listen as well as demand, I was a TA before and know how difficult it can be getting used to a new teacher. I am probably going to bed in a moment but it's churning around in my mind so any suggestions would be great. I've already tackled a couple of practical issues. I think the main thing is that she has to accept my authority, and I doubt that is going to happen any time soon. We are due the big o too.

auntevil Tue 20-Nov-12 23:36:42

Has your LEA got any training courses for the new EYFS curriculum that you can send her on - in the interests of keeping her up to date with the changes? She might be more compliant if she realises that it is not just you that wants a change in her outlook?

blackcoffee Wed 21-Nov-12 13:29:05

Good idea, I have suggested some courses and waiting for a response.
I feel very isolated in the school and very unhappy. The only two things that keep me going are the children and the fact that it is temporary.

auntevil Wed 21-Nov-12 17:26:02

I can kind of understand not getting support from SLT as most of their focus is on NC - and not EYFS. I'm not saying that they haven't read and inwardly digested the new curriculum biscuit - but they haven't put it into practise. It was probably a long while since the HT worked (if ever) in EYFS, and probably doesn't realise the implications of an obstructive TA.

mrz Wed 21-Nov-12 17:50:38

Are these nursery or reception children?

blackcoffee Wed 21-Nov-12 19:44:52

both mrz - mixed class

blackcoffee Wed 21-Nov-12 19:46:13

and yy that should have been practice
has been v v bad day!

blackcoffee Wed 21-Nov-12 19:47:16

aunt evil I don't think she does!

Welovecouscous Wed 21-Nov-12 19:51:20

How sad for the children. I think when you finish your mat cover it should be properly raised with the appropriate senior person as an issue

blackcoffee Wed 21-Nov-12 19:58:25

what should I do in the meantime?
took them out for a walk today of all days, it bucketed
nothing but moans and misery from ta who had to change wet children - really impatient with children and obviously not happy saying very loudly we shouldn't go out when it is like this
OK it was a horrible day and maybe I'd have stayed in but I am keen to push outdoor learning in a school where it's not really happening - ta made the whole day really terrible, she has known lots of parents for ages and they were all hmm about going
other younger ta, not one I usually work with was really supportive and said it's only a bit of rain children had a good time etc
I explained to HT why I decided to go and she said she'd back me to parents but tbh I think she thinks I'm mad as a box of frogs
I'm used to forest school etc

blackcoffee Wed 21-Nov-12 22:14:32

anyone ideas?

auntevil Wed 21-Nov-12 22:26:50

My SIL is an NQT covering maternity, and she asked the HT for a different TA as she did not find her supportive - she got her way.
Realistically, she sounds as if she is very set in her ways.
If it's any consolation, we have a classroom with open access to the garden and there were tons of children who played out in the wind and rain through choice. We all joined in pretending to get blown away. They loved watching any remaining leaves getting blown off the trees. They also learnt that it is not practical to sweep up leaves when it is blowing a gale grin
So if you are as mad as a box of frogs, jump to a different lily pad when you have finished covering. There are many different ponds to try.

blackcoffee Wed 21-Nov-12 22:36:50

thanks for your kindness auntevil, your school sounds a dream
ours could be too .... if only
I'd happily swap TAs but noone wants her grin she works with N mainly

auntevil Wed 21-Nov-12 22:39:35

Just remember, no school is perfect grin

blackcoffee Wed 21-Nov-12 23:02:19

Do you want her, aunt evil? grin she could come and grumble about your leaves

auntevil Wed 21-Nov-12 23:04:54

1 word blackcoffee - NO! grin

CindySherman Wed 21-Nov-12 23:08:49

You took them for an outdoor class today? shock

blackcoffee Wed 21-Nov-12 23:09:33

yup - a long walk to a very muddy field

auntevil Wed 21-Nov-12 23:12:13

A lot depends on where you are in the country.
Ours were wrapped up warm, welly boots if they didn't have their own suitable footwear.
The outside environment is always open for learning.
It would be a sad day in the UK if we only went out in good weather grin

CindySherman Wed 21-Nov-12 23:15:55

Wow it is going to be quite nice tomorrow. Today was absolutely torrential. What a day to choose to do that with such little ones.

HalfSpamHalfBrisket Wed 21-Nov-12 23:20:15

Cindy - They neither melt nor rust - outside is great fun. <Gets waterproofs ready for tomorrow's forest school sessions>

LackaDAISYcal Wed 21-Nov-12 23:21:36

Ours are outdoors in all weather too. school supply waterproof suits and they have free access to the outdoor space all day.

tomorrow is woodland school day, where they will schlep through the rain and build dens. They will love it. unfortunately <coughs> I can't help out as I'm at college learning to be a TA!

sorry that's probably not helpful op, and I don't really have any advice, other than suggest courses. or could you arrange a visit to a local school who has fully embraced EYFS? our school is very proud if their set up, modelled on some Italian system and show groups round all the time. maybe your TA would benefit from seeing how others do it?

LackaDAISYcal Wed 21-Nov-12 23:26:10

Cindy, outside is good! My DS comes home shattered, but happy, and has such a lot to talk about. They even have fires and toast bread and marshmallows! And I think ours are healthier for being outdoors all the time. There seems to be less snottiness all round!

CindySherman Wed 21-Nov-12 23:29:47

Do you think ? I honestly would think they would all be ill
at the end of an outdoor class on a day like today. In Kent it was horrendous. I do see the fun of being out on a sunny dry day in spring, but November ?! - poor things!

blackcoffee Wed 21-Nov-12 23:30:27

Reggio Emilio? yes I think a look at a forest school would be great
To be honest it wasn't the greatest day for a walk, given that it's not an outdoorsy kind of school. I accept that. We plan these things ahead of time, given that we invite parents. And so I went for it.

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