Miss last year's teaching assistant!(10 Posts)
This is going to sound fairly pathetic but I wish my youngest dd (just started Yr 1 today) had last year's teaching assistant. She has kept the teacher she had in reception, but not her TA. There is another TA in her present class who is there because she supports a little boy with special needs.
I took dd to her new class today - both the teacher and TA were at the door. Gave dd a hug and she went in. She then came back out to ask me something and the TA said to me "you're not allowed inside the classroom" (I don't know if it looked as if I was going to go inside but I know the system as my two older children are now in Year 3 and Year 5). My dd whispered to me that she didn't know where to put her bookbag and lunchbox which I relayed to the TA. She then explained that all the children were sitting on the carpet with their stuff waiting for the teacher to show them the ropes - ie. where everything goes. Dd was happy with this and gave me another hug before going back in at which point the TA said "you can't bring Mummy with you, she's too big for the class" (or something along those lines which somehow made me feel as if I was being silly).
Anyway, I know this is nothing, but I couldn't help thinking that last year's TA would have asked dd what the matter was when she came out of the classroom and not simply barked the law about parents in classrooms at me and also she would not have made me feel uncomfortable about hugging my daughter (who is five and a half). The teacher would also have been more understanding but she was talking to other people. I know that the TA was doing her job and managing the entry of children into the classroom but when she saw my dd go in the first time, she could have told her about the bookbag/lunchbox thing then.
I don't know, it was quite hard leaving the kids at school again today. Not my ds in Year 5 who is fine, but my dd in Year 3 was definitely nervous - she will now be upstairs and has a teacher who is good but strict. It was also strange for dd2 - although she has the same teacher as last year, it is a new classroom. I could have done with a little more warmth from the TA. People will probably tell me I should get over myself but I do find it hard that there isn't more contact between parents and school on a day to day basis, after all our kids spend SO much of their time there. It kind of felt as if my kids were starting school for the first time all over again today.
I remember now that the TA in question was in a reception class last year where they were very strict about the "parents in classrooms" rule to the extent that there were some parents who felt very excluded and cut off (given that that was the reception year) and as if they knew nothing about their children's surroundings or what their teacher was like. The teacher and TA my daughter had last year were far more relaxed and flexible though somehow this never got taken advantage of - parents were rarely in the classroom and were respectful of having to be outside the double doors. However if you did need to go in for whatever reason that was fine and you didn't feel as if you would be shot for having set foot over the boundary!
Maybe they are laying more formal foundations now the children are in Year 1? It is natural to compare the current TA to last year's one although a little unfair as you obviously liked last year's TA a lot but perhaps the current TA is being more distant / formal on purpose so that the children know they are in Year 1 now and expected to be more grown up, come in readily, sit down when asked and everything else. Perhaps any TA in Reception is likely to seem more easy going than in Year 1 because of the age of the kids and the expectations they have of them?
I agree with you about the communication. Its the same at most schools that parents want to know the ins and outs of their child's day and friends and activities and progress and no matter how much the school reports back, as parents we want to know much more about it than it is feasible to tell us. When mine were that age I went in and helped a lot which gave me reassurance and the chance to spy on them
Yes I agree that I am being unfair and I did like last year's TA a lot. I agree about year 1 being more formal. I suppose the hard part is that every year you build up a relationship with the staff and then have to start at the beginning again the following year. I still think she could have been friendlier though, I think parents leaving their small children at the beginning of the school year need a little reassurance themselves and not to feel "told off".
It's true that the communication is "never enough" as you say and it would be impossible for schools to pander to all the parents' needs and still do their main job which is to teach the children! I volunteered as well last year (though not in any of my children's years) and that did make me feel a lot better and a lot less separated (even though I hardly ever came across my own children while I was there).
Thanks for your post - I have got over myself anyway. I suppose every time you come across a new member of staff that looks after your children it is part of the process that you learn what they are like and their mannerisms / way of working, and you then work with them to ensure that your child is happy and that you have open communication channels should you need them.
Shocked, don't apologise. She sounds a bit horrid to me. No need to be like that at all. Just be lovely to your dd, and speak directly to the teacher!
I was a TA (male) in an infant school for ten years, and always tried to treat the children with kindness and respect, though I had very little formal contact with parents.
Some teachers and TAs may feel they have to be 'tough' possibly because they lack confidence themselves, and may even be aware that their skills are less than some other staff. Some of the best teachers are often quiet, patient and tolerant of minor lapses of behaviour or effort.
As a child myself I never enjoyed school, which I think is why I try to be considerate to kids I work with.
Now retired, I still do two days a week voluntary help in a very small primary school, mainly supporting reading, and the children are always eager to work with me. When I was a child I used to DREAD having to read out loud; Education has changed a lot!
I am so glad that parents are allowed into the classrooms in our school. Yes it is chaotic and messy in the mornings but only for five minutes and all the children are happy.
Sorry that you have had a hard start to the year - hopefully the TA will chill out abit over the coming weeks, and best thing is that your DD was not affected at all.
I feel so similar. DD just started Year 1 and I totally underestimated the impact on both of us. I have been a bit taken aback by the difference in approach, the teacher seems quite detached, and not wanting to engage with us as parents of what are still very little children!
I'm finding the support of the other mums helpful - just having a little moan about lack of communication in the mornings is helpful. There is a show and tell on friday, we have about five versions of what they have to take in from various 5-year olds. Now the teacher may not really care about the details, but it matters to us parents that we don't cause our children to feel unhappy/confused because we have given them the wrong thing.
Thank you for all your comments - yes I think Yr 1 is a bit of a shock to the system. I know the main thing is that the little ones are happy - but it is difficult to let go!! I hope you get clearer info as to what out your dd needs to bring in for show and tell DownyEmerald .
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