Advanced search

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.

blackcoffee Wed 21-Nov-12 23:32:27

it's actually an important part of the EY curriculum. I am a couch potato by nature but am embracing the outdoors, as good provision.

clattypatty Wed 21-Nov-12 23:34:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

lisad123 Wed 21-Nov-12 23:38:29

Lol poor things! You do know the catching cold from getting wet is a wife's tale right?
I walked dd home from school in the rain, she loves rain, splashing the noise of the wind. I wish so many people would get past the "you only learn sat at a desk in the classroom".

Op I'm sorry you have TA from hell, I had a colleague like this once, sadly I left as management refused to deal with her and she made my life hell (not teacher or TA). It hard to change some people and you need to discuss it with the head. Point all the things the children aren't learning by her refusal to follow your lead.

blackcoffee Wed 21-Nov-12 23:40:16

We have really limited time to sit down together as she arrives a short while before the children and is often in the classroom late, or chatting. We have a face to face meeting once a fortnight which is all we can grab together, I am asking for cover to have it weekly. I regularly ask for views and things the TAs would like to include in the plans - I used to TA and I know how rubbish being excluded can make you feel. They usually wait until the plan's on the wall and then say, oh but what about x or y, or when I am not there just do what they feel like anyway. The atmosphere in the room is not great. I feel she is waiting for me to trip up and relishing it every time I do.

blackcoffee Wed 21-Nov-12 23:42:24

that was to clatty btw
lisa that's great to hear! about the rain I mean, not your colleague. Realistically, this lady is going to be there longer than I am. SLT know because I am not the first one in this situation.

clattypatty Wed 21-Nov-12 23:46:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HSMM Wed 21-Nov-12 23:47:09

Took my 3 yr olds for a walk in the rain the other day and one of them was NOT impressed. When I repeated some of his phrases to his dad, he laughed and said his son had evidently been listening to his mother being caught out by rain. They have great fun splashing in puddles and learning sensory stuff about cold and wet, as well as learning how to deal with it.

No ideas for your TA, apart from maybe buying her some cocoa to help her cope?

blackcoffee Thu 22-Nov-12 00:01:33

thanks everyone - is good to hear that others 'do' rain
as for advice, this morning's convo went - secretary: are you still going on walk? me: what do you think mrs so and so? mrs so and so: it's your decision
me: right then, let's go!
on having to change wet children (they had waterproofs but not the trouser part) - very loudly and crossly in front of other adults 'blackcoffee I don't think we should be outdoors in weather like this' huffing and puffing
no child was upset, but it did create extra work and hassle for the adults
It's not really about the weather, though. It's about the whole situation in the class and how to manage it. The meetings def help, because we can all share views.

PopMusicShoobyDoobyDoA Thu 22-Nov-12 00:20:12

First of all, well done on being an nqt. It's not easy doing a teacher training course, let alone doing it with a household to manage (I'm basing that on you being on mumsnet).

Sorry to hear that your TA is being difficult. I'm still pondering on how to get around the PPA issue, but in terms of her not being there for teacher input etc I think it's time to reset the boundaries. This is what I would do. I'm sure you let her know what is being taught etc, I would also tell her what she needs to be doing while you are doing teaching. Eg supporting EAL children, SEN children etc. I would be really clear about this, and even give her a list of questions on a post it note to ask at appropriate times during the input (usually partner talk time) and also the kind of support she will be providing eg behaviour management, rehearsing a sentence, listening skills or speaking in sentences etc. If she looks like she is not going to comply at the start of input, you would say "Mrs X, I need you to support Ryan, Joshua and Fatima, thank you" and turn away and say "Ryan, Joshua and Fatima go and sit by Mrs X." If she makes an excuse, just tell she can do that later as these children are waiting for her. During input, ask one of the children a question that she should have asked, and if they are struggling, can Mrs X clarify what they said? (Sometimes children forget don't they.)

Does that make sense? You are basically being very explicit of your expectations (just like with the children!). It sounds like she is taking advantage of your inexperience as a teacher and she is getting away with it because you are letting her. You have assert yourself. I know it's hard and she's likely to bitch and moan but guess what, she is anyway. It doesn't matter as long as you pass your NQT, and there's the added bonus that it is better for the children. grin

FWIW, I was a mature NQT with a baby only a few short years ago and I'm on maternity leave cover too but the difference is I love my TA smile.

blackcoffee Thu 22-Nov-12 06:50:49

thanks I get what you are saying pop, although remember these are 3-5 year olds. I have asked her to sit on carpet with them and have given her named children, I do all this. She seems to have a problem sitting on floor - lots of TAs do - she is older. But yes I do direct her to children and tell them to sit with her. I like your advice to be very explicit. I expect by now that she would have 'got' what I want - TA I had yesterday on a one off got it straight away. A much more experienced teacher also had the same experience as I am. I also like your comment she's gonna bitch anyway. I will imagine her as a grumpy child - I've tried the soft approach now I'm going to have to go for boundaries.
a TA you love sounds wonderful
yes I have a household but that's not an issue, I find the time (somehow)

PopMusicShoobyDoobyDoA Thu 22-Nov-12 07:40:09

Yes, treat her like a petulant teenager grin. Oh she gets you, she just chooses to be difficult about it. Sorry, I'd forgotten that you teach a mix class.

She can still sit on a chair and be involved as all the TAs in nursery and reception at the school I work at sit on chairs.

Good luck. Let us know how you get on.

blackcoffee Thu 22-Nov-12 18:40:39

I dunno what happened overnight but she was a changed woman today! pro-active, helpful - trying her best. It's not going to be easy but there was such a lovely atmosphere in the class! And a lovely parent approached me to say she supported me fully in the outdoorsy stuff. I was dreading going to work but it has been a really really good day. The children all wrote about their trip and made maps, literacy and maths - really fab learning coming out of there, everyone absorbed in the experience. Woohoo this is teaching! I do realise it could well be a bit of a blip but nope, there was no more grumpy. Bossy, yes, but no grumpy! I don't love her yet but I don't dread her. Auntevil she even took the children out to play with the leaves (and didn't mention the mud).

PopMusicShoobyDoobyDoA Thu 22-Nov-12 20:34:51

Maybe she read this thread!

Well, anyway enjoy the change and long may it continue.

auntevil Thu 22-Nov-12 20:49:20

grin result - lets hope it is for good smile

Rudolphstolemycarrots Sat 24-Nov-12 13:23:01

write her a weekly/daily timetable. get it in writing so that she can remember

8.40 - welcolme kids
9.00 - sit on carpet with children - modeling the behavior expected
9.30 go through phonics sounds only (phoneme not grapheme - give examples to explain)

Rudolphstolemycarrots Sat 24-Nov-12 13:24:03

Just keep banging on and repeat yourself at every moment 'Ta please can you sit on the carpet now'' x 100

blackcoffee Sat 24-Nov-12 14:31:33

rudolph my weekly plan says things like 'check bookbags' 'tidy' on it! you're right though. Persist ...the rest of the week was much, much better. Am praising the positives (stickers?! wink) am hoping it is onwards and upwards

Welovecouscous Sat 24-Nov-12 14:36:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

blackcoffee Sat 24-Nov-12 14:42:55

thanks smile
I am more of a team person than a manager tbh, being assertive doesn't come easily to me. The advice and support on this thread has been amazing, thanks everyone.

Rudolphstolemycarrots Mon 26-Nov-12 00:13:39

Great news!

blackcoffee Wed 05-Dec-12 20:23:35

blooming awful day. Second TA off, and an excellent supply. So I have the original, difficult one and a fab, keen intelligent one.
Parents in today, I ask new TA to bring them through, as requested by HT, original TA contradicts and tells her not to as they were still mixing paint. She is no help all morning, won't tidy up when asked, and at the end disappears leaving me and new TA to cope with lunchtime - some v upset dc whose parents had just left, and new TA not knowing parents of children going home.
She reappears smiling as there are about 5 dc wailing their eyes out. I ask her v crossly where have you been? she gets upset, HT has her in, she complains, now I am in a meeting with them both to sort out issues. I am basically in the doghouse for hurting her feelings. I have put my case, HT supportive to it, but by now I feel totally demoralised and just want to leave, basically, and never go back.
I am supposed to write down my non negotiables. Like support on the carpet, being on time, tidying up. Basic stuff. I am trying to believe it will work out but I feel really demoralised and totally shit about my job and the school, tbh. I just want out!

Christmaselephantshavewrinkles Wed 05-Dec-12 20:32:34

Give her a list as long s your arm of tnngs she needs to do.. Sharpening all the pencils, checking all the felt pens, covering the display etc.

blackcoffee Wed 05-Dec-12 20:34:12

grin that really made me smile! maybe I should, you know!
will it get done? er, probably not ...

Christmaselephantshavewrinkles Thu 06-Dec-12 07:31:00

Am an LSA BTW but if she has no done the list and ticked off what you have said to do then she is no doing her job.

educator123 Thu 06-Dec-12 15:35:48

How big is the school, would there be any chance of a re shuffle? Do you have much longer left.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now