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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 Thu 06-Dec-12 17:22:43

It's a tiny school and I have one more term to get through, though even one more day is beginning to seem too much to cope with. Since she has been to HT she is rude, interrupts, and leaves early. And I can't say a word. She has seen off a succession of teachers, I am not the first. I dread going to work tomorrow. The only supportive person is my NQT mentor who is being sidelined. The working relationship between us is, to be honest, now pretty much beyond repair.

blackcoffee Thu 06-Dec-12 17:23:27

she is not doing her job now, christmas. But no one dares tell her.

dikkertjedap Thu 06-Dec-12 21:09:16

Lisad - Actually no.

It was long thought that catching a cold from cold, wet weather was an old wife's tale until researchers found that there is actually truth in it.

If you are already developing a virus (you may not know this) which your immune system is fighting and then you get cold and wet, then your body will have to prioritise warming up above fighting the virus. This is currently believed to be the reason that people become ill after having become v. cold/wet.

Our body gives top priority to keeping sufficiently warm to the detriment of fighting viruses.

educator123 Thu 06-Dec-12 22:06:49

I was intrigued about the size of school as I've never come across nursery age and reception together? But have come across a school with reception and yr1& or 2 together.

blackcoffee Thu 06-Dec-12 22:23:05

well it makes more sense than mixing EYFS with NC - I've come across it before and it can work really well with a good team
am at wits' end for what to do next here, though

educator123 Thu 06-Dec-12 22:27:53

I feel for you, you sound like you are really keen to inspire the children. And rubbish if you haven't got the support.

Maybe seeing the HT again might be worth ago?

blackcoffee Thu 06-Dec-12 22:30:30

thanks so much, I will try it, it is worse than no support, she is actually quite rude
has v different manner with HT, however
I have asked for the thread to be taken off now, I have had some great advice and support, thanks so much

admission Fri 07-Dec-12 18:20:23

This is not your problem, the problem is really the head teacher. Firstly because they are not apparently prepared to sort out this TA and evading their management responsibilities and secondly because they have no comprehension of what is now necessary in EYFS.
When are Ofsted next due because what you describe is going to get them a gold star for going into special measures if they are not carrying out the EYFS curriculum.
As you now have no working relationship with this TA, I think you might as well tell the head teacher that you do not need her in your classroom, as she is more of a hindrance than a help. It might get her out of your hair or if the head teacher really is stupid it might get you an early finish to your supply cover at the school.

blackcoffee Sat 08-Dec-12 19:49:49

yes, special measures is on the cards. There have been lots of changes of SLT and no one has been prepared to tackle the issue, teachers have either let TA run class or gone long term sick. (this is not the only issue in the school btw)
I have a meeting with HT and TA next week where I am supposed to listen to TA's issues and produce a list of my own requirements - punctuality, politeness etc ... bit cynical about what this will achieve tbh
How likely is it I will be able to finish early without risking references etc? (my teaching in the school has been rated consistently good with os features both internally and externally)

ProphetOfDoom Sat 08-Dec-12 20:26:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

blackcoffee Sat 08-Dec-12 22:13:51

exactly - I am the one accountable for the classroom, so I have to manage it, and managing it is impossible at the moment. I do welcome ideas and suggestions ...
At the moment HT is aware of the position but fairly sympathetic to and reliant on TA who is long serving - for instance HT will ask TA directly about current registrations, while I am sitting in the same room, TA goes direct to HT to ask for time off to do other tasks, and I am told after it has been agreed even though on a recent occasion it was actually quite inconvenient as class had to be prepared for an event.
I am also on the back foot for having 'upset' the TA by asking her whereabouts!
I feel this actually needs a strong rather than a conciliatory management line and I don't have a great deal of confidence in the way it is being dealt with. I think any HT who wants to turn school around has to have a strong stomach.
Yes, I will need to talk to HT privately as well as in the meeting - which I am dreading.
The atmosphere is palpable - my very capable supply TA has picked up on it already and I'd be surprised if dc aren't aware at some level.

ProphetOfDoom Sat 08-Dec-12 23:18:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

blackcoffee Sat 08-Dec-12 23:41:54

I don't think it's because I'm NQT - I'm oldish and fairly assertive! other staff, yes - anyone she has worked with directly - the other teachers she 'saw off' were experienced! I've just spent the time off this thread writing a list for the meeting, two pages A4 and that's without mentioning sharpening the pencils grin.
There are literally no jobs in my area atm. Am hoping more come on at Xmas. It's a temporary contract so I'm lose-lose really - in the unlikely event I sort things out I'm gone in a term anyway, and everyone knows that. I'd chill out and go for the easy option if my conscience let me!

IndigoBelle Sun 09-Dec-12 08:00:24

Feel really sorry for you - and the kids. Sounds like a dreadful situation all round.

I'm not a teacher so haven't commented so far - but is there any way you can just ask for her to be reassigned and you have no TA for the last 2 weeks of term?

cornycarrotshack Sun 09-Dec-12 11:42:08

What an awful situation for you.

I think that she is bullying you, albeit very subtly - refusing to follow your instruction, purposely undermining you by interrupting the lessons and contradicting you in front of the children, going behind your back to the HT.
Her behaviour is ultimately resulting in your feeling that you can't face going in.

Are you in a union? They may be able to provide some advice about how to approach this with the Head.

blackcoffee Sun 09-Dec-12 12:01:37

thanks for all the advice and support
indigo you always have sensible things to say - in any case it's no so much a teaching issue as a people issue here, I feel. In many other businesses I imagine it would have been cracked down on a lot sooner. I can't ask for her to be reassigned because we need X adults for a correct ratio and she is one of the few in-house TAs with the necessary qualification.
I am a union member but have found them very slow getting back to me with advice in the past - I looked at their online faqs about bullying and while I certainly have a few of the symptoms that they suggest are associated with bullying I feel it's all a bit too low key and minor to make a formal complaint until in-house procedures have been attempted.
The meeting will not be tomorrow - do you think I should see HT before we all meet together and tell her just how bad it is? she thinks I am coping - I am, but it's not the classroom it could be.

IndigoBelle Sun 09-Dec-12 12:47:01

Def get in a private meeting with the HT before the official one!

You (unfortunately) have to get much better at politics and 'playing the system' - and 'premeetings' are certainly part if that.

blackcoffee Sun 09-Dec-12 12:58:29

yes, indeed - am crp at politics, always have been
knew as soon as TA got in first I was on back foot - 'she didn't come to me but she was obvs v upset' .. maybe I should take my hanky! grin I really really can't be doing with all the passive aggressive manipulative silliness that happens in the adult world of work!
so, go on, Machaevelli - whaddoo I say .. and how?!

cornycarrotshack Sun 09-Dec-12 13:40:35

state exactly what she is doing that is to the detriment of the children's learning and prevents you from doing your job to the best of your ability

bring up the points about Ofsted already mentioned in the thread

use objective language

write it down - hand the Head a copy

if the Head refers to her being 'very upset' about you asking her where she was, refer to your written statement which explains the consequences of her going AWOL for you and the children when she should have been assisting you with the class

IndigoBelle Sun 09-Dec-12 14:15:12

I agree with writing out what you want to say (probably in bullet points) and leaving a copy with the HT.

And keeping it all factual not emotional

And linking every point with how it is detrimental to the kids learning / ofsted / EYFS goals.

And don't get drawn into if the TA is or isn't upset. That is absolutely not your concern. Your concern is teaching the children what they need to know.

So don't let the HT sidetrack you. Make it all about how the kids aren't learning and ofsted will be upset.

blackcoffee Sun 09-Dec-12 14:50:33

thanks so much, writing it out has really helped a lot.
really appreciate all the advice.

IndigoBelle Mon 10-Dec-12 18:45:21

How did today go?

blackcoffee Mon 10-Dec-12 19:30:21

I have listed my concerns and HT is going to mull them over. Looking a bit more optimistic, thanks!

ProphetOfDoom Mon 10-Dec-12 19:49:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

blackcoffee Mon 10-Dec-12 22:45:37

not with TA yet. Tentative, but more positive! I have colleagues/friends who have experienced similar, it does seem surprisingly common! has been a real eye opener.

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