Can't stand my TA :(

Discussion in 'General Education' started by ChildWhisperer, Aug 11, 2015.

  1. ChildWhisperer

    ChildWhisperer Groupie

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    Aug 11, 2015

    So I just started a new job.
    We've had pre-service trainings/meetings & whatnot, and we are now setting up our classrooms.
    And I don't like my TA.
    She's been there about 7-8 years and I'm guessing is resentful that she's still not Lead qualified. In fact, she has told me that she is looking for other jobs, which may explain herself.
    But she has completely taken over the room. She chose the theme & started working on it before she met me. She chose the layout of the classroom. Every time I put up something on the walls, she says it can't go there & makes me take it down (or takes it down herself!). She'll even tell me where to put it and later change her mind & say it's a bad spot so I have to move it again. I finished my entire circle time area and ended up taking it all down again. I have tried to "fight" her on some things & stand my ground but I end up losing. So now I'm afraid to do anything to do the room because I just know she's going to make me change it.
    I know, I'm the lead teacher in the room, but 1. I can't do confrontations, and 2. I'm new so I don't want to start any problems. And if she ends up not finding a new job, I'll be stuck with her this entire school year and I'm going to be miserable.
    OH AND THEN, she'll say things like "it's just my suggestion. You're the teacher, it's your room, you do whatever you want" (Lies).
    I'm just hoping & praying she finds a new job. I don't know what to do.
     
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  3. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Aug 11, 2015

    I'll tell you what to do - grow a backbone. And grow it before kids arrive.

    You are the lead teacher. You are the one that is going to be judged by how the room looks and is organized. Go in there and do what you want to do. If she has a suggestion, consider it. Then make a decision based on what YOU want. She is your assistant.

    If you don't nip this in the bud you're going to have a very hard time once kids come and she starts interfering with your classroom management.

    What is the worse thing that can happen? She badmouths you to the rest of the staff? Just remain polite, but firm. Always. Never trash talk her to your coworkers so you always come across as easy to work with. Go above and beyond to protect your reputation while running the class as you think is best.
     
  4. Koriemo

    Koriemo Comrade

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    Aug 11, 2015

    Whew. Tough situation. You really just have to be confident and own your position. When she says, "This is your room," you have to answer, "Yes. Thanks for your input; I'll do XYZ."

    Just because you are young and new doesn't mean that anyone has the right to be disrespectful toward you. Of course, if she does mention something valuable that you haven't considered, thank her and implement it. But really- where things go on the wall isn't a big deal. Don't let her be disrespectful.
     
  5. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Aug 11, 2015

    This
     
  6. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Aug 11, 2015

    You set the tone for the classroom. You are the adult in charge. Act like it.
     
  7. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Aug 11, 2015

    This.

    It might be hard to say, but practice it in your car a couple of times before going in to work. I also recommend talking about your classroom management plan with her before the kids get there so you are on the same page with rules and consequences.
     
  8. renard

    renard Companion

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    Aug 11, 2015

    Oh dear!!!

    That is completely unacceptable. I'm a TA myself, as well as a teacher, but I work in a TA role for personal reasons. Your class is your class, and her job is to make your job easier. It doesn't matter if you are new/young/whatever, you are going to need to assert yourself. I suspect that a lack of authority is giving her the green light to boss you around.

    This can be such a good learning experience for you, if you handle it well. Lay out your expectations. Don't give mixed/indifferent signals. Be clear. I'm a very good TA (humble brag) but some of them really forget their place, which is to support the teacher. Be strong here.
     
  9. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Aug 11, 2015

    You simply cannot let her tell you what to do. You said she made you take things down, etc. You cannot let her, you are the teacher, you tell her what to do, not the other way around.
    She obviously asserted her dominance over you and is now using it in everything she does. Once the kids arrive, what you going to do if she tells you what to do in front of them and the kids see it? pretty soon they'll figure out who's in charge and won't listen to you. Before you know it, she'll be criticizing your classroom management, your lessons and your teaching methods.

    You cannot let her do this. Be polite, consider her suggestions, maybe even give in SOMETIMES so she feels valued, but in the end it's up to you what gets done and how.
     
  10. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Aug 11, 2015

    I agree with everyone else. You cannot let your TA be in charge. I understand wanting to avoid confrontation because I hate confrontation myself. However, you're the teacher. You will be miserable all year if you let your TA walk all over you. The TA is even giving you an "out" by saying "you're the teacher, it's your decision." All you need to say back is, "Thank you for the suggestion, but I've decided to do..." You don't even need to explain your reasoning. Being new isn't an excuse. Acting like the teacher is your job and will not cause problems for you.

    It's possible the TA is just trying to help you since you're new. I started my current position as a 4th year teacher and my para had been in her position for almost 20 years. She gave a lot of suggestions but always made sure to say that she'd implement whatever I decided since I'm the teacher, kind of like yours does. Sometimes I follow her advice and sometimes I choose to do my own thing. It's never been a problem. You don't even know how she'll react yet since you haven't tried going against her suggestions. Worst case scenario, she really is just trying to be the one in charge. Either way, you still need to stand up to her.
     
  11. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Aug 12, 2015

    I agree with the others: find a way to be in charge.

    I'm entering a new situation myself and the people who were here before me are used to things being one way. I've already had to say "No, that's not going to work for me" a few times. I could tell that they were thrown off, but meh. I wasn't rude at all about anything, and my requests are not unreasonable (don't use my office as storage space for your crap, don't use my room as storage space for your crap, don't use my desk as storage space for your crap, you get the idea). They're going to have to find a way to work around me because this is how it's going to be. I will bend where I have to, but I'm not going to allow my space to be a garbage dump.
     
  12. Ted

    Ted Habitué

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    Aug 12, 2015

    Seems to me you have two choices:

    1. Accept that she's in charge (even if officially she isn't).
    2. Accept the FACT that you're in charge (officially, you are).

    Some people respect strength. Sounds like she is one of those.

    "I really appreciate your suggestion for the bulletin board suggestion, but I think I'm going to keep/move/change it to be here." And then keep it there.

    "That is something to think about. If my idea doesn't work out, I'll reconsider your suggestion and appreciate your feedback!"

    Also...and this may sound crazy. Bring in a little "Thanks for working with me" goodie bag for her. Maybe a gift card to Starbucks. A muffin. Matching note pad and pens. It's hard to badmouth somebody who treats you so generously.

    But the others have given good advice - be strong and remember who is in charge (hint: it's not her). :)
     
  13. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Aug 12, 2015

    I'm sorry your dislike of confrontation is causing issues with you leading your classroom set-up and relationship with the TA. You really need to change your mindset because confrontation is unfortunately part of your job in every aspect. You will have confrontational students, co-workers, parents, and administration. You really need to practice pushing that fear of confrontation away and come up with ways to diffuse the confrontation and take the lead when appropriate and give-in with strength when appropriate.

    I wish you the best.
     
  14. eternalsaudade

    eternalsaudade Companion

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    Aug 12, 2015

    Echoing what everyone else said, you need to turn things around ASAP. I have worked with people similar to this, and not speaking up has never served me well. Confrontation can be terrifying but honestly, I am willing to bet that it will be a lot easier to confront her now than to suffer all year. Chances are she will be doing the same thing when the kids arrive and they will absolutely pick up on those vibes. Just stand your ground. Let her know that you welcome and value your input, but if you don't want to change something, don't. Be kind, but firm. Good luck. I am also terrible with confrontation, so I know this is all easier said than done, but I think it will be worth it to address the issue now rather than letting it hang.
     
  15. youwillrise

    youwillrise Rookie

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    Aug 27, 2015

    wow.

    i am a teacher's assistant and have been for about 7 years and it can be frustrating not being the lead sometimes, but i still respect the person who is the lead. i like having a positive relationship with the teachers i work with and because of that i am respected as a teacher and not just an assistant. you should definitely have a talk with her and let her know that you are (not just that you *want* to, but that you ARE) going to have things the way you put them. let her know that you appreciate suggestions, but dont appreciate her moving or changing something you worked on without consulting you. i had a lot of ideas for school this year and im normally pretty shy about sharing them with other teachers, but instead of just doing them, i proposed them to the lead first to see what she thought. some things she liked, some things she liked but wanted tweaked and others she didnt think would work. just the way it is.

    i am slowly working toward being eligible for a lead role, but right now i am where i am.

    but yes...do what you need to do. the students will definitely feel if the relationship between you two isnt a good one and nobody wants to deal with the challeneges that may bring.

    good luck!
     
  16. renard

    renard Companion

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    Aug 28, 2015

    I don't get the TAs who want to take over. As an experienced teacher myself, I *love* not being in charge :D It's the best perk!
     
  17. ChildWhisperer

    ChildWhisperer Groupie

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    Aug 28, 2015

    School started this week and things have gotten better.
    It does help that she takes charge in certain areas that I wouldn't otherwise know to do (I taught private before so it's a big change going from a private school to a government funded).
    The only thing is, she doesn't tell me or discuss with me before she does it. She just does it. And her attitude is awful. She's very friendly/perky with some people, but pretty dismissive with me. I said goodbye to her today and she didn't even look at me. She said bye like a child who was being forced to say goodbye.
     
  18. TexanTeach

    TexanTeach Rookie

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    Aug 28, 2015

    I'm sorry you are going through this. I completely understand how you are feeling. In fact, I was reading your post thinking that it could have been written by me!

    I started a new position last year and my para sounds just like yours. She would always tell me what to do and wanted to take over the class. I've never had issues like this with a colleague before and I'm very non-confrontational, so this was not a pleasant situation to be in. I found the only thing that really helped was when I was very direct by saying things like "Please don't...." or "I'd appreciate it if you...." I was never rude with how I spoke to her, but I came to realize if I didn't put my foot down, she would walk all over me. There were times that she would say she was going to do something that I REALLY didn't agree with, so I would politely explain why I didn't think it was a good idea, and she would respond with "Well, I think it's good, I'm going to do it". And then disregard what I had said and do it anyway. And yes, she did start telling me what to do in front of the kids.

    As hard as it is, you need to be firm and make sure you're doing what you think is best for those kids. Because as others mentioned, YOU'RE the one responsible and accountable. I did find that once I became more firm at standing my ground, she backed off a bit. Not entirely, but wasn't as forceful. So take into consideration what she suggests and make your own decisions.

    Good luck! I know it's not a fun situation, but I'm glad it seems to be getting better.
     
  19. Preschool0929

    Preschool0929 Cohort

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    Aug 28, 2015

    I have a para who I started working with last year that has similar behaviors. The 3 teachers that worked with her before warned me about it. Last year I was very passive and let her walk all over me. This year, I was determined not to let it happen and finally just sat down with her before school started and told her that she either needed to listen to me, or find another job (and lots of other things). I swear it's gotten better since then. Sometimes you just need to have an honest conversation and not let the passive-aggressiveness continue. I think it's one of those things that you either address right now, or you have to deal with the fact that you'll be dealing with this all year. I started making my para's day extremely structured. She comes in and I have a clip board with a list of things for her to do, I have a daily schedule that I require her to follow, and I have a daily schedule of what students she needs to work with. I had my principal approved everything so that they would be aware if she had any complaints.

    Like others have said, ultimately it's your classroom. If a parent complains, it's about you. If a child gets hurt, it's on you. If a child isn't learning, it's on you. She really has no accountability, which makes it all the more important that you take responsibility for the classroom.
     
  20. Mr.history

    Mr.history Cohort

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    Aug 28, 2015

    I have had to deal with some pretty horrible parapros my first 2 years teaching. It can be tough when they overstep their bounds.

    Here is what worked for me:
    1. Let your expectations be known. I actually typed up a list of the things I wanted them to do and what I didn't want them to do. For instance, I don't want them doing discipline unless its unavoidable. I had a parapro who would write kids up and put my name on the slip and it drove me crazy.

    2. Have a meeting with whoever is in charge of them. Not with the person, just their boss. At my school this was the special ed director. I let them know what was happening, what I did, and what I wanted to happen. You are in charge and you have to be persistent. I gave that para an awful review at the end of the year and now none of the other teachers want to work with them either. (teachers talk)

    You can not back down. If you do you will be miserable, but don't be rude if avoidable. Last year I was just over having to work with someone in my classroom who I didn't want to be there and it lead to an even worse situation because I basically just ignored them. This lead to this person sitting at my desk all day playing on their phone which was bad for the students who needed extra help.
     

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