Helping a new teacher knock off a negative 'tude

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by Dondee123, Feb 9, 2008.

  1. Dondee123

    Dondee123 Rookie

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    Feb 9, 2008

    A new teacher was recently hired in our classroom and she has an attitude. She has said things in front of the kids that I find inappropriate('she is a troublemaker') already twice, and has written home notes to parents about children's behavior that I personally think go back to the kids being bored because she is not engaging them, or is working on one child's discipline issue instead of redirecting the child back into the group.
    She is young, and instead of getting her fired, I was hoping to find ways of encouraging her.
    I do intend to speak to director as well, I have spoken to her a couple of times already and she is keeping an eye out, but she can't be in our classroom all day. I also don't want to sound like a whiny nag.

    These are the things that keep me up at night. As a parent, I want each kid to feel special and loved and if they don't, I feel like we have let them down.
    :help:
     
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  3. MsWK

    MsWK Habitué

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    Feb 9, 2008

    Time for a team meeting where you outline the ways you phrase things when you talk to and about children.

    In my center, you never talk ABOUT children in front of them (i.e., over their heads). We also have a long list of specific phrases that we use with children. Perhaps provide her with a few of those.
     
  4. Major

    Major Connoisseur

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    "(she) has written home notes to parents about children's behavior that I personally think go back to the kids being bored because she is not engaging them, or is working on one child's discipline issue instead of redirecting the child back into the group."

    I would think her telling the parents that their kids are screwing up is a good thing.....:confused::confused::confused:

    And since when did working on a child's discipline issues become a bad thing.....:whistle::whistle:


    How much "friendly" support do you (and others) give to this new teacher? Maybe a lot, but judging from your post I'll bet she is out there all alone......

    Major.....:)
     
  5. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Feb 9, 2008

    This is definitely worth a team meeting. I am wondering about this same situation. Why on earth do they hire these people?? They must be some pretty darn good actors, and show their real side after a few weeks or months on the job. And of course, when supervisors are not around. Or worse, something changes in their life, and they just take it out on the kids or staff or both.

    and what ticks me off is that mgt refuses to do anything because they are so desparate for bodies because they need classroom coverage. This destroys the whole team, and trust of the staff and it is really hard on the kids, and you feel you do not have supervisor's support..because you don't when they ignore this type of behavior. A bad apple soon spoils the whole bunch. I would think parent notes should be always reviewed by supv before going out.

    I want to learn the outcome of this. I am tired of accepting positions, only to find out others have left or were fired before I got there because of conflicts with staff members. they keep expecting new teachers to clean house, or old teachers to just deal with whatever they bring in. I really don't think it is fair.

    I have no answers, because apparently mine have not been working. I have seen the same jobs I interviewed for last summer posted again! this is a sign. too much turnover in preschool.
     
  6. MimiBee

    MimiBee Companion

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    Feb 9, 2008

    Do you work in the same classroom with her? If so, model the behaviors she needs to display herself. After a successful redirection, perhaps phrase it to her as "I noticed Jimmy responds much better when WE move him to a more solitary activity after insert issue here, than when he's placed in time out (or whatever.)" If subtlety fails, you may need to just sit her down and have a heart to heart with her. Tell her what you told us...you don't want to see her fired so here's what needs to happen...
     
  7. Dondee123

    Dondee123 Rookie

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    Feb 9, 2008

    When I first started, the teacher I worked with showed me a lot of great teaching skills that I am trying to model for her, and was great with the kids. Unfortunately, she was burned out, quit unexpectedly.
    This teacher was hired as quickly as possible.
    She has some experience as a TA, but not as a teacher. She has been thrown in the classroom with no basic training and it's frustrating for all of us to try to show her that the kids need positive reinforcement.

    As far as the person saying that she wonders if she's being sort of picked on or left out in the cold, she might feel that way. It's probably more that she's not prepared for the position, and is constantly be corrected.
    For instance, it's not that she's discipling a child, it's the way she talks to a child. 'Why is it always YOU?' Instead of, 'I see so-in-so doing the right thing.....' and see them all fall in line, or 'Can you sit on your mat for another 10 minutes with a book? I know you are bored, but we really need to stay quiet for everyone...blah blah'
    Instead, she says, 'I have told you 4 times to lay down, the next time I tell you, I am sending another note home.'
    The tension is building. I don't like it.
     
  8. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Feb 9, 2008

    so why doesn't management do something?!
     
  9. Dondee123

    Dondee123 Rookie

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    Feb 10, 2008

    Yesterday I saw my director's boss have her door open to the classroom while we were working, and I could see that the director was watching through her office window more frequently than she was before.
    I really hope this week there will be some productive changes.
    I would like to help this girl not to get fired, but to learn to keep the kids engaged and happy, and learning.
    But seriously, who would hire a lead teacher that had never written any curriculum? :(
     
  10. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Feb 10, 2008

    easy, somebody who wants a warm body! I tell ya, these folks just have $$ in their eyes! I had people tell me to my face, "We need you so we can get our funding!" They only hire me becasue I have the state license. They have no intention of letting me actually do my job! I mean seriously, they don't care about the kids, the staff, the parents, just the money! it is terrible. and if you have enough kids, you better make sure you have the right ratio, that is enough staff to cover, and if the staff is acting like crackheads, they really don't care, as long as they show up! I am just sick of this. If somebody gets hurt, they will all be sued. But when a teacher or aide talks negatively and insults our kids, they are hurt deep inside.

    bandaids can't help that! :(

    the teacher leaves or complains and gets fired. the aide is stuck with the entire room, and takes it out on the kids. they interview and hire a new teacher, never telling that victim why the position is open. the aide or team teacher chills for a bit, but as soon as the new teacher starts - acting like it is her room, they attack, or go back to their old lazy, negative ways.

    I am sick of it, sick of it all. Wish I could get some answers. Want to start asking interviewers point blank-"Why is this position open, or why have you had this job open 3 times this year, or what happened to the other teacher, did she get promoted?"

    when folks start being honest, maybe somebody will come in and stay, and make a difference. and then supervisors will start doing their jobs!

    grrrr....my vent...for the year!
     
  11. Mrs_Barrett

    Mrs_Barrett Cohort

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    Feb 12, 2008

    I personally think you can't change a person's personality. I had that problem with a former aide in my classroom. Finally I had to involve my principal, who ended up writing her up over her behaviors. Thus leading her to transfer to another position else where.

    I still have that problem with a current aide too. I have tried and tried explaining things to her, but she doesn't listen. Mostly I think it is due to age. I am 25 and she is probably 50+, almost in her 60s. She has worked with children almost all her life, but times have changed and so has different strategies.

    I think in order for someone to change, it has to come from a mgt perspective or from a class that all members of the classroom take together. I know that I can preach and preach, but she is not going to change. I almost think the aides don't see us as the authority in the classroom. :(
     
  12. Dondee123

    Dondee123 Rookie

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    Feb 12, 2008

    I did not close the classroom on Friday. I came in on Monday to the entire easel being covered, and I mean COVERED in dark green paint.
    lol
    Yes, it's not really funny.
    They had not removed the paint from the classroom and cleaned it.
    Some other children in the facility had gotten into the room over the weekend and painted the easel. Of course this is not allowed, but if you leave stuff out, that's what happens.
    My boss came in and saw it and flipped. She said she had been watching the teacher and the high school age aide chatting about their social lives for hours and did nothing, including not monitor the children.
    She's ticked.
    Anyway, as long as the lead teacher from the other room, who is completely grouchy, has been in my room for the past 4 days micromanaging and second guessing everything I do, interrupting circle and treating my like crap.
    I am about to go through the roof and we have a staff meeting tomorrow night.
    I wish my boss well.
    She's a really good person, trying to keep a potentially great program together.
     
  13. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Feb 14, 2008

    I did some research, and somebody honestly told me.. the former director let the aides do whatever they wanted, even come in late. They run every new teacher out. One actually decided to go back to school for something else! Once they got rid of the old director, they had the slow process of hiring new teachers, and letting these aides know they had to get their act together.

    I believe the age factor is another major problem.

    This may be the basis for my research paper. You want programs that work, but you got staff who won't!

    keep us posted.

    :unsure:

    btw...I bet if you took your easel out of the room, they wouldn't even notice. Then when the kids ask if they can paint, watch how crazy they look when they finally realize it is gone, and wonder where it went. That's when I would bring it out, green paint and all.

    And have them both clean it up!
     
  14. Bernard

    Bernard Companion

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    Feb 15, 2008

    My question to Major - and to your new teacher, Dondee - is,
    What good does it do to tell a three year old's parent about every little behavior issue?

    Preschoolers are LITTLE - it is "in their job description" to have some minor issues with self-control, just as it is in the preschool teacher's job description to handle it!

    What, exactly, is a parent to do when told at 5 p.m. that his/her little one flicked a Cheerio at a friend at breakfast? Or was too talkative at 8 a.m. circle time? Or needed to be reminded twice that we don't jump on the bean bag chair during 8:30 a.m. centers? Or was wiggly at nap?

    I'm not saying that we shouldn't communicate with parents - it is fine to share that their child is very active/very social/not napping, etc. It is also OK to let them know that you have behavioral goals that you are working on with the child in the classroom, and that you may need their help on the "big stuff".

    Seasoned preschool teachers, though, often see "rookie" preschool teachers go through a phase of "tattling" on the preschoolers to the parent. This leaves the parent feeling like she/he must do something to "fix" the child's behavior by lecturing, threatening, or punishing. It does nothing but spoil that family's chance of a great start to their evening together, especially since the child is completely "in the now" and has no clue that they are being punished for something that happened earlier in the day. It will NOT change how the child acts tomorrow, except to possibly create anxiety about school.

    I'm not saying that you shouldn't conference with parents about big behavioral issues. Overall, though, what happens at preschool should be handled at preschool. If the only tool in a preschool teacher's toolkit is to say, "I'm going to tell your mother/father", that teacher has no authority.

    Also, Major, I think Dondee is sensing that the children's minor behavioral issues have to do with how the day is being run. Little kids don't - and can't - wait well. If circle time is running too long, they are going to get the wiggles. When the teacher makes the whole group wait in line, coats on, to go outside while she spends 10 minutes lecturing one child about behavior, the waiting kids will get overheated, bored, and cranky. If she gives them a vague directive like, "Clean up", there may be a few kids who need more specifics to find a task, such as "I need you to put the blocks back on the shelf."

    Little kiddos need us to structure their environment and schedule to help them be successful, and they need our immediate help to get back on track as needed, rather than lectures and threats. This teacher will have to learn how to communicate clearly, redirect, and utilize logical consequences if she is to find success with preschoolers. She'll also have to learn to pick her battles and not try to correct every little thing.

    Dondee, when I train very new teachers, I ask them to think of a behavioral flow chart:
    1. Is the behavior endangering the child or the other children? If so, step in immediately! If not, move to #2.
    2. Is the behavior truly destructive to something in our room? If so, step in. If not, move to #3.
    3. If the child is not in danger, endangering someone else, or being destructive, try not to "give press" to the child's behavior. Instead, try one of these strategies:
    - Maintain the group momentum - see if the child can get back on track on her own.
    - Give positive attention to children who are on task.
    -Use a non-verbal cue to guide the child, such as a shake of the head, hand on shoulder, or sign language signal.
    -Tell the child exactly what you need him/her to do right now, or offer the child an acceptable choice. Keep it short and sweet!
    -Make sure the rest of the group is occupied happily and then have a quiet discussion with the child about expected behavior. Ask the child to show you the correct behavior or "make it right" if needed in the classroom (such as picking up dumped toys).

    So sorry to hear that you are struggling with this. :sorry:I know you want to protect your children. Hang in there!
     
  15. MimiBee

    MimiBee Companion

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    Feb 15, 2008

    BRAVO!!!!! :2up:
     
  16. Major

    Major Connoisseur

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    Feb 15, 2008

    Because parents need to know what their kids are doing...:eek::eek:

    Hopefully Dondee will convey your question to the new teacher and get back with her reply.......:D:D

    Hopefully someone is helping the new teacher ....... She's new and certainly not perfect... and I'm sure she could use some friendly advice.
     
  17. MimiBee

    MimiBee Companion

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    Feb 15, 2008

    Yes, they do, but I don't believe that every little issue needs to be relayed to parents. It's frustrating to pick your child up every day and hear how he wouldn't sit still here or didn't want to clean up there. Major issues need to be addressed with parents, the little things should be addressed by the staff on duty. As early childhood educators, it's our jobs to teach children how to handle different situations in a school setting, when it happens.
    What are parents supposed to do hours later when their child has no idea what he/she is being punished for?
     
  18. Major

    Major Connoisseur

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    Feb 15, 2008

    Certainly every little issue doesn't need to be reported to the parents......

    I don't think the OP identified the behavior issues ... It could have been something major........:eek:
     
  19. MimiBee

    MimiBee Companion

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    Feb 15, 2008

    You are correct, Major.

    I think what also needs to be addressed is how the teacher speaks to the children...
     
  20. Major

    Major Connoisseur

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    Feb 15, 2008


    And I agree with you, MimiBee.....:):)
     
  21. Bernard

    Bernard Companion

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    Feb 15, 2008

    Major, I don't mean to imply that teachers shouldn't communicate with parents. There is a huge difference between constructive communication and "telling on" the kids to try to get the parent to fix the issue. Take Dondee's nap example:
    She should tell that parent that nap time was a struggle, and that the child has been tired and cranky all afternoon as a result. She should NOT expect that parent to punish the child for a "bad note", and she should not expect that note to make the child behave at tomorrow's nap. The great majority of preschoolers don't make those kind of connections.

    Instead, as Dondee suggested, she should look at why the child isn't napping. Can she move the cot to someplace more conducive to rest? Did she offer to pat the child's back for a moment? Could she show the child a clock and challenge her to stay put until the "big hand reaches the six"? Could she give the child a book or puzzle if she is a kid who does not usually sleep? Walkmans with books on tape work wonders.

    These are the strategies she needs to know and try to succeed in preschool; they work much better than "wait 'til your mother gets here" threats.

    I agree that the best way for a new teacher to learn is for more experienced teachers to share in a kind and accepting manner, but it can be very hard to be nurturing to someone who is not being nurturing to your kids!
     
  22. Major

    Major Connoisseur

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    Feb 15, 2008

    Bernard, you make some interesting points.... I don't really know the new teacher...... and certainly don't know how much help, nurturing, and care she received when she first came abroad.... I went back and read post #11 and really got confused...:confused:... Seems like there is quite a bit of turmoil there .. that doesn't necessarily involve the new teacher... Take a look..... and see what you think...:):):)

    Major..........:)
     
  23. MimiBee

    MimiBee Companion

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    Feb 15, 2008

    Major, I like the ------snip------- thing...I'll be using it more often.

    I read #11 and agree that I'm not sure what's happening but since the original post was in regard to helping the new teacher become a more effective teacher, that's what I'm going to focus on.

    They could try all the wonderful suggestions offered in previous posts or they could send her to a preschool bootcamp and get her in line. :D
     
  24. eduk8r

    eduk8r Enthusiast

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    Feb 15, 2008

    Wow, I like your advice, especially the checklist, Bernard. Nice. :)
     
  25. Dondee123

    Dondee123 Rookie

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    Feb 15, 2008

    Bernard, that was awesome!!

    I just did the teacher thang.

    I c/p'ed that, cut it out, made a construction paper frame and wrote 'Classroom Behavior Tips and Tricks' around the frame so it doesn't sound too self-important. I am going to put it inside one of our cabinets that we use all the time so I know she sees it, but if she says anything, I will say where I got it, and I c/p'ed it for help for me.
    Awesome! Thanks!!
     
  26. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Feb 15, 2008

  27. Dondee123

    Dondee123 Rookie

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    Feb 15, 2008

    I have that, I don't know if the other teacher does.
    :dunno:
    It can't hurt to have it in the classroom.
    We are attempting to be NAEYC approved or licensed or whatever it is called.

    I have a strong feeling that she won't be with us by the end of next week.
    My boss canceled her vacation for next week. :eek: When I asked her why, she said there was too much happening around here. I felt bad for her.
     
  28. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Feb 17, 2008

    don't feel bad, she is doing her job. and you are doing likewise. step back and help clean up afterwards...it's just part of the job..maybe things will turn out best for everyone...not as you expect...who knows...I would definitely take a peek at that NAEYC site. I am a member. They don't just waltz in and wave a magic wand over your site. They do expect to see DAP stuff in action. They can tell when you're faking too, and can smell it like a bloodhound!

    Good luck with your coworkers and your NAECY accreditation!
     
  29. yorkyfan

    yorkyfan Rookie

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    Feb 18, 2008

    Great Link, master pre-k!
    I especially like the "ethical responsibilities to colleagues" section!
    Hope it is being applied in this case.
     
  30. jerseygirl

    jerseygirl Rookie

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    Feb 19, 2008

    Hey everyone
    I was just hired as a the new teacher in a preschool classroom and have recieved very little info. I am just kind of being thrown in there. I do have alot of experience but don't know how this specific classroom runs or anything abt the program they use. I am relying on the aides in the classroom to show me the ropes of the classroom. I think as the new person you have to be open to the people that have been there for the whole year. They know the kids best and you can learn from them!
     
  31. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Feb 19, 2008

    thanks!
     
  32. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Feb 19, 2008

    I could write a book on this! I think for the most part, many ECE like quality, developmentally appropriate programs, and want to be success teachers. However, other folks like preschool, but crave the hours, calendar, salary and structure of the elementary school setting. That being said, they may dip their toes in the water, but quickly jump out (or are chased out) when they realize aides have been their longer, and are not always open (that is, willing to change) or interested in having somebody else take over!! So you have this revolving door, if you will. You could be the 3rd teacher this year! Also, with NCLB, many programs are now requiring a certified teacher on board, and many veteran teachers and aides do not or cannot go back to school, so they are forced to have somebody new in their room. And that, my friends, will tick anybody off! :unsure:

    it is sad when you get a new job, and they don't help you out like they should.

    my advice, like you said, continue to coast for the first few weeks. Listen, shadow, and really get to know the kids and their parents. Try not to ask the aides or other teachers too many questions. Watch and learn. Soon, somebody up front will give you more info, and hopefully your co-teacher/aide will warm up, realize you are staying put, and start to give you a little more action in the room. they too, are afraid of people leaving, and kids getting accustomed and worried so many folks in and out.

    then, when you have broken the ice, ask about routines, paperwork, what is important, what isn't, and then get your boss to tell you what the real deal is. in otherwords: what are your main jobs and what happens when the stuff hits the fan? Answer - your name will be called!! :whistle:

    that, my friend, is the only real stuff you have to worry about.

    that's why in Chicago, they call us...

    Master Pre-K
     
  33. jerseygirl

    jerseygirl Rookie

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    Feb 19, 2008

    thanks for the advice...i will definitely take it into account when i start tomorrow. i figure this 3 day week will be good to kinda learn from whose been there and get used to some of the routine and learn the kids names! lol and go from there...
     
  34. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    hey, glad to help...hope things turn out well for everyone..keep posting, listening, learning!

    we all are learning!

    psst... stick around close to their cubbies, and memorize their pictures! :D
     
  35. Dondee123

    Dondee123 Rookie

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    Feb 20, 2008

    Update on this particular teacher:
    Her personal dramas are getting to the upper staff. She has either left early or come in late just about every day she has come in, or has not shown up several times. Many times she says she has to go to the hospital and comes back with a hospital band on her, or gives us a huge long story.
    We have had to combine classes frequently because of this, and she is still in her probationary period.
    I believe she will show up today and be fired, unfortunately. This really stinks because it leaves us AGAIN without a teacher in the classroom.
    My classroom requires 2 teachers.
    Also, she was supposed to have the calendar ready for March, and she has not been here often enough to discuss it with me.
    Frustration.
    Ugh!!
    So, now I have less than a week to complete next month's calendar, and probably do all the planning for this coming month.
    It's not a huge deal, it's not like I haven't done it before, but I wasn't planning on it.

    I can't stand drama. Why can't people leave their stuff at home???:rolleyes:
     
  36. Dondee123

    Dondee123 Rookie

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    Feb 20, 2008

    She did not show up today, and she did not call.

    I know she has some emotional problems, so now, I am actually concerned. :(
     
  37. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Feb 20, 2008

    remember the serenity prayer dondee........

    Lord, help me handle the things that I can.
    Help me let go of the things that I can't
    And give me the wisdom to know the difference.

    yes, you are right...the calendar is your task, and keeping those kids safe and happy. I guess you should add writing a few lesson plans too. That's about it right now...try not to worry to much about things you can't fix!


    turnover is just part of any work environment. we don't know why people do what they do. what looks good on paper (resumes and applications) has no real bearing on what they do when they show up.

    it could be worse...think about the terrible tragedy at NIU, and other campuses and high schools. These kids just come to school to learn, and adults come to work. I say when people show you who they are because they won't always tell you who the are, LISTEN to them, and take them seriously! Step away, and let them leave.

    Hopefully, a good supervisor will have a meeting to discuss the next move, how they will cover the staff shortage, and tell you how they plan to avoid hiring another person who thinks they can waltz in and do a half-a$$ job around your kids!

    :unsure::sorry:
     
  38. Kinder Preppie

    Kinder Preppie Rookie

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    Feb 20, 2008

    I'm always a whiny nag, and very annoying, I am sure. But the bottom line is the kids are first. If this assistant is not working out, do what you need to in order to get her out. I have had more assistants than there are stars in the sky - but once I get a good one, life is beautiful.
     
  39. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

    Joined:
    May 18, 2007
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    Feb 20, 2008

    :D
     

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