How NOT to step on toes...

Discussion in 'General Education' started by SarahJ, Jun 23, 2008.

  1. SarahJ

    SarahJ Companion

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    Jun 23, 2008

    You might have read that I got a position as a TA in a kinder class for the rest of this year (July - Dec). The teacher of that class is a first year teacher. I'm also a fully qualified teacher (and this would have been my 1st year if my exams had not been lost - sigh!) Anyway, I went into the class last week to observe. I was there from 7:30am till 11am. Out of those hours I also took a class for an hour (they had busy work) whilst the teacher was in a meeting.

    I'm the kind of person who will take note of the situation and step in where I think I'm needed. Sometimes this can be bad (very bad! lol). I try VERY hard not to get in anyones' way, or take over, or seem that I am trying to do their job. Its just that my natural instinct is to teach so I do!

    For example - I was in the class just wandering around during the early morning indoor free play (7 - 8am). There were kids throwing things, shouting, running around, climbing on tables etc. At 7:45 the teacher told (shouted) them they had 5 minutes left. 5 minutes later, she told them (shouted over the noise) that it was clean-up. The kids just ignored her. She started cleaning up and the kids just carried on playing/colouring/throwing etc. Some did clean up, but only about 2 or 3 kids. It was now 8am, I went to the colouring table and told them that their teacher had asked them to clean up and I was going to count to 10 and I wanted their table clean and them sitting quietly. They looked at me funny but as soon as I started counting they started cleaning up and by 10, they were sorted! But there were still 3 other tables of 6 kids running around and playing so I enlisted the help of several kids, told them they looked like they were strong enough to help me and had them quick as a flash pick up the lego and toy off the floor and carry the boxes to their 'home'.

    So, eventually at 8:10 they get onto the mat and I walked around picking up the toys and games off the floor. The teacher had done most of the cleaning up.

    then, on the mat there were kids jumping up and down, a couple were fighting, kicking eachother, 2 were playing with puppets, 3 were reading in the book corner but not treating the books nicely, several wanted to have a chat with me (I told them to sit quietly by my feet and we could chat at freeplay), one little boy actually went outside, several were having their own conversations and most of them were jumping up and down and constantly moving! It was chaos! They've been there since January. They're 5 - 6yr olds with a few 4, nearly 5's mixed in. I understand that they're still little, but they need to know how to behave.

    The teacher just talked over them all, I don't think half of them heard what they were supposed to do. I eventually got up (perhaps I should have just stayed out of it?) and pulled apart kids who were fighting, talking, playing and put them in their own little area away from any temptations like toys and told them that they needed to listen. (I didn't ever cross between teacher and students, walked around the mat and whispered to the kids I spoke to).

    Was I out of line? I just felt so sorry for the teacher!

    I need to know how to NOT step on her toes in the classroom. I've asked her for her classroom management plan (time out for 'naughty' behaviour - there were 2 sent to time out whilst we were on the mat and they just walked around or came back to the mat) and I've also asked for copies of classroom rules etc so that I know what the rules are so I can back her up 110%.

    My first thought was to make me the main 'disciplinarian' during ring/mat time so that she can focus on teaching the concept but perhaps that will undermine her? Or splitting the class in half (I take the younger group who are 99% likely be repeating next year) and we teach the same concept but she can focus more in depth on the discussion with the older group?

    I dunno! I so badly just want to take over but I know I can't! And I think she'll be offended if I suggest anything classroom management wise.

    HELP?! :help:
     
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  3. SarahJ

    SarahJ Companion

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    Jun 23, 2008

    Sorry this was SO long!
     
  4. queenie

    queenie Groupie

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    Jun 23, 2008

    Could you just maybe make a comment about what a 'lively' bunch they are and then ask how you can help mat time go more smoothly for her? Offer your suggestions! I would think she'd be happy to have your help! Once you offer suggestions, watch her reaction to them. She will likely respond in one of three ways: 1) "Oh, I'd LOVE your help!!" 2) "Well, if you think you can get them quiet, good luck to you!" or 3) "I will tell you what I need when I need it! This is MY class!"

    Honestly, I'd expect reaction 1 or 2 unless the teacher is cocky. I was a first year teacher this year, and while I admit I may have been intimidated by someone looking like they have more control than me over my classroom, there are definitely times I would have welcomed help!

    All you can do is offer and discuss it with her. This is good practice for when you do have your own class!! Good luck!
     
  5. cheeryteacher

    cheeryteacher Enthusiast

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    Jun 23, 2008

    Maybe they hired you because you seem to have strong classroom management skills and can give the teacher some much needed help.
     
  6. SarahJ

    SarahJ Companion

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    Jun 23, 2008

    'k, will try those. I'm probably going to the school tomorrow afternoon around lunch time to see if I can chat to her in person and arrange a meeting for during the school holidays.

    Thanks guys...any more good ideas???
     
  7. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Jun 23, 2008

    Wow! This is tough. I taught kinder for a couple of years and reading your post made me cringe. I had perfect classroom management when it came to kinder. So, I feel your pain. You want to help, but do not want to overstep your bounds. If I were in your situation, I would want to say something, but in a very polite manner. This is very tricky though. You do not want to insult her, or make her feel bad. After all, being a first year teacher and teaching kinder is tough! I would ask her to have a meeting about what your role is, your duties, and about classroom management plan. THen, in that conversation, maybe you'll be able to somehow bring up strengthening the plan and follow up and being consistent. Good luck!!!
     
  8. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Jun 23, 2008

    I think queenie's suggestion is very good. It brings the teacher into solving the problem, not just trying to go around her. Definately make sure she knows you're trying to work with her and for her so that she has an easier time teaching.
     
  9. lou reed

    lou reed Companion

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    Jun 23, 2008

    Maybe step in a little it during class time, like if she's talking and they're nuts, get their attention and say something like "I heard Ms. whoever give an instruction but I think a lot of people were too busy not listening. Who can tell me what the instruction was?" etc. Manage, but bring it back to her. "Ms. ... asked you to clean up, I heard Ms. ... say sit down," etc.
     
  10. MsWK

    MsWK Habitué

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    Jun 23, 2008

    I'll come at this question from a different perspective. We do team teaching, and it is very hard to tell just by observing who is the lead and who is the assistant. Even though the lead is responsible for planning, assessment, and leading the group, every teacher is resonsible for everything that happens in the classroom (therefore, I find it weird to see an assistant hanging back and doing nothing until asked).

    I think you did the right things. You've observed, you've shown you're here to help and that you have some good strategies. Honestly, she was probably just an overstressed teacher who has been too long without an assistant. What's important is that the two of you meet--soon, before you've been there too long--to establish roles and procedures for the children and for each of you.

    From what you say, I'd love to have you as one of my assistant teachers!
     
  11. princessa48

    princessa48 Companion

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    Jun 23, 2008

    I think that setting up a time to chat with her is a great idea. Come up with a plan together, and help each other stick to it. I don't think you overstepped your boundaries at all. After all, you have to work in this environment too, and who wants to work in complete chaos?
     
  12. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Jun 24, 2008

    Yes, talk to her. If I put myself in her place, I have to say I would feel self-conscious at first with another adult in the room. Maybe she does better normally, and will do better as she gets used to you being there. Definitely set up a time to talk things over. It is important for you both to know what your role is. Make sure she knows that you are there to support her as a teacher. I bet it will work out great! Let us know how it goes.
     

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