Leading/Working as a TEAM ... Abruptness?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by McKennaL, Feb 16, 2010.

  1. McKennaL

    McKennaL Groupie

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    Feb 16, 2010

    I would like to start a discussion on the topic of collaboration in your classroom…and I figured that that should include ALL grade levels – so I am placing this in GENERAL EDUCATION.
    Here is the set up:

    I just recently ended a 12 week maternity leave. About the 3rd week I was called into the principal’s office. She told me that she was very happy with my performance and mentioned a number of things she was pleased with. But then she mentioned about setting short term goals. Ummm…what? She went on to say… (I’ll cut to the chase) In our grade level (kindergarten), there were a NUMBER of times when aides, support staff, and assistants came into the room. Well, I guess I was “abrupt” in working with them and they had their feelings hurt. The principal went on to say that “here at _____ we treat all of our staff with the same level of respect when working with them. Aides are the same as teachers.” Etc.

    At first, I was shocked! I certainly didn’t cut anyone down or belittle them (even checked with others to see if they saw that…and they not only said no, but were surprised anyone WOULD say that). The principal gave me a few pointers, told me to discuss collaboration with my sister/partner-teacher, and check back in with her in a week. I did…and I think things went better (actually-I believe I figured out who the persons who complained might be (we had a VERY, VERY large support network)- and I especially worked to talk one on one with them and treat them with even MORE respect. The principal was well pleased with the results… so I guess I hit it on the head.

    Now it’s a while later…I have left the school. And I had time to reflect. Am I abrupt with people? I try not to be…but I certainly am a person who cuts to the chase and talks with honesty. I don’t believe I’m rude…but… What I DID think that might have had to do with things was that here I was (for the FIRST time) being a LEAD teacher with a support staff coming into the room. There were directions to be given and information to share in a relatively short period of time. Did I give orders instead of suggestions? I don’t know. But, even past that school, I think this is something I need to be aware of.

    SO…. Here is the question/topic:

    How to you communicate in circumstances like this? How much to you tell and how much do you collaborate? How much do you let whoever do whatever, and how do you nicely say – this is what needs to be done today…now go do it? How DO you work with support staff (remembering that this is a lead teacher asking)? Those of you who ARE support staff…have you had this happen with you? What would you have rathered? (Any examples would be graciously appreciated.)

    I want to GROW here. I admit when there are problems…and want to improve myself where I can.
     
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  3. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Feb 16, 2010

    McKenna~it could be that the support person took it the wrong way. There is nothing wrong with cutting to the chase and talking straight. I work with a teacher who not only does this with staff, but with the students as well. I think it's something that needs to be done, but some students have taken it a little too personal and she's gotten into trouble by the principal because of it. It's sad really because she's really preparing these students with reality. I hope I can be more like her in the classroom!

    For the most part, the teachers I work with do treat me with respect, we collaborate together on how to make students with disabilities successful in the classroom. Sometimes they will ask for my opinion on how they could teach a certain concept differently or how to instruct the students (cooperative groups/Powerpoint,etc). Most of the time we're very good at collaborating.
     
  4. smurfette

    smurfette Habitué

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    Feb 16, 2010

    Do you mean grade-level lead? At our team meetings, if there is any decision to be made for the team, we discuss it, hear opinions and then reach a consensus. The only time I make decisions without consulting the team is when I KNOW what everyone would want and it's necessary to speak up quickly to get the best possible deal for the team.

    I plan with my SPED and ESOL teachers, so it's never a case of me telling them what to do when the walk in. In our planning sessions, I let them know what the objectives are for the week, if they haven't already looked them up. Then we all sit around and talk about lesson plans/accommodations.

    Our assistants don't have to come to planning meetings. If I am on the ball, I e-mail them my week's plans, so they know what to expect. When I see them, I always ask or tell politely what they can do to help. "Hey, Jane Doe, while I'm presenting the objective, could you check in with little Johnny to make sure he is with us? Then, when we break up into groups, it would be great if you could supervise A, B, C, and D. They've been having some minor problems with this. I'll be working with E, F, G, and H...they have some major problems." or "Do you mind making some copies for me?" It's their job, so they never say no, but it's not like I'm telling them what to do.
     
  5. ChicagoTeach

    ChicagoTeach Rookie

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    Feb 19, 2010

    You do need to be careful when dealing with other adults. When you go directly to what THEY need to do for YOU, you are treading on dangerous water. The tone and body language could be speaking volumes. I was a paraprofessional for one year before I got my teaching position and I can tell you that several teachers treated me with much less respect than a regular certified teacher with a classroom. There were several instances that I reminded a teacher that I was a certified teacher and that I was hoping to one day be in her lucky shoes. So, I guess I am just saying while your intent was to be professional and not lose an ounce of instructional time, perhaps your body language and tone conveyed a different message. And let me tell you, if I had been asked by a teacher HONESTLY if she felt that I had been treated with anything less than respect, I would have lied through my teeth, because I wanted a job and would take the abuse rather than risk alienating a member of a potential interview team.
     
  6. wrldtrvlr123

    wrldtrvlr123 Rookie

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    Feb 25, 2010

    Abrupt?

    I too was a teaching assistant for a year before becoming a teacher and it definitely brought home the ways I liked and did not like to be treated.

    I think its fine to cut to the chase, but I do think the little things speak volumes. Smiles, could you please, thank you, body language, positive feedback, all go a long way towards creating a positive work environment. I generally have had great success in working with large support staffs and currently have a great partnership with my teaching assistant. We both have our responsiblities, back each other up 100% and generally have a great time.

    That being said, I did have one of my para's in my first class complain to my dept. head that I was rude and abrupt with her. Luckily that was so far from what everyone else saw (and my natural personality) it was put down to her being a little bit crazy (which she was).:dizzy:

    Don't overthink it, but take it as a reminder in your next position of something to forewarned about.
     
  7. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

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    Feb 25, 2010

    Collaboration... if you have all the time in the world it's nice to be diplomatic, but if you're rushed, you just get the job done.

    I always try to be mindful of everyone's feelings from the custodian to the secretaries, I hope for the same respect from them.

    I was critized by a teacher for mentioning her late lesson plans. We'd (12 second grade teachers) agreed to have them all turned in by Wed. so the teacher who copies and distributes them would have plenty of time to get her part done. All plans are due by noon Monday. The teacher got mad at me when she was the one who wasn't fulfilling her part of the agreement. I mentioned to her that part of being professional was keeping your word and fulfilling responsiblities in a timely fashion. Several days later she apologized and admitted she was wrong.

    If you're wrong fess up to it, put it behind you, and roll on.
     

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