Predicting and preventing negativity with assistant

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by sarypotter, Aug 29, 2009.

  1. sarypotter

    sarypotter Comrade

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    Aug 29, 2009

    Oh, dear.

    I went down to my new school yesterday at the end of the day to meet my principal, see my classroom, and talk to the sub about what sorts of activities the kids were working on. The sub was fantastic. She had left detailed notes about each child, their behavior, their reading and math levels, and what they worked on during the first few days of school.

    She told me she was glad I had visited, though, because there was something she didn't want to leave in a note that she felt I needed to know.

    "I don't want to talk bad about anybody, but ... just, remember that you're the teacher. You're in charge."

    Oh, no. Where have I heard that before? Oh, yeah, right before I entered Assistant H*ll last year!

    I pressed for info. Now, I KNOW this info is coming through a second party (although actually it also came from the principal later on ... so I'm thinking it's accurate ...), but from what I understand, this assistant yells at the students if they don't understand something, she refused to do the things the sub asked her to (the sub laid out all the materials and asked the assistant to assemble the kids' pencil boxes -- the sub put all the materials, unassembled, back into the cabinet -- two days in a row this happened), and she picked a fight with a teacher down the hall about having to give back materials that we had borrowed.

    I need to go in Monday with a plan for preventing as much negativity as possible.

    Thoughts?
     
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  3. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Aug 29, 2009

    Ughh....if the AP told you this too, why does this person still have a job? You may have to ask the AP for advice on how to handle this person.
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Aug 29, 2009

    I agree. You need to know exactly what this person's job description is, and where you have authority.
     
  5. teachall

    teachall Rookie

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    Aug 29, 2009

    I experienced this 4 years ago. I came up with a schedule of duties that I needed done from her, however, she did it for awhile and then began blowing off things I had asked. I think maybe if you go in and talk to her about how you like your classroom to run and your role, maybe that will help. Be prepared to document everything that is a problem. Talk to the principal as they begin and ask her how she wants you to handle these problems. Good Luck
     
  6. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Aug 29, 2009

    Maybe this assistant will do better with a full-time teacher than with a sub. Here's to hoping!
     
  7. teachersk

    teachersk Connoisseur

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    Aug 29, 2009

    I'd just start out friendly but firm from the beginning. I'd call her out on it. "I noticed that you didn't get a chance to assemble the kids' pencil boxes. Please be sure to get to that today. Let me know if you have trouble with it." or something like that.

    I would also get her input (if she knows the kids) on various things. "Do you think John would do well with a sticker chart?" "Should we do recess in the morning or afternoon?" etc. Almost like you're working with a kid, haha. Give her choices on all of the things that don't really matter to you.

    If she doesn't know the kids (or is brand new), then it's really all you.

    I would also document if she completely disregards your requests. She is there to assist you. If you have a log of all of the things that happen, that's better for down the road. Hopefully, you will not need that.

    Be friendly, but firm!
     
  8. chicagoturtle

    chicagoturtle Fanatic

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    Aug 29, 2009


    I would also suggest asking her about her strengths. Perhaps she is really into art projects or math or reading aloud and then see if she'd like to take over an area, center or something to show off her competence?
     
  9. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Aug 29, 2009

    I would run, don't walk, to the AP and ask for assistance. Tell him you don't want to begin a new job by stepping on someone's toes. Ask what the assistants responsibilities are at this school, and what your authority is. Just act dumb and say that you want your assistant and you to get off on the right foot. I'm assuming the AP will tell you to provide the assistant with tasks and that the classroom is your responsibility. Then you need to document everything. You are also going to have to stand your ground and not let the assistant run over you. I like the idea of buttering her up and making her think that you value her input (which you do) Sometimes you have to wear the boots and walk around in the brown stuff.
     
  10. Kate Change

    Kate Change Companion

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    Sep 1, 2009

    I definately agree with the above advice about talking to the AP about what the assistant's responsibilities are. It might also be possible to set up a meeting with the three of you before there are problems so this can be discussed. I wouldn't try to suck up to her too much. Ask her what she likes, sure, but still be firm about somethings. I had a terrible assistant one year and I kept thinking that if I was nice, she'd finally start doing something other than bad mouthing me and going for smoke breaks, but it didn't work. I think we'd have gotten along better if I'd stood up to her. Not over every little detail but at least insisted on some basic behaviors. I also didn't talk to admin about her until it reached a point of desperation. That was when I found out that she'd never been requested by a teacher and was generally put with the new teachers at the school. She was very willing to act as a last minute sub (for extra pay) so the school wanted to keep her around, but they knew that she was horrible to work with, so they foisted her onto new people.

    The more you can find out about this situation the better. Once I figured out why the school kept my assistant on, I discreetly let the office know that I was happy to have her pulled to sub and she was soon gone at least three days a week. This made everyone much happier. It wasn't the ideal situation, but even when she was in the room, she was much happier.
     

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