Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Hi,

    I recently began a general TA role in a school that is located in a very deprived area. The school has only just come out of special measures, but there seems a very strong drive for improvement. I am working in a class at the top of the school, where many of the children have behaviour problems/bad family lives.

    I have asked the class teacher to give me feedback on a regular basis on any issues/or areas for improvement. She has only raised one with me. She told me (in front of other pupils) that I was invading the children's personal space. I was rather mortified that the students had heard, and still have no idea how I am invading the pupils personal space. I am male, so am extra careful that I keep an appropriate distance away from pupils. In the last week, I have been largely moved away from working with the pupils. Sent to other classes, given loads of papers and HW to mark. So I can't even engage the pupils any more. I don't even feel like I have been provided with much of a chance.

    I have been there less than two weeks. Yesterday I was called up to the Head for a meeting. Out of the blue I was told that I had developed negative relationships with the pupils', and the previously mentioned personal space issue was also highlighted. Teacher had made comments to the head, but there were no solid, and only one negative example, of which I am sure didn't even happen. I was completely taken a back by these comments, and the class teacher had not given any clear indication that she felt things were going so badly. The head teacher said that "You should consider if you want to work in a school like this". Stating that if I didn't turn things around then I would be "let go".

    After having some time to reflect, I arranged another meeting with the Head today, and basically highlighted that there had been a lack of communication from the teacher in drawing awareness to the negative relationships/comments (which I am unsure if this is even a problem). That I was very concerned, and didn't understand why the class teacher had not communicated these issues clearly to me. I highlighted that I had been moved away from the pupils (which she declared had been intentional because of the issues) and it was still very early days, it was a new school and I am still learning.

    I suggested that the three of us come up with a written action plan, set out where I need to improve and how I can do it. That I was willing to learn from these criticisms and change. The head was positive about this, but generally seemed a tad defensive (from what I gather her and the class teacher are very close). I asked her to be specific with the issues, and she said that "I don't know what it is".

    I am feeling really down about this all. I have worked in a one to one (behaviour problems,) and in an intervention role before in a more affluent area. I was highly praised for the relationships I developed with staff/pupils, and they were gutted to see me leave. I am signed up to begin a PGCE, and it is in this is going to be geared towards deprived areas. Yet, this has made me really doubt myself.

    I honestly feel I've been very positive towards the pupils, and praised them where ever possible. Some kids bought me Christmas presents and are generally friendly. I am not sure if they would bother if our relationships were that negative as stated.

    Some of the staff are lovely, but others seem rather hostile to me. I try and engage them in conversation, and they are very unresponsive. Sometimes they even move seats when I sit next to them in the staff room (including the class teacher i work with). I don't know what I have done to deserve this .

    I really want to make it work, as I think I can be a real asset to the school. I've had many positive teaching experiences before, and had strong positive feedback, and responded successfully to constructive criticism. I have done my best to deal with this situation, but feel that I am going to be fighting an up hill battle from now on (as it sounds like they want me out). I was really lucky to get this job, but am not sure what else I can do to make this work. Does anyone have any advice? Thank you!
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    in short they think ur a pedo
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    This is absolutely terrible. I'm really baffled at the constant paranoia surrounding male teachers, who are just as valuable to the profession. Just how many cases involving pedophilia were reported in the media for every single school to be so paranoid? Half my teachers were male and I only had male teachers in primary and I'm completely fine, thank you very much. Most children are, too!

    I don't know what you can do, Rhys, the only thing I can think of is try to find another school willing to accept you while you can still get an okay recommendation from the current one. My advice would be to flee as soon as possible as the headteacher doesn't seem to be completely against you. If you give them time to really talk to the head, your good work with the children might not even show up on the recommendation.

    I'm really disappointed things like that happen, this paranoia needs to stop. Good luck with Teach First - do focus on the children's response to your work, they've been happy with your presence (giving you presents, etc) and that shows you'll do fine once on placement.
    Offline

    18
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Colloquial)
    This is absolutely terrible. I'm really baffled at the constant paranoia surrounding male teachers, who are just as valuable to the profession. Just how many cases involving pedophilia were reported in the media for every single school to be so paranoid? Half my teachers were male and I only had male teachers in primary and I'm completely fine, thank you very much. Most children are, too!

    I don't know what you can do, Rhys, the only thing I can think of is try to find another school willing to accept you while you can still get an okay recommendation from the current one. My advice would be to flee as soon as possible as the headteacher doesn't seem to be completely against you. If you give them time to really talk to the head, your good work with the children might not even show up on the recommendation.

    I'm really disappointed things like that happen, this paranoia needs to stop. Good luck with Teach First - do focus on the children's response to your work, they've been happy with your presence (giving you presents, etc) and that shows you'll do fine once on placement.
    You think the best thing to do is for the OP to leave the school when they have been - essentially - slandered? That might make the OP's life easier in the short run, ignoring any financial implications, but it solves nothing; the problem is with the class- and headteacher not the OP.

    (Original post by rhys101)
    [...] I recently began a general TA role in a school that is located in a very deprived area. The school has only just come out of special measures, but there seems a very strong drive for improvement. I am working in a class at the top of the school, where many of the children have behaviour problems/bad family lives.

    I have asked the class teacher to give me feedback on a regular basis on any issues/or areas for improvement. She has only raised one with me. She told me (in front of other pupils) that I was invading the children's personal space. I was rather mortified that the students had heard, and still have no idea how I am invading the pupils personal space. I am male, so am extra careful that I keep an appropriate distance away from pupils. In the last week, I have been largely moved away from working with the pupils. Sent to other classes, given loads of papers and HW to mark. So I can't even engage the pupils any more. I don't even feel like I have been provided with much of a chance.

    I have been there less than two weeks. Yesterday I was called up to the Head for a meeting. Out of the blue I was told that I had developed negative relationships with the pupils', and the previously mentioned personal space issue was also highlighted. Teacher had made comments to the head, but there were no solid, and only one negative example, of which I am sure didn't even happen. I was completely taken a back by these comments, and the class teacher had not given any clear indication that she felt things were going so badly. The head teacher said that "You should consider if you want to work in a school like this". Stating that if I didn't turn things around then I would be "let go".

    After having some time to reflect, I arranged another meeting with the Head today, and basically highlighted that there had been a lack of communication from the teacher in drawing awareness to the negative relationships/comments (which I am unsure if this is even a problem). That I was very concerned, and didn't understand why the class teacher had not communicated these issues clearly to me. I highlighted that I had been moved away from the pupils (which she declared had been intentional because of the issues) and it was still very early days, it was a new school and I am still learning.

    I suggested that the three of us come up with a written action plan, set out where I need to improve and how I can do it. That I was willing to learn from these criticisms and change. The head was positive about this, but generally seemed a tad defensive (from what I gather her and the class teacher are very close). I asked her to be specific with the issues, and she said that "I don't know what it is".

    I am feeling really down about this all. I have worked in a one to one (behaviour problems,) and in an intervention role before in a more affluent area. I was highly praised for the relationships I developed with staff/pupils, and they were gutted to see me leave. I am signed up to begin Teach First PGCE, and it is in this is going to be geared towards deprived areas. Yet, this has made me really doubt myself.

    I honestly feel I've been very positive towards the pupils, and praised them where ever possible. Some kids bought me Christmas presents and are generally friendly. I am not sure if they would bother if our relationships were that negative as stated.

    Some of the staff are lovely, but others seem rather hostile to me. I try and engage them in conversation, and they are very unresponsive. Sometimes they even move seats when I sit next to them in the staff room (including the class teacher i work with). I don't know what I have done to deserve this . One of the members started ranting about how Teach First degrades the teaching profession. That is the only thing I can think of.

    I really want to make it work, as I think I can be a real asset to the school. I've had many positive teaching experiences before, and had strong positive feedback, and responded successfully to constructive criticism. I have done my best to deal with this situation, but feel that I am going to be fighting an up hill battle from now on (as it sounds like they want me out). I was really lucky to get this job, but am not sure what else I can do to make this work. Does anyone have any advice? Thank you!
    I would call their bluff. I think it is good to have both positive and negative experiences in schools, and the reality is that you are likely to work with people like this at some point; in some senses it is actually a good thing that you have dealt with it as soon as possible as it gives a more accurate picture of the profession.

    First of all, the classroom teacher's comments in front of the class were inappropriate and unprofessional; they have deliberately undermined your relationship with the pupils, which was the entire issue in the first place. Highlight this. Secondly, the fact that the class teacher has not been specific with regards to the space issue, and then gone to the headteacher with these concerns shows a complete lack of respect from both the teacher and headteacher, who has not only taken these concerns seriously, but threatened to fire you despite not knowing what they were based upon. In an practical sense, how can the 'negative relationship with pupils' improve if you have been removed from the classroom, and been forced to do paperwork? Highlight this.

    Your behaviour dealing with this situation, your previous positive experience, and success in getting onto the teach first programme suggests that the problem is not you, nor your technique, and even if it was the fact you are desperately trying to rectify the situation will be seen as a positive, but the teachers in the school, who have taken a dislike to you.

    I would not mention the 'irrelevant stuff' such as the relationship between the class- and headteacher and the teach first comments when discussing this problem in school; that is, unless they are asking your opinion for reasons as to why your professional relationships are not working. But if you are fired, and I would be surprised if they were stupid enough to go down this route, I would take the legal route; I am sure the pupils' parents and the public would love to see LEA money being thrown away in compensation for defamation and unfair dismissal, because of two morons in a primary school.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    The problem isn't with the class, though, it's with the staff. The children seem fine to me. I think his best option is indeed to leave as he's had a good experience before in his first school, which shows the problem doesn't come from him. I personally would try to get another place somewhere else if I didn't feel valued by my school, yes. Wouldn't everyone? It works both ways - we all bring something to a school and the school should bring something to us in terms of being fulfilled in our jobs.

    I agree with you that he should try again to speak to the headteacher and really explain what's going on but if it doesn't work, I personally wouldn't wait for them to take away more and more responsibilities from me until I'm effectively useless, I would seek another position. Yes, such things happen but they don't happen everywhere in every school, as demonstrated by the fact that his first school was fine.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by evantej)
    You think the best thing to do is for the OP to leave the school when they have been - essentially - slandered? That might make the OP's life easier in the short run, ignoring any financial implications, but it solves nothing; the problem is with the class- and headteacher not the OP.



    I would call their bluff. I think it is good to have both positive and negative experiences in schools, and the reality is that you are likely to work with people like this at some point; in some senses it is actually a good thing that you have dealt with it as soon as possible as it gives a more accurate picture of the profession.

    First of all, the classroom teacher's comments in front of the class were inappropriate and unprofessional; they have deliberately undermined your relationship with the pupils, which was the entire issue in the first place. Highlight this. Secondly, the fact that the class teacher has not been specific with regards to the space issue, and then gone to the headteacher with these concerns shows a complete lack of respect from both the teacher and headteacher, who has not only taken these concerns seriously, but threatened to fire you despite not knowing what they were based upon. In an practical sense, how can the 'negative relationship with pupils' improve if you have been removed from the classroom, and been forced to do paperwork? Highlight this.

    Your behaviour dealing with this situation, your previous positive experience, and success in getting onto the teach first programme suggests that the problem is not you, nor your technique, and even if it was the fact you are desperately trying to rectify the situation will be seen as a positive, but the teachers in the school, who have taken a dislike to you.

    I would not mention the 'irrelevant stuff' such as the relationship between the class- and headteacher and the teach first comments when discussing this problem in school; that is, unless they are asking your opinion for reasons as to why your professional relationships are not working. But if you are fired, and I would be surprised if they were stupid enough to go down this route, I would take the legal route; I am sure the pupils' parents and the public would love to see LEA money being thrown away in compensation for defamation and unfair dismissal, because of two morons in a primary school.
    Thank you so much for this reply. This has made me feel a lot better. I keep thinking that it is me, but you have highlighted how badly the situation has been handled.

    I mentioned to the Head, how the teacher had made the comment about personal space in the pupils'. She responded "That I should not have asked for feedback in front of the class, and I should not interrupted a lesson". I highlighted that I had not asked for feedback there and then, but stressed to the teacher that I would welcome feedback (as she was not really providing any indication of how it was going), and that it was at the start of the day when the pupils weren't in a lesson. She did not seem concerned at all, and I got the impression that she felt I had acted badly.

    I think highlighting me being taken out of a position of building relationships with pupils' is a good way to go. I am going to try and keep a record of everything, actions that I have made to resolve the situation.

    They have not played fair thus far, and I am worried that it is only going to get worse. The teacher has literally provided no clear indication, other than the personal space comment, that things are going so bad. She has never mentioned to me that she felt my relationships with pupils are negative. Yet, she is pleasant enough to me in the class, it is only in the staff room she shuns me.

    I still have feedback from a teaching unit I did at university, that states that I built good relationships with pupils, had a positive attitude, and responded well to feedback (in a similar school that had a high intake of pupils on free school meals). I know that my previous school also gave me a glowing reference. Is it worth bringing in this as evidence?

    It is so difficult to get a teaching assistant position where I live (loads of graduates applied for this post). The position is only temporary, so I am only (hopefully) going to be there another 5 months, then I begin my teacher training. I am going to struggle to find another school that will take me on for that long.

    Thank you.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Colloquial)
    The problem isn't with the class, though, it's with the staff. The children seem fine to me. I think his best option is indeed to leave as he's had a good experience before in his first school, which shows the problem doesn't come from him. I personally would try to get another place somewhere else if I didn't feel valued by my school, yes. Wouldn't everyone? It works both ways - we all bring something to a school and the school should bring something to us in terms of being fulfilled in our jobs.

    I agree with you that he should try again to speak to the headteacher and really explain what's going on but if it doesn't work, I personally wouldn't wait for them to take away more and more responsibilities from me until I'm effectively useless, I would seek another position. Yes, such things happen but they don't happen everywhere in every school, as demonstrated by the fact that his first school was fine.
    Thank you for your response. I will keep looking, but there are literally no jobs where I live. I was SO lucky to get this post, and was chosen from a ridiculous amount of applicants. I am willing to grin and bare it. I don't need their reference for teach first, as I am already on the programme.
    Offline

    18
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Colloquial)
    The problem isn't with the class, though, it's with the staff. The children seem fine to me. I think his best option is indeed to leave as he's had a good experience before in his first school, which shows the problem doesn't come from him. I personally would try to get another place somewhere else if I didn't feel valued by my school, yes. Wouldn't everyone? It works both ways - we all bring something to a school and the school should bring something to us in terms of being fulfilled in our jobs.

    I agree with you that he should try again to speak to the headteacher and really explain what's going on but if it doesn't work, I personally wouldn't wait for them to take away more and more responsibilities from me until I'm effectively useless, I would seek another position. Yes, such things happen but they don't happen everywhere in every school, as demonstrated by the fact that his first school was fine.
    Stop telling him to leave the school. It is not an appropriate solution to any of the issues he has raised, and considering his latest comment, it will make things worse, because he will be unable to get another position.

    If the school makes him 'effectively useless' then they are not only wasting the abilities of one of their staff members, but they are wasting taxpayers money too, which is becoming a big issue, particularly with the ratio of staff numbers to pupils. Job satisfaction is all well and good, but the problem is the staff at the school and until they are challenged nothing will change. What is to stop this happening to the next member of staff who comes in? Would you tell them to move on too?
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    I think I am going to have to leave. I have spoken to a very close friend whose Mum used to work at the school. Despite being there for years, and not having another job to go to her Mum left, as the staff and environment had gotten so bad. She said the following: that new staff are not supported in anyway, and staff turn over is therefore very high. That the staff are likely to report you for no good reason. The environment is negative and hostile, the staff room is an awful place to be. This seems to hold true based on my experience.

    I have spoken to a union, and there is no way I can prove that the class teacher is lying. I basically have no rights as I am such a new employee. You have to have been there at least a year to file for unfair dismissal. Their advice was to leave before I am pushed because of the teachers lies. Even if they do keep me on, do I really want to work somewhere like this? I don't think so.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    ...
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    I had a similar issue when I was working as a TA with a supply agency. I went to the same school twice, the first time was excellent, the teacher I was working with gave me a great report, but the second time, with a different teacher, I behaved in just the same way, and then I got a call from the agency saying that the school didn't want me anymore. The second teacher was weird in her behaviour too, very noticeable.

    So, I can empathise with you to some extent, good luck with it, some people are just idiots
    • Community Assistant
    Online

    19
    ReputationRep:
    Community Assistant
    (Original post by rhys101)
    Hi,

    I recently began a general TA role in a school that is located in a very deprived area. The school has only just come out of special measures, but there seems a very strong drive for improvement. I am working in a class at the top of the school, where many of the children have behaviour problems/bad family lives.

    I have asked the class teacher to give me feedback on a regular basis on any issues/or areas for improvement. She has only raised one with me. She told me (in front of other pupils) that I was invading the children's personal space. I was rather mortified that the students had heard, and still have no idea how I am invading the pupils personal space. I am male, so am extra careful that I keep an appropriate distance away from pupils. In the last week, I have been largely moved away from working with the pupils. Sent to other classes, given loads of papers and HW to mark. So I can't even engage the pupils any more. I don't even feel like I have been provided with much of a chance.

    I have been there less than two weeks. Yesterday I was called up to the Head for a meeting. Out of the blue I was told that I had developed negative relationships with the pupils', and the previously mentioned personal space issue was also highlighted. Teacher had made comments to the head, but there were no solid, and only one negative example, of which I am sure didn't even happen. I was completely taken a back by these comments, and the class teacher had not given any clear indication that she felt things were going so badly. The head teacher said that "You should consider if you want to work in a school like this". Stating that if I didn't turn things around then I would be "let go".

    After having some time to reflect, I arranged another meeting with the Head today, and basically highlighted that there had been a lack of communication from the teacher in drawing awareness to the negative relationships/comments (which I am unsure if this is even a problem). That I was very concerned, and didn't understand why the class teacher had not communicated these issues clearly to me. I highlighted that I had been moved away from the pupils (which she declared had been intentional because of the issues) and it was still very early days, it was a new school and I am still learning.

    I suggested that the three of us come up with a written action plan, set out where I need to improve and how I can do it. That I was willing to learn from these criticisms and change. The head was positive about this, but generally seemed a tad defensive (from what I gather her and the class teacher are very close). I asked her to be specific with the issues, and she said that "I don't know what it is".

    I am feeling really down about this all. I have worked in a one to one (behaviour problems,) and in an intervention role before in a more affluent area. I was highly praised for the relationships I developed with staff/pupils, and they were gutted to see me leave. I am signed up to begin Teach First PGCE, and it is in this is going to be geared towards deprived areas. Yet, this has made me really doubt myself.

    I honestly feel I've been very positive towards the pupils, and praised them where ever possible. Some kids bought me Christmas presents and are generally friendly. I am not sure if they would bother if our relationships were that negative as stated.

    Some of the staff are lovely, but others seem rather hostile to me. I try and engage them in conversation, and they are very unresponsive. Sometimes they even move seats when I sit next to them in the staff room (including the class teacher i work with). I don't know what I have done to deserve this . One of the members started ranting about how Teach First degrades the teaching profession. That is the only thing I can think of.

    I really want to make it work, as I think I can be a real asset to the school. I've had many positive teaching experiences before, and had strong positive feedback, and responded successfully to constructive criticism. I have done my best to deal with this situation, but feel that I am going to be fighting an up hill battle from now on (as it sounds like they want me out). I was really lucky to get this job, but am not sure what else I can do to make this work. Does anyone have any advice? Thank you!
    Im sorry to hear about how they have treated you, it sounds horrible. It was a bit like that at my college placement last year, but not as bad. I suggest you try to carry on working through something with the head, as you have been and try to see that through. Id also suggest you say something to the head about how hostile some of the staff are being with you. But i suggest you start looking for other jobs elsewhere in the meantime. Hope this helps.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    This sounds awful and I am truly sorry to hear about your experiences here. I know exactly how you feel as I've been in a similar situation. Before I started my teacher training, I worked for a company which sounds very similar to this school. The staff were so hostile and spread lies about me - basically because I was new and I didn't fit in with the women who worked there. I was set up and made to look incompetent and my line manager was always calling me into meetings, implying that I was lazy and slacking off work. It was awful and in the end I quit after a few months. I complained to the HR dept but they supported the staff and said that there was no evidence.

    I hate hearing about cases like this as bullies like that get away with it, and its disgusting the way people cover for them. You dont want to work in a place like that - and why should you have to? Its your decision but I wish you luck for the future.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Hey everyone,

    Thanks for the responses. Just to give you an update, I was moved class as soon as I returned from the school. No explanation of what I had done wrong, even when I asked. The head just said that the class teacher was stressed and she under estimated how difficult it would be to place someone new into that specific class because of the pupils' issues. Since this a few of the pupils' have even asked me to come back to the class and told me that they missed me. So this has further confirmed that the negative relationship thing is bull crap.

    I am enjoying the job, but also finding it really challenging. The new class teacher I am working with is far better and seems reasonable. Yet, the school expect things done a drop of a hat. For example, I am sent of to lead a guided reading group with no idea of the book or what questions I am suppose to be asking. The staff seem to be being nicer, but the staff room is still an awful place for me to be. A few of the teachers are really harsh about the kids too. I mean, I know teachers naturally can have winge about their pupils', but it is beyond that level. They are referring to lower ability YEAR ONE pupils' as 'thick'. It really disgusts me. The staff also ***** about each other, and sometimes talk to me about it. I really don't know what to say this. No where else I've worked has ever been anywhere near this negative. Perhaps, I am being naive about the real world though?

    This type of thing is making me have doubts about the teaching profession as a whole. It would be far more difficult for this to happen else where, and I don't feel that I would have been treated like this in other professions. There is very little support and I feel like they are just waiting for me to slip up. Working in such a challenging school has made me seem some of the realities of the teaching profession. It is a difficult job, and I am worried that if I had a similar lack of support when I'm training to be a teacher, that it wouldn't end well..... Any advice from the more experienced folk out there?
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    I think the way you went about dealing with this situation was excellent - exactly the right way to handle it. I'm sorry you had to have such a bad experience, it sounds as though the first teacher you mentioned was far too teritorial about "her" class. I'm really lucky in that the school I work in at the minute are so welcoming, and have a sort of "anything you want to try, just tell me and you can do it" attitude about things, and they seem to genuinely care about helping promote the well-being of the next generation of new teachers. It's quite sad that there are teachers, such as the one you dealt with, that are so rigid with their own class that they don't even try to help you out.

    The fact that both the class teacher and the Head were so non-specific about the so-called problems or issues you were having with the negative relationship with the class just shows that they were basically talking crap. What I don't understand is why this teacher agreed to have you work in her classroom if she's so unopen to change - perhaps she assumed she'd be getting a new "assistant" who she could just bung all her marking and photocopying on to.

    I think the personal space issue is an akward one at the best of times, but then throw the fact that you are male into the mix and it's even more so. It's an unfair system that male teachers are treated differently than female but sadly I think it's just one of those things that will always be. I would judge that call on a school-by-school basis, as they all have different policies. Some take the very PC route and have a policy that may include very little or no hands-on touching with the children AT ALL, and then there's others such as the school I'm in at the moment who have a policy that is "hands on if it's positive, hands off if it's negative". They encourage a pat on the back or a ruffle of the hair etc, to coincide with a positive comment, and then if you are doing some behaviour management then it's completely hands-off, so the children know that you are not impressed with their behaviour. It's always a good idea to ask about that sort of thing, even though it sounds like a strange question - it's not! Every school is different, and a lot of thought is given to what is and is not appropriate in terms of personal space. I would say it differs a lot between year groups as well, the older they get the more personal space is appropriate. What age group were you working with?

    I personally think that children need that reinforcement of a pat on the back, or a touch on the arm alonside a "well done". Yes, there are boundaries and lines that cannot be crossed, but we can't forget that these are children and children need that positive reinforcement. For example, whilst I would never initiiate a hug or a cuddle, there are certain children who throw their arms around my waist almost every lesson and I will pat their backs while they do this. I think it's a huge negative reinforcement to the child to push them away or to actually say to them "No. You cannot touch me". Similarly, you'll always get children who want to hold your hand whilst going places, or who may lean against you if sat near you. Yeah, ok I don't condone children completely slumping against you, but if you keep moving away every time they nearly touch you then it's awkward, and they'll pick up on it. Similarly, when you're floating around the classroom aiding individual children, such is the set up of most classrooms, you have to get fairly close to a child to aid them with their work.

    I think also, the role of the teaching assistant or learning support assistant is very different from that of the teacher, in terms of how much personal space is appropriate. I remember last year whilst I was working in a Year 3 classroom, and a little girl asked me to help with her tights after a P.E lesson, the male teacher mentioned to me that we can't do that, but I replied that I'd helped her a number of times and that all I ever did was to roll the tights up in my own hands and help her put them onto her feet, up to her ankles, and then tell her to pull them up like trousers. He said oh yeah that's completely fine, but then added under his breath that he'd leave that to me, and he would no way even do that because it's just a mindfield for him, and as a teacher he operates in a different way from when he was a student teacher a few years ago.

    (Original post by rhys101)
    Perhaps, I am being naive about the real world though?

    This type of thing is making me have doubts about the teaching profession as a whole. It would be far more difficult for this to happen else where, and I don't feel that I would have been treated like this in other professions. There is very little support and I feel like they are just waiting for me to slip up. Working in such a challenging school has made me seem some of the realities of the teaching profession. It is a difficult job, and I am worried that if I had a similar lack of support when I'm training to be a teacher, that it wouldn't end well..... Any advice from the more experienced folk out there?
    Don't let the experience at one school cloud your opinion of the profession. I guess for every fantastic school there is out there, there is another that it like the one you're in at the moment. An experience like this might even help you out in the long-run, so that when you do get out there you'll be able to deal with a similiar situation if it ever arises again. I think it's a great idea to always go and visit a school and speak to the staff before you sort out the details of working there. You can get a feel for the school and whether the staff are going to be supportive throughout your time there. It really makes me angry if you come across teachers that are so indifferent toward TA's or student teachers, they more than anybody else should know what you're dealing with because they've been there themselves.

    You sound very dedicated to the profession, please don't let a bad experience change that!
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by nterry242)
    I think the way you went about dealing with this situation was excellent - exactly the right way to handle it. I'm sorry you had to have such a bad experience, it sounds as though the first teacher you mentioned was far too teritorial about "her" class. I'm really lucky in that the school I work in at the minute are so welcoming, and have a sort of "anything you want to try, just tell me and you can do it" attitude about things, and they seem to genuinely care about helping promote the well-being of the next generation of new teachers. It's quite sad that there are teachers, such as the one you dealt with, that are so rigid with their own class that they don't even try to help you out.

    The fact that both the class teacher and the Head were so non-specific about the so-called problems or issues you were having with the negative relationship with the class just shows that they were basically talking crap. What I don't understand is why this teacher agreed to have you work in her classroom if she's so unopen to change - perhaps she assumed she'd be getting a new "assistant" who she could just bung all her marking and photocopying on to.

    I think the personal space issue is an akward one at the best of times, but then throw the fact that you are male into the mix and it's even more so. It's an unfair system that male teachers are treated differently than female but sadly I think it's just one of those things that will always be. I would judge that call on a school-by-school basis, as they all have different policies. Some take the very PC route and have a policy that may include very little or no hands-on touching with the children AT ALL, and then there's others such as the school I'm in at the moment who have a policy that is "hands on if it's positive, hands off if it's negative". They encourage a pat on the back or a ruffle of the hair etc, to coincide with a positive comment, and then if you are doing some behaviour management then it's completely hands-off, so the children know that you are not impressed with their behaviour. It's always a good idea to ask about that sort of thing, even though it sounds like a strange question - it's not! Every school is different, and a lot of thought is given to what is and is not appropriate in terms of personal space. I would say it differs a lot between year groups as well, the older they get the more personal space is appropriate. What age group were you working with?

    I personally think that children need that reinforcement of a pat on the back, or a touch on the arm alonside a "well done". Yes, there are boundaries and lines that cannot be crossed, but we can't forget that these are children and children need that positive reinforcement. For example, whilst I would never initiiate a hug or a cuddle, there are certain children who throw their arms around my waist almost every lesson and I will pat their backs while they do this. I think it's a huge negative reinforcement to the child to push them away or to actually say to them "No. You cannot touch me". Similarly, you'll always get children who want to hold your hand whilst going places, or who may lean against you if sat near you. Yeah, ok I don't condone children completely slumping against you, but if you keep moving away every time they nearly touch you then it's awkward, and they'll pick up on it. Similarly, when you're floating around the classroom aiding individual children, such is the set up of most classrooms, you have to get fairly close to a child to aid them with their work.

    I think also, the role of the teaching assistant or learning support assistant is very different from that of the teacher, in terms of how much personal space is appropriate. I remember last year whilst I was working in a Year 3 classroom, and a little girl asked me to help with her tights after a P.E lesson, the male teacher mentioned to me that we can't do that, but I replied that I'd helped her a number of times and that all I ever did was to roll the tights up in my own hands and help her put them onto her feet, up to her ankles, and then tell her to pull them up like trousers. He said oh yeah that's completely fine, but then added under his breath that he'd leave that to me, and he would no way even do that because it's just a mindfield for him, and as a teacher he operates in a different way from when he was a student teacher a few years ago.



    Don't let the experience at one school cloud your opinion of the profession. I guess for every fantastic school there is out there, there is another that it like the one you're in at the moment. An experience like this might even help you out in the long-run, so that when you do get out there you'll be able to deal with a similiar situation if it ever arises again. I think it's a great idea to always go and visit a school and speak to the staff before you sort out the details of working there. You can get a feel for the school and whether the staff are going to be supportive throughout your time there. It really makes me angry if you come across teachers that are so indifferent toward TA's or student teachers, they more than anybody else should know what you're dealing with because they've been there themselves.

    You sound very dedicated to the profession, please don't let a bad experience change that!
    Thanks for your response, it was really helpful. It is good to know that you've had some wonderful experiences!

    To answer your question, I was with yr 6 before. They couldn't tell me what the specific issue was with personal space, I've even asked twice. Good point though, I am going to ask the new teacher about what is appropriate. Although, as I said, other than the odd high five, I pretty much avoid all contact. Had a few of them hug me round the waist, I've just ignored it tbh (kept my hands well away)! I know that seems harsh, but I think it's the safest thing to do.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Just to give you a final update on the outcome of this situation. I stuck out my time at the school, and am really glad I did. Things were fine with the new class teacher. I have built up great relationships with the pupils', and really enjoyed my time with the class. I have no doubts that teaching is right move for me now.

    The school itself has been a challenge, but some of the staff have actually ended up complimenting me on how good I am with the kids. I've truly realised that it wasn't me that was the problem. The advice in this thread really helped me, I hope anyone else in a similar situation will at least try and ride it out. It's hard, but worth it in the end.
    Offline

    18
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by rhys101)
    Just to give you a final update on the outcome of this situation. I stuck out my time at the school, and am really glad I did. Things were fine with the new class teacher. I have built up great relationships with the pupils', and really enjoyed my time with the class. I have no doubts that teaching is right move for me now.

    The school itself has been a challenge, but some of the staff have actually ended up complimenting me on how good I am with the kids. I've truly realised that it wasn't me that was the problem. The advice in this thread really helped me, I hope anyone else in a similar situation will at least try and ride it out. It's hard, but worth it in the end.
    I am glad it worked out well for you!
 
 
 
Poll
Do you agree with the PM's proposal to cut tuition fees for some courses?

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Write a reply...
Reply
Hide
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.