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Loveandmercy 09-14-2018 06:35 PM

How to improve relationship with Assistant
Hi everyone,

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this. I am brand new to this state and don't have friends yet so any input would be really appreciated. I'm at a new school in a full-time teaching job. I've been there less than a month. Back-to-School night went very well and parents seem to appreciate me. Other teacher who is my grade is super nice. Principal and Vice Principal seem happy as do the students. I've already bonded with the kids and I get hugged regularly. I really like this new school. I'm an experienced teacher and have had very positive experiences with assistants in my past school. A great assistant is SO helpful in a classroom. That is an understatement.

My new assistant in my new school has been there for many years. But I am feeling like I am getting steamrolled. I have said to her something like "thank you so much for showing me the procedure for centers - I think now I should begin them" and, well, she didn't let me...she went ahead the next day and started them. Did she forget? She makes the announcement that centers are starting and starts shouting instructions at the kids. I dont run my classroom this way. It is counterproductive. It was somewhat understandable my first two weeks that she would take over (because I didn't know how they were run) but now I totally understand how to do it and she needs to get out of the way and be the assistant. But it is as if she is the teacher (?) and i am getting steamrolled.

There have been times I am talking to the class and she will literally interrupt and talk right over me. Maybe she has a hearing issue? Although I appreciate her help showing me new stuff in the classroom how to run centers this doesn't mean I'm a beginner in the profession or that she should intervene and take control if I am simply approaching something in a slower, more deliberate manner. I feel she rushes the kids. I don't teach that way. It is ineffective. I feel she would rather tell a child the answer to get the paper filled out rather than having half the paper finished but it is actually coming from the student who persevered. The other teacher in my grade, who is a quite honorable sort and not prone to gossip, shared in a professional way that she has experienced this when this aide helps her each day, also. We didn't badmouth this aide to one another. She suggested I speak to her about it which I will on Monday which I had already decided to do.

Aide talks right over me when I talk to her one-on-one (before school when we are alone in the classroom) and also has a few times in class in front of students. (We are the same age, by the way. ) WHat do I say to her? Don't talk over me? I mean what is she thinking? Today I said to her "I feel like I have lost control of my class" and she was quite angry. (this was not a good thing for me to say I admit. I was frustrated) When I tried to explain what I meant (this is my first real attempt to address matters) There was a big pause with her giving me the big stare down and then she said "I'll talk to you about this later" in an angry voice. I am not used to this. I am a mellow teacher who has a history of getting along well with all types of personalities. I am an INFP in the Meyers Briggs test.

I guess this is a personality I have not yet run into in teaching profession. I wanted to talk to her before she left for the day. She bolted. I did get a text from her apologizing for getting mad. But then she said something like "we can reboot on monday" Maybe that was nice? I texted back. I said a brief apology, too (?) THen I said I think it would be helpful to talk.

I just feel very undermined by my new assistant and am looking for suggestions about how to say what I need to say. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Also, I have never had assistants who write comments to parents in the assignment books. I asked her to initial what comments she writes. Was that unreasonable request?

Thank you very much.

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MrsPhysics 09-15-2018 05:28 AM

That would be frustrating!
I am not the best person for advice on this issue but I do have 2 things...

1. If you don’t get a lot of responses, try moving your question to either the Busy Board or the Vent, which get more traffic.

2. When you talk to her, make sure you give her the reasons behind the decisions you’ve made. Use the word “because” a lot. Frame it as being about you instead of about her so that she doesn’t feel attacked.

Good luck! 🍀

Jamie1443 09-20-2018 02:58 PM

That’s completely unacceptable. In life, what I’ve learned is that people will take advantage of you as much as you let them. She’s taking advantage of you and in a big way. I think you should ask to meet with her and sit down. Keep it light hearted and kind, as this is the first time you’re addressing the situation and say something like;

“I really appreciate how helpful you’ve been the first few weeks, thanks so much for all of your hard work. Now that I feel like I’ve gained some grounds I’d love to share what I believe would be the most beneficial way for our children to have a happy, successful year in our classroom. I would like to be doing (blank), and could really use your assistance in these areas (explain).”

Using the word assistance or assistant is good to make sure you reinforce that you are aware of her position and reminding her of what it is too.. in the kindness way possible. But it’s important to do!

You could even share some of your philosophy on education and why you use an indoor voice; because you’re setting the example when you speak, and how you speak is how you’re displaying what is acceptable for your students in the classroom. And how yelling is generally counterproductive from you’re experience.

My guess is that she’s doing the best she can with what she knows. But if you’re able to help open her eyes to the insights that you’ve gained over the years maybe her approach can shift to be more in sync with yours

Wishing you the best of luck!


Lenment 01-11-2019 03:09 PM

End It
I had a similar situation. I had a mentor teacher a few years back. I emailed him and told him the situation wasn't productive in a nice way. He ignored the email, so I went to the principal and told him I need the freedom to get a handle on my class. I offered another arrangement whereby I would go to my mentor for questions. That ended up better for me. Too many cooks spoiling the soup.
There is no way we will get along with everyone. Animals fight and kill each other to be in charge, and humans display this behavior in different ways. Offer
an arrangement that works best for you. Your gut feeling knows.

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