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Aides time to shine
Old 01-23-2019, 05:50 AM
 
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I have had a class where there is an aide that tends to one of the students. This is a first grade class I have had a lot. When she sees me she announces to the class, in front of me,..."You don't have a real teacher today so let's behave". I let it slide. During my teaching, she frequently interrupts or corrects what I said. I am a good sub and I know what I am doing. I have at least 15 teachers ask for me personally or text me to sub. I don't mind being corrected but please take me out in the hall and do it. Not in front of class. If she is not correcting, she is rolling her eyes and says,"He or she never does this when their teacher is here". This is not the first time this has happened with an aide. I have been interrupted and corrected before just because I don't do things exactly like their teacher. I used to let it slide but this one aide in particular wont let up. Suggestions? I know teachers have a bond so if I complain I think they wont ask me back.


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Old 01-23-2019, 07:38 PM
 
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I would take her aside after class and tell her nicely that you do not appreciate her disrespectful comments, and that if it continues, you will be speaking with human resources.
No one should have to put up with that kind of disrespect. We expect this from kids, not adults.

Memo to aide: You don't have to be in a classroom 5 days a week to be considered a teacher. I tutor, I teach my kids things all the time.
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It's not much different...
Old 01-24-2019, 05:44 AM
 
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It's really not much different than how you would handle it if it came from a student. Ever had a student tell you "You're not my real teacher?"

I'm reminded of one very dear second grader who loved to run the classroom... I'd been warned by the regular teacher but still had to manage her quite sternly and in doing so I made our roles very clear to her. She subsequently wrote me a note of apology (with the help of the regular teacher, obviously) but what really cracked me up was the next time I subbed. When she saw me in the room, she came over and said, "I know, Mr. B. You'll be the teacher today and I will be the student, right?"

If possible have the conversation upon arrival. When I have an ed tech I've not worked with before, I clear the air first thing, in a nice but firm way. "I'll be the teacher, you'll be the aide." Depending on the reaction I get, we have a quick discussion about how we might share responsibilities. I may even offer the aide an opportunity based on the lesson plan... "Would you like to teach this unit? How does the regular teacher handle..." What you're really doing is subtly establishing expectations. The best defense is a good offense.

Bear in mind, some aides are squashed and undervalued by the regular teacher. A sub gives them an opportunity to show their stuff. What you see as disrespectful she may think is being helpful. The best way to stop them from taking the opportunity is to give them the opportunity to do it on your terms while standing (literally and figuratively) next to them.

Where you know this one, you may have to "renegotiate" your relationship with her. If you continue to let it slide, she's not going to let up. (I'm not defending her, by the way.) Just like with kids, some behavior is best ignored or handled non-confrontationally. If she says "You don't have a real teacher today, so let's behave," I'd be tempted to say, "Mrs. Aide is correct. I am not your regular teacher but I am here today to be your teacher, so let's get started." Note the word change.

"He or she never does this when their teacher is here." I might say "Well, as I mentioned earlier, things are going to be different today!"

As we say regarding the kids, "Choose your battles." In most power struggles nobody wins. I'd focus on the kids--their "opinion" of me is more important than the aide's, although I'm not denying it's painful. In the interest of self-preservation, I might also be slipping something into my sub report to the regular teacher acknowledging the problem. "Mrs. Aide doesn't seem to approve of... if you'd like me to change how I... please let me know."
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Old 01-25-2019, 01:06 PM
 
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Quote:
This is not the first time this has happened with an aide. I have been interrupted and corrected before just because I don't do things exactly like their teacher. I used to let it slide but this one aide in particular wont let up. Suggestions? I know teachers have a bond so if I complain I think they wont ask me back
I know exactly how you feel. I sub for K-3rd, where sometimes there's an aide assigned to one special needs kid in the class. Even though they're assigned to one child, the aides I've seen prefer to be more involved with the entire class. Sometimes, they try to overstep and loudly order me and the students around or even try to assume my role (even though as a sub, I'm the "teacher of record" for the day. In other words, I'm responsible for conducting the class.)

Because of this, whenever there's an aide in the class, I feel I'm walking on eggshells all day. In the past, I've had aides complain about me, actually lying and claiming that I didn't let them help or that I was rude to them or whatever. No matter what I do, I can't seem to get it right with some of them. As a result, I choose to avoid schools that I know have a lot of aides.

When I do need to work with an aide, I try to be very friendly and accommodating, while still sticking to my role as the teacher in charge. A few aides I've met have been a huge help and are really great at team work. These folks make my day!

But in the case of an aide who was rude and insulting, I have had little luck in trying to address it. Some have an attitude about working with a sub. And these aides know they will not be held accountable because schools have trouble keeping aides and so indulge them. These folks also know that subs are vulnerable and expendable.

In fact, some aides will quickly retaliate by complaining against a sub, even falsely accusing them. It's really frustrating and discouraging. And you are right to be reluctant to complain. In the past, I've tried talking to the aides, the principal, and HR, but it did no good at all. Even worse, I was cast as the " bad guy".

Bear in mind that subs are outsiders whereas aides are regular members of the school staff. The staff all know each other and sometimes the aide has kids or grand kids at that same school. In short, the aides have the upper hand. It's a no-win situation for a sub.

In cases where you have to work with an aide, try to be friendly, respectful, and understanding, while at the same time retaining boundaries about your role as the teacher in charge. However, for your own protection, it's best to avoid classes where you have had past problems with a particular aide. Otherwise, you may find yourself blocked. That's my advice.

Last edited by luv2teach2017; 01-26-2019 at 12:40 PM..
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Old 01-25-2019, 09:34 PM
 
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Knock on wood, I've had good luck with aides. One even helped me get into a school I'd been trying to sub in for several years without success.

I've also met some difficult ones as well. One told her friend "did you see the way Mr. Subman was checking me out?" Ummm, no I wasn't checking you out. I was trying to get you to stop texting during class. It's known as the teacher stare. Everyone in the room could hear the brrrr-brrrr every you got a text message.

At another school there is an older male aide that refuses to talk to me if he can avoid it. He finds somewhere else to go during homeroom and works with students in the hallway if I am in the room. With other subs he talks to them and is in the room at the second round table.


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Aides
Old 01-26-2019, 04:59 AM
 
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How I work with aides is definitely on a case by case basis. I try to get a feel what they would prefer, as some do not want to step out of their roles at all, and others would rather shift up when the regular teacher is missing, and have me "be them" to an extent. (Obviously, I step in when necessary, but I often sub in special needs preschool classes, where the aide knows the routine, which is very important to the kids, and it is best for them for us to "switch seats" for parts of the lesson plan.)

In the case you described, I'd probably just avoid that room when I had choice of assignments, but otherwise, I would try to speak with her before the kids get there next time. Bring it up something like this:

Quote:
I noticed last time I was here that you were saying something in front of the kids that I think they might be misinterpreting. Of course they're going to test a new adult a bit to see where the boundaries are, but when you say things like "You wouldn't do that if your teacher was here," I know you're encouraging them to behave, but what I think they're hearing is that you don't think I'm a "real" teacher. I'm afraid it's backfiring because they don't see us a team.
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designed for dysfunction
Old 01-27-2019, 08:03 AM
 
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This topic is one of my big pet peeves, so I'm going to post more here.

From what I've seen, the practice of hiring a poorly paid, under educated, untrained aide to attend to an individual child in the classroom day after day is not a workable solution. It sets everyone up to fail. A school psychologist explained to me that this arrangement exists because it's more cost effective than providing sufficient Special Ed teachers and classes for the children who need them. In my district, there are virtually NO elementary school special ed classes. It's just underpaid, under educated aides.

Why is this a problem? Because the aides get bored out of their minds tending to one child and so they want a more expanded role in the classroom. The problem with that is that their job requires NO college education and provides virtually NO training. Sometimes there are aides who have degrees, even credentials, but usually not. So there you have an aide with no advanced education, no training, but who is, in many cases, expecting to help teach or manage the class? Sometimes the teachers give the aide a lot of leeway on this and may even give them a major role. However, the teacher is NOT the aide's supervisor. The aide reports to a district admin.

There's the rub. Enter the unsuspecting sub, who has been assigned to teach and manage the class for the day. It's the sub's responsibility to do so. Unfortunately, SmartFind or AETNA or whatever the job system is, does NOT indicate that there's an aide assigned to the class. So the sub is not forewarned. The aide, on the other hand, may see the presence of a sub as an opportunity to "spread their wings" and take charge of the sub and the class! It's a recipe for disaster.

A lot of the problem, if you ask me, is a poorly designed system of job classifications and inadequate management. There's no proper oversight of the aides and a defacto blurring of lines between job descriptions as a result.

I had a problem with an aide once, who informed me that she's used to taking charge of the class because she claimed "most subs prefer to take a passive role." Hmmm.... My experience was that from the very first, she was very aggressive, shouting out orders to me and the students and stepping to the front of the class to provide her own directions. When I tried to nicely speak with her about it, she got very defensive, left the room, and went straight to the principal to complain!

The principal, to her credit, tried to meet with us both to iron out the problem, but the aide refused to listen to either of us. She chose not to return to the class in the afternoon, leaving me to tend to her (highly disruptive) special ed student along with teaching the class !

I've had similar problems with other aides. (I could write a book.) As I said, I think a lot of it is that they generally are not educated professionals, yet thrown into a role where they receive little training, oversight,or management. The teacher (or sub) has NO authority with an aide. The aides also often have their own expectations about what their role should be, which often does not fit their actual education or skill set. Too often, this means when they get bored, they may neglect their own duties (the special ed child assigned to them) and either spend the time on their cell phones or inappropriately overstep into the teacher's (or sub's) roles. There seems to be no accountability.

Don't get me wrong. There are a few awesome aides I've worked with too (I can think of 3 or 4 offhand). They made the day go smoothly and pleasantly for everyone because they knew how to be in a supporting role and work collaboratively as a team.

Unfortunately, that's the exception rather than the rule, from my experience with aides. And if the aide is unhappy or disgruntled, it's the sub who takes the hit (believe me, I've taken several). Rather than working it out with the sub, the aide often chooses to (unprofessionally) run to the principal to "tattle" (Don't we teach the kids NOT to tattle?) while the hapless sub is busy conducting class. Have you ever been called to the principal's office, after a long day of teaching, only to be told you "hurt the aide's feelings"? Seriously? Are we adults here????? ( And for that matter, what about MY feelings? Don't they count too?)

Ultimately though, I don't blame individual people. I blame the school system. When the focus of any organization is on cost cutting rather than quality, everyone suffers.

Last edited by luv2teach2017; 01-27-2019 at 11:42 AM..
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Old 01-30-2019, 11:05 AM
 
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I'm not an expert in the aide situation but can share what I've seen from one school district.

High School students volunteer to be an aide in the school district. They are interviewed by teachers and the principal for the program. They have an open hour each day where they sit in class with the student. They are responsible for helping keep the student in line and focused on the work, explaining the assignment if needed. The aides have to log their daily experience and weekly report to a staff member. They are also responsible to write a term paper each semester about their experiences. They do get one high school credit for participating.

They have been a tremendous help in a class room where you may have a student that is autistic, physically challenged or just difficult.

Another school district actually uses two teachers in a room where there is a group of troubled, autistic or physically challenged students.
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Old 01-31-2019, 05:20 AM
 
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Thanks for sharing... we do a somewhat informal version of what you're describing, right down to the elementary level, where sixth graders may join a class of younger kids as a "helper." I think it's an awesome idea. When I'm subbing I tend not to assign a helper (we don't call them aides) to a special needs student but give them different jobs throughout the class so their experiences are varied. I wish we could do more of it!
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student helpers vs IAs
Old 01-31-2019, 07:21 AM
 
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The schools here sometimes have student helpers too...usually high school kids helping out a bit in elementary classes. But these are not Instructional Aides, as this thread addresses. IAs are school staff members who oftentimes are assigned to assist a specific special ed child in a mainstream class. The IAs may also float from class to class or work in a special ed class.


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