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Old 09-30-2013, 08:36 PM   #1
dminnie
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Question for elementary teaching assistants or teachers

Question for people that are TA's or teachers in elementary schools.

I've been a TA for just a few years and I LOVE working with the kids(young elementary). I also love working with teachers that are positive, respectful (of the TA's and students, other teachers, principal, etc.). I learn so much about how to positively have an impact on the kids. I've had a couple of assignments where the teachers just seem to be biding their time until retirement. If I had a choice, I wouldn't spend time in these classrooms because it's just so negative. Positive things I say to the kids can get turned around by them into a negative. Ugh! They also don't even do their job in many cases...not following state or district standards for discipline, covering all the subjects, etc.

So, how do you keep a positive attitude in working with people like this? How do you help make a good environment in a classroom that you are not in charge of?
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Old 09-30-2013, 09:24 PM   #2
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BTDT. You cannot change the environment of a classroom that isn't yours. It's not your responsibility, and not your business, to try to do this. You can, however, have positive interactions with the students. If the kids see that you have a good attitude about the class, are friendly and helpful, and respect them, they will turn to you with questions and come to your for help. Focus on the kids, not the teacher, and it'll be easier to have a positive attitude about the class, in general.

You can be a positive support in a negative situation... but you shouldn't, and can't, try to change a teacher's classroom. In the long run, s/he is teaching faculty, you are support staff, and your life will be SO much more stressful if s/he starts complaining to other faculty that you are overstepping your position.
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Old 09-30-2013, 09:47 PM   #3
dminnie
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Thanks. Focusing on the kids is exactly what I need to do. I definitely know I can't and shouldn't try to change the overall environment there. It's her classroom that she can sink or swim in. Unfortunately, the kids will sink or swim there too...mostly sink. I need to be true to myself in how I treat these kids though, while respecting the way she wants to run her classroom.

It's frustrating when I'm being positive with them and she turns it into a negative. For example, I make a compliment that most of the class is doing something right and she counters that with how the rest of them should shape up.
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Old 09-30-2013, 09:51 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leebee View Post
BTDT. You cannot change the environment of a classroom that isn't yours. It's not your responsibility, and not your business, to try to do this.
I disagree. You job is to assist the teacher , and assist the students? And you are paid by the school. I would consider it a fail to let a yr go by let alone a few allowing a child to slip through the cracks. ... for someone to stay and bide their time.
Your responsibility is too the students and the school not the teacher. Seek assistance else where. Hr, upper teachers, secretly if needed. Please do not let children learn about negativity. That IMO you would be failing doing nothing when you know something needs adjusting.
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Old 10-01-2013, 07:15 AM   #5
Shanna-like-Banana
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Thats a tough one. It's hard to be a ray of sunshine when you're clouded by debbie downer.

Does she say these negative statments out-loud to the students. Or is it more like a numble under her breathe to herself kinda way ? Either way, she should keep her negative thoughts to herself.

All I can say is try to stay positive. Think of ways you can connect individually on a daily level with the kids to bring a positive vibe to them.

Do you have daily 5 ? Can you call groups to read to you during "read to somebody" Can you call individuals during "read to somebody" call groups/kids during "listen to reading" what about topics of writing prompts. Can you pick the writing promts once or twice a week ? Can you think of positive topics for the kids to focus on ? Sharing, caring, family, pets, friends, etc.

During our daily 5, we have time for word work. We use a "squiggle story" to try and use new vocab. Can you make some squiggle stories for the kids to feel like they are getting their own personalized squiggle ?

Are there any type of reward systems in place ? Do the kids "clip-up" during the day ? Do you have any type of class rewards in place ? Some teacher use "links" and when the strand of links touches the floor, there is a class reward. My first grader gets " footsie-fun-friday" where they get to take their shoes off during a certain time of the day.

Our school as a whole uses the "bucket filler" system, where kids are rewarded for being bucket fillers. They can get a personal bucket slip, or a class bucket slip.

Positive praise goes a LONG way, esp with kids who are used to hearing negative things.

Maybe make a personal daily goal of praises you can give the class.

I use silly things. 9 times out of 10, the entire class follows suit when a praise is called upon a child.

I say very simple things like, " I love how table 4 is sitting on their bottoms " I really like how Bobby is sharing in X center, I really like how Jane is sitting so calmly.

It would irk me, to hear the teacher casting her negative thought upon the kids. They are kids for crying-out-loud. Why do they need to be subjected to her debbie downer attitude ?
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Old 10-01-2013, 07:55 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shanna-like-Banana View Post
Thats a tough one. It's hard to be a ray of sunshine when you're clouded by debbie downer.

Does she say these negative statments out-loud to the students. Or is it more like a numble under her breathe to herself kinda way ? Either way, she should keep her negative thoughts to herself.

All I can say is try to stay positive. Think of ways you can connect individually on a daily level with the kids to bring a positive vibe to them.

Do you have daily 5 ? Can you call groups to read to you during "read to somebody" Can you call individuals during "read to somebody" call groups/kids during "listen to reading" what about topics of writing prompts. Can you pick the writing promts once or twice a week ? Can you think of positive topics for the kids to focus on ? Sharing, caring, family, pets, friends, etc.

During our daily 5, we have time for word work. We use a "squiggle story" to try and use new vocab. Can you make some squiggle stories for the kids to feel like they are getting their own personalized squiggle ?

Are there any type of reward systems in place ? Do the kids "clip-up" during the day ? Do you have any type of class rewards in place ? Some teacher use "links" and when the strand of links touches the floor, there is a class reward. My first grader gets " footsie-fun-friday" where they get to take their shoes off during a certain time of the day.

Our school as a whole uses the "bucket filler" system, where kids are rewarded for being bucket fillers. They can get a personal bucket slip, or a class bucket slip.

Positive praise goes a LONG way, esp with kids who are used to hearing negative things.

Maybe make a personal daily goal of praises you can give the class.

I use silly things. 9 times out of 10, the entire class follows suit when a praise is called upon a child.

I say very simple things like, " I love how table 4 is sitting on their bottoms " I really like how Bobby is sharing in X center, I really like how Jane is sitting so calmly.

It would irk me, to hear the teacher casting her negative thought upon the kids. They are kids for crying-out-loud. Why do they need to be subjected to her debbie downer attitude ?
Yes, her statements are out loud. She rarely uses praise/compliments. Most (if not all) of the classrooms in the school use most of your suggestions. I do not help with planning, so I can't put my own spin on how she runs her room. (one writing prompt was actually to tell about a time you were sad...yikes) I probably just need to focus on treating the kids respectfully and giving them plenty of praise. I have to be careful how I phrase it so she doesn't knock down the kids that aren't getting a compliment from me.

And...I need to figure out how to not let it get ME down too.

I probably just really need to focus on being positive with the kids.

Last edited by dminnie; 10-01-2013 at 03:18 PM.
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Old 10-01-2013, 08:27 AM   #7
Shanna-like-Banana
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good golly

she sounds like just a real peach to spend the day with.

My child once had a teacher who was leaning toward the same attitude. She could have/should have retired many years ago, but just kept holding on.

The problems started the first day of school, when my first grader came home crying. She was very bitter person, she has unrealistic behavior policies and way over-stepped her suggestions to several parents. It was so bad my child was waking up crying in the middle of the night worried about having to go to school, and several times became so worried her made himself get sick.

Through meetings with the principal/admin, the parents were able to suggest a teaching coach for her, even though she was a teaching coach herself.

After her "coaching" and abruptly "retired" 7 weeks into school.
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