General Science and Teaching

Educational Assitant's

Currently I am certified 8-12 Science, 4-8 Science, 4-8 Social Studies, and 4-8 General Education. As a result of a hiring freeze and budget cuts I was unable to get a teaching job but was able to secure an EA position. I work with 4 different teachers in 4 different subjects. I love the opprotunity to work with and see different teaching styles. What I don't like is the different class management strategies. In all the classes I am used as an enforce of rules, but some teacher's can't make up their minds on the rules, and how to enforce them so I feel many times that they undermine me. Yes its their class, but the fact that we can't get on the same page is frustrating. One teacher lets students get away with anything, and one is very structured. Its hard some days to switch inbetween enforcing modes and so I have a hard time getting students to listen to me, even when I am just trying to teach and assist them with assignments. How/What can I do to correct/fix my situation. I feel as time goes by I am losing the students respect more and more.

Nathan Thompson
Nathan Thompson
4500 Activity Points

I just realized that I misspelled assistant

Nathan Thompson
Nathan Thompson
4500 Activity Points

Hi Nathan, I 'hear' your pain. Teaching is hard, and so is being a teaching assistant! It is so difficult to be put in the position your are facing right now. I think one important thing to always do is to treat each and every child with respect as an individual. They are someone's 'baby' and just like you would want your own child to be handled with care,concern, and sensitivity, you are in that position to do so to someone's child. There is another discussion thread that talks about behavior that might be of help for you to peruse. In the meantime, best of luck with remembering the importance of your help to the classroom teacher and his/her students. They need you to respect them both, even when it seems like you aren't gett[url=http://learningcenter.nsta.org/product_detail.aspx?id=10.2505/9780873552325.5]ing your fair share of it!
This free book chapter on Classroom Management[/url] (and student behavior issues) might be a useful resource.
Try to build up a relationship with your supervisors where there can be times for you to express your frustrations with them in ways that don't sound confrontational or accusatory. Sometimes just looking for ways to give them real compliments will ease the tension and lay the groundwork for positive exchanges. My best to you.
What are other's ideas/suggestions for Nathan's situation?

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
79623 Activity Points

What I don't like is the different class management strategies. In all the classes I am used as an enforce of rules, but some teacher's can't make up their minds on the rules, and how to enforce them so I feel many times that they undermine me. Yes its their class, but the fact that we can't get on the same page is frustrating. One teacher lets students get away with anything, and one is very structured. Its hard some days to switch in between enforcing modes and so I have a hard time getting students to listen to me, even when I am just trying to teach and assist them with assignments. How/What can I do to correct/fix my situation. I feel as time goes by I am losing the students respect more and more.

Nathan,

As Carolyn so poignantly stated you really are 'between a rock and a hard place' If you are the enforcer of rules than it might help to meet with each teacher to go over your role.

This is also a tough time of year ( Nov-Dec) for teachers Perhaps you could aim for changes in January when there is more rejuvenation in a teachers life? Begin a dialogue now but aim for change after the holidays?

Another thought is to approach teachers in a team building approach and that you are looking out for the best interests and teaching/learning environments for your students.

My best to you !

Arlene JL

Arlene Jurewicz-Leighton
Arlene Jurewicz Leighton
42020 Activity Points

Nathan:
This is a touchy situation. You are a voyeur in the situation. If you can find time to talk to the most frustrating teachers privately you might gently suggest a way to help them improve. I am currently working with 24 fifth grade teachers. I spent a great deal of time with one teacher over a two year period. I wanted to tell him to find another job since he could not implement anything. In essence he was afraid of the kids and the kids knew it. Because of poor test grades on a standardize test he was changed to first grade and is having a great time. Many teachers do no know how they teach. In this program we video tape a science lessons from each teacher at the beginning and end of the year. I review and then go and talk to the teachers after the first one. Before I do that they must fill out a self assessment form about what they did they likes and how they could improve. This makes them watch the video. Watching themselves really helped to improve what they were doing. When they see themselves they realize what is going on.
Gently suggesting one idea at a time may or may not help the teacher but it is worth the effort. I remember the old idiom "You can take a horse to water but you can't make him drink." That is true of teachers as well.
Try one suggestion at a time privately but preface it with something that sound polite and respectful. You can offer ideas but that doesn't always work. Sometimes it takes years and lots of effort to change.
Good luck.
Adah

Adah Stock
Adah Stock
101470 Activity Points

I thought the link Carolyn provided to the book chapter about middle school science classroom management was very helpful. I especially liked the idea of using a lab safety checklist before and after classroom labs. Asking students to reflect upon teamwork, objectives, and safety rules will help reinforce the significance of these concerns. I have participated in many science labs that seem to unravel towards the end. Discussion and follow-up after lab activities will encourage on-task behavior throughout while adding more accountability for the end result and learning expectations.

Regarding Nathan’s dilemma, I can certainly empathize with conflicting management approaches. Hopefully some of the great advice in the previous posts has been helpful!

Ann Kennedy
Ann Kennedy
1250 Activity Points

As a classroom assistant, this is a topic that I can certainly relate to. I have been an assistant for several teachers over the past nine years. I have also worked with cooperating teachers in different classrooms and grade levels. I have, at times, found that being on the same page as the teacher is not an easy task. I have found that early communication has always helped me find out exactly what the teacher believes my role should be, what the expectations are, and how he or she would like the strategies of classroom management implemented. If I don’t think that we are in sync, I suggest that we brainstorm strategies together. The teachers have appreciated keeping the lines of communication open. I would also request that the teacher communicate to the students in the beginning of the school year that you are part of the classroom team and what your role in the classroom will be. That way the students are also on the same page.

Nicky Durband
Nicky Durband
1670 Activity Points

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