So here’s the situation…
I have a full time aide in my classroom. This person served as a sub for several weeks in the classroom before I was hired. It’s taken A LOT of work getting my class to where they are. I’m their 4th licensed teacher this year. We still have some behavior issues, but we’re lightyears away from what I initially stepped into. This morning, the class entered the room quietly and started their morning work with little prompting. This is VERY different and what I’ve been striving to help them accomplish for the past nine weeks. I commented upon this to the aide and she replied with, “Well, when I was their teacher they always acted like this.” I’m not quite sure how I should feel about that comment. This is NOT the first time she’s said something of this nature. She’s quite quick to put in little jabs like that mentioning how well behaved they were for her and blah blah blah. I’ve heard from other teachers that they really didn’t behave any better for her, but that’s beside the point.
Any time she says something like that, my first response is just to think, “If they behaved so well for you, why aren’t YOU their teacher? Oh, that’s right…you aren’t licensed.” Yes, horrible, I know, but her statements hurt my feelings and make me feel as though I’ve made no progress and that I’m pretty ineffective at what I do. I know that isn’t true, but the comments plant the seed.
This aide is not an educator. She comes from the healthcare field. Her content knowledge is limited. She is a parent/grandparent though and her “I mean business” approach scares the crap out of the kids. My approach is on the opposite end of the spectrum. I’m more about creating a classroom community, allowing freedom, encouraging independence, and holding students accountable for their actions. I will never punish a whole class for the actions of a few. We DO NOT see eye to eye on this. While she was the sub, they NEVER had recess due the poor choices of some. Another huge point of frustration is that she often undermines my authority by telling the students that everyone’s recess will be taken away. That’s painful considering all of the work I’m putting in trying to reward those that are always making good choices. At times, I believe having her in the room is actually un-doing everything that I’m trying so hard to accomplish.
Honestly, I don’t know what to do about the situation. I don’t want to be disrespectful as she is older than me and does deserve respect, but I am the teacher. She is not. I’ve heard from various sources she’s still in the classroom to quell any remaining behavior issues, but largely she does nothing. She sits in the back of the classroom and observes….all day, every day. She doesn’t help with instruction and cannot handle switching gears on a moments notice. She has to have the lesson plans well ahead of time so she can study the content. I’ve actually asked for her help with math groups several times, but she’s declined because she wasn’t familiar with the material. This is 3rd grade. Hmmm….