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Staff Chatting


fizzy
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we are a small pre school with 5 members of staff.

we are all friends.

3 members seem to be constantly chatting and its driving me mad!

i feel like im constantly having to tell them to stop gossiping.

How does everyone else deal with chatty staff.

Any input would be greatly recieved

Thanks

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Hi Fizzy -

I'm looking forward to this discussion! Obviously some chatting is a good thing, especially if they're discussing a great activity or how to cope with free flow play etc.

 

But I guess you're not talking about that sort of chatting, and it has driven me to distraction in the past. I look forward to hearing peoples' comments! :o

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obviously staff need to have a connection and chat but when this has become extreme i tend to be very frank all though I do not want to stop staff chatting i pay them to interact with the children not with each other and to focus on the children. i must admit I have repeated this a couple of times but the staff do seem to be better now. If that does not work have you tried a gag!! LOL

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hi

 

Same here have 2/3 members of staff chatting and you know its not to do with work because when you walk past or go near them they move or stop!!

 

I am only the deputy, a couple of times I have had to say something because my supervisor is out of room or on the phone.

I have said "sorry ladies, I know it good to chat but there are still things to get done before we open" I know they didn't like it and it has happened several times since, they probably think oh she only deputy but they don't realise that my role is really not much differ to the supervisor. it is only now 2 of them one has realised and is making great changes.

 

Would love to hear how others managed it and look forward to reading this thread just like steve said.

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It happens in loads of places I go to, 2 where it rarely happens are my favourite settings. I like to think that wherever I am, I'm treating other peoples children as I would want mine treated and thats how I explain my practice if anyone ever comments about anything I do. That can make some think! :o

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I tend to go up to them and say something like "I'm sorry to interrupt your chat ladies but xxx needs doing". If I detect 'attitude' at this point I will ask if there is a problem and deal with whatever the response is. I have to say though, that most times they realise that their private chat is inappropriate and will get back on with the job!

 

If it has been a real problem then I bring it up as an agenda item at the next staff meeting - explaining that whilst it is nice to be able to chat there often isn't time. I will also explain that if two members of staff are having a chat then the rest of the team are effectively supervising the whole group of children - and even with our high adult:child ratios that isn't safe.

 

I also make sure that I remind the whole staff that everyone should feel empowered to ask for more support when needed - and if they need to interrupt two colleagues who are having a conversation (whether of a private nature, or about work), then they should feel confident to do so.

 

I have learned to my cost not to ignore these issues - otherwise ill feeling builds up amongst the team and everyone becomes demoralised. Then the problem is more difficult to deal with than a little awkwardness at having to remind staff of the need for "less chat, more work"! :o

 

Maz

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if it before we open, which is usually is with us - I give them the nasty 'sorting out jobs' no one wants, then tell " could you just do this while you're talking please"- they usually find something better to do pretty quick!

 

If they're chatting during the session I often just say-- (and I'll give them there due- they usually only talk if the children are occupied) -- that whilst I don't mind them talking can they watch at the children, then I gently direct them to face opposite directions if possible - once they lose eye-contact with each other the chatting usually stops.

 

xx

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Could you make them responsible for certain areas where they have to concentrate on what they are doing. Painting area, helping out with computer, changing displays, outside area. I normally find once engrossed there is no time for talk, empowerment works for adults as well as children. Have any of them got skills you could put to good use. I have some new staff one of which is fantastic at art so am utilising this fully, the other is great at drama so I shall be using this skill as fully as possible, she has also expressed interest in the childrens achievement books so yes yet another area to develop.

 

I know I went into some places when I was gaining experience for my EYPS where there was lots of gossiping and it wasn't very nice. It felt like the children weren't important, even as an adult I felt uncomfortable. Do they have key children could they be getting quality observations?

 

I know there has to be a balance and I wouldn't enjoy working as much if I didn't enjoy the company of the people I work with.

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I sometimes get home from work and realise that I've hardly spoken to my colleagues other than about work. I have to say we are all very conscious of why we are there and I for one am thankful for the great role models I have in my manager and other colleagues. :(

 

It's the parent helpers who I find hard to get away from. Bless them, they mean well I suppose but some seem to want to chat all morning and its hard to ignore them. As for two parents helping in the session together!!!!!

Absolute nightmare especially when discussing their nights out in front of the children!!

 

As for advice Fizzy - Do you socialise outside work? We go out once a month with a committee member arranging it all. We've been bowling, skittling, cinema - cinema was'nt such a hit as we could'nt talk much to each other. xD:( It great to catch up with news especially with those staff members who work different sessions. Works for us!! :o

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I have recently had this problem at work too!! When we had our staff meeting I brought it up very gently, but said that I had been trying to do a peer on peer observation but had to wait so long for staff to stop chatting that I gave up!!! All staff laughed (I didnt name names) but after that it became much much better!! They just needed a gently nudge to remind them! :o

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Hmmm...!!! This issue is BIG!!! we all want and need a team that gets on well with each other however...!

.......it really gets on your nerves if you are the one who has to organise everyone and get jobs done.

Our playgroup opens at 9.30 i had been arriving at 8.00 closely followed by another member of staff, together we would rush around & set up most of the hall. Two more members of staff would appear & be talking & giggling in the kitchen & then wander through to find the hard, heavy work done.

Last term our youngest member of staff had been nattering in the kitchen, strolled through to see me & the early staff member sitting down coz we where worn out. Her comment was " having a sit down are you?" I replied "well yes as we have done most of the work for you all". Her reply was "oh well". This comment just made me mad as we had both already done 3/4 of an hours work unpaid to help the others.

I told my staff member who would help me early not to arrive till at least 8.40 for a 8.45 start then we all can do the heavy & hard work together xD . This worked well last term, however as time is short things would not be done & i would have to keep on asking, hand wash bowl please, hand towels please, is the story room set?, are the bins put in place etc. This made me feel like a slave driver but the girls would do half of the work then all stand around preping the snack! I brought it up at a staff meeting & firmly said that no one gets a cuppa untill all of the jobs have been completed & I created a list and put it on the wall to be checked off each morning.

Only two days into this term & my girls are now arriving later & later, so i am back to square one with me & one staff member doing most of it again. I think they are meeting up outside & having their natter then arriving late.( Shhh!! I have a plan for tommorrow...!!! :o )

The staff wouldn't get away with it anywhere else would they? It is a hard role to full fill being incharge & also having a close relationship but also being able to direct things the way they should be done with out offending anyone.

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I designed a sheet which is displayed on our noticeboard so that when staff arrive they can look to see what is done and then check the list to see what needs to be done next.

 

It is quite a good way of being able to say to staff: what's next on the list? or ask them to check the list to tell me what needs to be done next. It was originally designed to help those staff members who arrive later during the set up time to see exactly what needs to be done rather than stop everyone several times to ask which can be annoying for both parties.

 

It also provides a useful checklist to make sure everything has been done before we let the children in! I have to say that some members of staff are better at it than others - perhaps I should start saying that once everything is done and if there is time, they could put the kettle on and have a cuppa!

 

I know what you mean about the chat when you're trying to set up though: I have been known to ask someone if we can "talk about this later" because I can't concentrate on what you're saying when I have to keep dashing in and out of the room to the storecupboard. They usually take the hint! :o

 

Mind you I used to work with someone who would start a conversation and then be completely oblivious that you had not only left the room but actually had to go outside the building to get stuff from the shed whilst carried on talking. I became quite skilled at listening to snippets of conversation but still understanding the thrust of what she was saying! I was a very junior member of staff and she was my superior so I just learned to live with it. Am a bit more assertive now! xD

 

Maz

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I saw something simlar this morning, I will be keeping a careful eye out this week. Maz your idea sounds good, although as were in one big room they can see what needs doing when they get in.

 

Anyway this is how we normally set up in the morning. 2/3 of us come in for around 8.30 am to set up followed by another member of staff or 2 depending upon days around 10 mins later we do most of the heavy work. More staff arrive at 9 am to complete the rest but mainly setting out paints etc. We have a parent helper who comes in every day to help out and make our coffees before we start. Preschool for 2 1/2 hours using a deployment list then for 10 mins before we let in the parents we try to tidy up. After all the parents have gone the rest of the equipment is put away before leaving.

 

 

Today a couple of things still needed to be done this morning so I asked them to do it, chair noticed too. The start of session was unsual today.

 

This is how it went:

 

I was as manager trying to talk to a new starter parent, staff a was settling another child, staff b was setting in the new starter, staff c was in the correct area, staff d was doing the register, somehow manged to vanish well more likely hidden before session even though I knew I had got it out :o and staff e was working with children across the other side of the room.

 

I was busy sorting out regsistration forms when I looked up and heard children scream only to find 3 yes 3 members of staff in the same area playing with a smal amount of children. Again later I had to talk to my deputy about something when we both heard shouting, again no staff were present in that area. I ended up having to see what was the matter, staff then quickly went to the area to play with the children. I knew that 1 staff member was on the phone trying to sort out a new one (don't ask) as I asked her to do it.

 

I have no idea what the staff were doing knowing that most children were in that area. I think for the next couple of days will watch where the staff are and how long they are in one area. The fun bit will be that the side room will be open as a side room, theres 6 of us so I can float around until snack time then I will have to stay in one area.

 

Beth

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Maz your idea sounds good, although as were in one big room they can see what needs doing when they get in.

So are we Beth! And as your tale of despair shows, just because people can see what needs to be done it doesn't mean they stop chatting long enough to do it! :o

 

Sorry - must keep a lid on my cynicism!

 

Maz

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Thanks for all your posts on the subject there was some really good advice, its nice to know im not alone.

 

Have decided to have a staff meeting, as i feel its creating bad vibes too. the two non chatty ones feel like they are doing more of the work (me being one of them).

 

Like the idea of a list, for back up!

 

I just feel all i do at work is moan at them!! :o not good.

 

i can see the team falling apart if i dont do something quick xD

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We have a staff rota that outlines exactly where each person should be each day and what jobs they are doing. We have two rooms and an out door area. There are two members of staff in each area. Also on the rota is who is on toilet run, adult led activities, registration etc and jobs before and after session, washing up, setting up for next day etc. Everyone does every job over the week, there is no arguing and there is no pre/after session chatting until all jobs are done!! AND MORE IMPORTANTLY NO COFFEE!!

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We have rota for all session jobs. It happens alot when maybe one has just a few children at their say snask bar. she will wonder off and have a chat with someone.

Although i ve even caught them in the toy cupboard!!!

But gonna do one for setting up/putting away & i did ban coffee!

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Tried to be the playdough today but after being rolled on, squashed soooo flat then squeezed so hard i had no strength left in me to deal with the staff issues so i had to sit in a bag in the fridge for ages just to get myself back together again!!!!!

May i should re think my under cover methods!!! LOL :o .

 

I wanted to address the staff issues today but was unable to do so, that is not so bad as it gives me time to consider the staff's possible reasons for acting as they do & may be I could offer some solutions instead of a rollicking!

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Umm would have been an interesting site to see!! xD:(

 

I walked out this morning from my 'office' to find only 1 staff in the room, 1 went for a coffee break, 1 talking to her assessor with me only for a couple of minutes as I left them to it and 2 turned out to be in the toliets. :(

 

This may sound silly but I now have discovered that one member of staff is causing me some concern. Firstly they came in and did a little bit of setting up, went to start session with another member of staff.

 

Then came to me and 'accused' that a child had hit another (wouldn't care but mum was nearby and heard) so I told them to leave it with me. I then asked second member of staff who said a child had hit another but not sure who. I was thinking more of an Acidcient (sp), behviour and conquence (ABC) method just to see what is happening with the child who can be agressive sometimes.

 

Then later on they disappered into the toliets (already another member of staff there) and they then did a very small amount of tidying away (was talking to a key parent) then dispeared.

 

Who'd be a manager! :( Ok I admit that I love my new job and I will have to learn how to deal with these new chalenges as I go along. :o

 

 

Beth

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Tried to be the playdough today but after being rolled on, squashed soooo flat then squeezed so hard i had no strength left in me to deal with the staff issues so i had to sit in a bag in the fridge for ages just to get myself back together again!!!!!

May i should re think my under cover methods!!! LOL :o .

 

I wanted to address the staff issues today but was unable to do so, that is not so bad as it gives me time to consider the staff's possible reasons for acting as they do & may be I could offer some solutions instead of a rollicking!

 

xD What a picture you paint! (Or a model you make :( -now I'm confused!)

 

I think it is a good idea to spend some time reflecting on the best way of tackling this otherwise you could end up with staff going on the defensive and becoming hostile towards you. I always find it is good to turn it around to make them realise that it is not good practice and come up with solutions themselves! :(

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I know I went into some places when I was gaining experience for my EYPS where there was lots of gossiping and it wasn't very nice. It felt like the children weren't important, even as an adult I felt uncomfortable. Do they have key children could they be getting quality observations?

 

Oh yes this is happening where I am on EYPS placement, but it is so hard not to be sucked into doing it oneself..when I want to be accepted in this setting and need to get ahead! I'm guility of trying to be ' all things to all people' and that's dumb!!

I'm not sure if I want to work in this setting, as it revolves around gossip to quite an extent!!!

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Its all too easy to get sucked in - which can be very dangerous indeed. We've had lots of problems with this in our group of late - and once this kind of gossip and backbiting takes hold of a setting it is very difficult to turn things around.

 

I always think that if 'they' talk about people whenever their backs are turned, they're probably talking about me too! And since I know how that feels, I'm very careful to select who I whinge to...

 

Maz

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