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I feel unhappy when staff spend a lot of time chatting to each other (and me) about their personal lives rather than interacting with the children. How do I handle it when someone starts telling me about how many drinks they had last night while I am in the middle of reading a story to a child (just one example!) without seeming rude. I end up just nodding and saying 'oh really' and then turning away to talk to the child/children I am with. But I think that I am coming across as rude because of this, and I don't want to completely alienate myself (I am not a supervisor so don't feel I can address it head on).

 

What I would really like to do is think of some ideas to suggest to managers about how to refocus staff's attention onto the children rather than themselves. Something like asking them to assess particular children by the end of the session and produce a few written notes/observations including their language/comunication/building relationship development - stressing that this would include the need to talk to them (!).

 

Any ideas or views or strategies that people have used that you could share please??

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Hi Starburst,you shouldn't have to say anything because it just should not happen. I went to visit another setting last week and during story time one staff member who was tidying up was having a full blown conversation with another staff member who was on the other side of the room. I was sitting trying to listen to the story with the children and it was impossible. I just looked at the staff in disbelief. I think your idea of getting the staff to observe the children to encourage interaction is a good idea but I think your leader should remind staff of their roles and responsibilities. Sorry feel quite strongly about this, good luck, mrsW.

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We had this one Friday morning - but it wasn't staff. On Fridays parents come in to listen to story and join in with songtime. A couple of parents were chatting away behind the children, so I'm afraid I just stopped reading and looked at them, and the children turned and looked at them too, and after a minute or so they stopped and looked sheepish, I said 'thankyou' and carried on. Nothing else was said and it's not happened again. I strongly feel that it's just blatant rudeness and has to be stomped out! In the past I have had staff who have done it and I just divert them elsewhere - 'Can you just go and .....' But as a Manager I'm differently placed to do it and I can understand that you don't feel you can do that. Possibly a quiet word with your manager might be the solution - then at least she knows you're not part of the problem - but be aware that if you 'whistle blow' on it you must be prepared to never be tempted to do it yourself! As Maz reminds me every time I moan about people's spellings! :o

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We've had a similar problem at our school with our TAs while we're doing a whole class input, the children children can her about Mrs X's weekend more than they can hear the teacher. It came up in a meeting with the head and deputy that this was happening and as the class teacher how disrespectful it seemed and rude really. People had tried the 'I expect everyone to be quiet' but the blatant hint was not taken. In the end the line manager to the TAs brought it up as a general comment in a TA meeting they were having. One of the TAs that was guilty of this got a bit uppity about it but has taken it on board without damaging any relationships. Of course ours is a different situation in that we had no problem with them talking as they do work really hard and are great with the children etc... it was just the volume that was the problem.

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Thanks for your comments all - it has already been bought up in a meeting a while ago but things seemed to have slipped back again. May be I will have a quiet word with my manager about chatting in the session and see what she thinks

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just a few other thoughts;

 

Could management introduce 'peer' observations, staff observe staff interacting with children etc. (see attached obs form-two tabs)

 

Could you have a word with you 'colleagues' something in the lines of, remember that meeting when 'chatting' was discussed, I think it might be bought up again, and/or did you realise you interrupted my story, I'm sure you didn't mean to but I's only just told (childs name) off for interupting, telling her how rude it is. (emphasise the need to be good role models for the children).

 

basically what I'm saying is that the relationship with your colleagues should be secure enough to be able to tell them that what they are doing is wrong, in a friendly, tactful, non threatening, constructive critisism kind of way. :o

 

I, as boss, was able to take such critisism from my staff from time to time, as we all make mistakes. xD

 

Another suggestion is to ask management to devise a 'golden rules' list at the next staff meeting, with all the staffs input. (see attached- 'Great eam Work list) Although personally I think such (minor) issues are best addressed at the time, with the individuals responsible, so they don't grow into bigger issues of feeling the need to 'take to management'

 

Hope it sorts itself out quickly for you.

 

Peggy

Observation_sheet_jan_04_STAFF.xls

GREAT_TEAM_WORK.doc

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I'm afraid I just stopped reading and looked at them, and the children turned and looked at them too, and after a minute or so they stopped and looked sheepish, I said 'thankyou' and carried on.

 

I love it.

 

I wish I had been a fly on the wall for that one.

 

Well done you!

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beat me to it, i was gonna say peer obs, excellent tool

but also remeber that midless chatter may be midless to you but important to someone else and although there is a time and place for chatter as a manger sometimes it is good to talk to staff about what seems mindless

 

happy staff happy setting

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Thanks Peggy for yet more useful materials.

 

Can you explain to me (non-excel user) how to make the whole document appear on one page?

(You will realise the irony of that request :o )

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