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:o Hi everyone


We have recently opened our new early years unit and I am loving it, apart from the fact that I seem to do everything myself, due to my support staff not being very supportive.

Everything is a chore for them and they never use their initative or imagination, and it is really beginning to get me down.

The other week I gave one of them rebus symbols to laminate and cut out. (3 sheets of A4 x3). It took her all day, and they looked like an F2 child had cut them out. (No joke, parts of the pictures were missing).

I do displays myself because: i) they take too long gettting around to doing them and ii) they just have no pride in their work.

I probably sound like an NQT, but I'm in my fourth year of teaching and have always had good TA's / BSW's.

I know that I need to be more assertive with them, but I was just wondering if there was anybody out there who has had similar problems and how you dealt with it.


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Oh poor you, how frustrating xD

I'm not sure I can give much advice! They sound pretty demotivated to me -do they have any involvement in day to day planning? Do they have their own particular responsibilities - would having their own display boards to maintain help to stimulate some healthy competition/ pride?


I'm sure this is a job for Peggy and her wise words :o


Peggy can you rise to the challenge???

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This can be a very difficult situation. Who appointed these staff?

Are the staff expected to do the didplays in working time?


Display does not come easily to everyone. We were taught display at Teacher Training College and this is something I teach all our Nursery Nurse Students, perhaps your staff need a few lessons but be careful not to be patronizing. I think ASPK's idea of giving everyone a board to display work on is a good idea but tell them they can ask for help.


I don't think you will get anywhere by throwing your weight around. Perhaps your staff feel they cannot match up to you. Do they have other skills you can build on?

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Hi it's me again! :o


I probably didn't make myself clear. My support staff (BSW's) are not nursery nurse trained, and to my knowledge neither of them have any child care qualifications. They are both employed as bilingual suppport workers / Teaching assistants.

I've approached them before and told them if there is anything that they are not too sure about to ask me ie profiles, ELG's, planning etc, but they always say that they know about it.

We plan together every Tuesday Lunch-time and i ask them for their imput and ideas of any activities which they might like to do with the children, but they very rarely have any.

As for displays, they have been shown before by several members of staff.

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Thanks ASPK for your vote of confidence, put me under pressure why don't you? :D



I agree that they and you need to be clear as to what their job description is.

I do know how frustrating it is when you feel that you are doing all the thinking, planning, working and even when you try to delegate it never seems to go right, so it feels that if you want a job done well do it yourself. Been there done it worn the T-shirt. However...


Due to getting totally burnt out and realising that I can't do everything myself ( and it happens in that order) I had to learn to delegate in a supportive way.


What are their strengths? I assume that they give bilingual support because of their language knowledge and skills. Is their main role to support individual children in being included ( who would otherwise be excluded because of language barriers) or is their main role based on TA type work - supporting the teacher in achieving the aims of the sessions? or maybe it is a bit of both. What experience have they had? I'm confused by their titles as to what their role is and I've had 20 yrs experience ( in preschool, I might add, not school).


You say you have previously had good TA / BSW's, think back to what it was specifically that they did to support you and this would be your basis to inform them what exactly you need from them.

Initiative, motivation, and using imagination only comes with confidence. You need to build from their strengths. Do they understand the value of displays or do they feel their time would be better spent working say with individual children. Have they been asked to use bi-lingual signs on the displays, valuing their knowledge?

Try asking them to write their own job description - at least then you will see where they are coming from. What their perception of their role is.

Are you clear what you want from them? write it down and compare with their job description then work on developing specific agreed areas together.


A sense of achievement will motivate, unfortunately, in your already busy day, you need to find time and ways to enable them to feel successful.


Acknowledge that they have had little or no training, however, they will have transferable skills from past life experience, find out what these are and use them.

As the owner of my preschool I have found that 50% of my time is spent on in-service training, to do this I have had to delegate a lot of my everyday jobs / tasks to my staff. The skill of delegation is I believe a difficult one to master but does offer the greatest reward - more time.


Delegation is not just telling someone to do something, initialy you have to shadow that person and guide them, and let go of some of your own ideas and let them try theirs- learning if necessary from their mistakes.


Some of my staff wouldn't participate at staff meeting ( shyness, lack of confidence, strong speakers overshadowing them etc) so what we do now is give them a blank sheet of paper, with the planned learning intentions and in their own time, before the meeting, they are expected to write some activity ideas, and they have to state how these ideas have been influenced by specific childrens interests and needs. They have come up with some great ideas and shown their knowledge of the children.


Oh, it's not easy is it. But if you all have the same goal, to work together as a team, it can be great. Good luck.


Failing that there is always disciplinary action- but we don't want to go down that route, do we? :o



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Thanks for your advice Peggy I will try the blank piece of paper prior to planning.


Believe it or not, one of them has already had a written warning, as she has caused trouble in every class she has been in.


Cheers once again



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Hi Mimi,



I have obtained a copy of their job description and I am going to ask them what they think thier role is next planning meeting.



Thanks for your advice



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