Thursday, January 7, 2010

Secretary tension

I've learned to interact with front office staff with a "plate of warm cookies" attitude. Makes life happier for all involved.

Is it just me, or are school front office staffs getting crankier and crankier?

I taught art yesterday at a pretty nice school in my town. Some of my high school classmates went to this school.

After the art class, I waited the customary ten minutes for parents to arrive. Out of the ten students I had, two of them were picked up on time. So I herded them to the office to have them call home. Again, standard procedure.

The front office people saw us coming and panicked, I guess. They rather defensively said:

"What's going on? Why are you all in here?"


"You know you are still responsible for them."

I understand their panic. The front office staff have a lot of daily pressures that build up too. They are not trained to deal with students, and yet they must handle behavior problems sent to the office, bloody noses sent to the office, and me, the after school teacher going to the office.

Still, in general, I find the front office rather unhelpful on my first visit to the school. Once they remember my face, and know that I'm not there to increase their work load, they chill out. Most are even very friendly. But it takes a bit of time to get to that point, and each new school is a new battle of winning over the secretaries.

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