Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone.
This is the week of saying thank you, to all those people who I work with now and who I have worked with and all those who work in schools……I want you to know how much I appreciate all that you do or have done for me and for our schools.
Yesterday I wrote about how indispensable teaching assistants were in the classroom and today I’m going to discuss the school secretary. Though, just like teaching assistants, school secretary roles have gone through major changes. In your school they may be known as the School Business Manager/Bursar, the Front of House, etc, etc. Whatever they are called in your school, this is the person, who is the ‘face’ of the school.
Who is it that all the visitors come to when they have a concern or a grievance? Who is the person that greets all the visitors when they come into the school? Whose voice is on the other end of the line, when people call through to the school? Yes, it is your School Business Manager.
They smile amidst complaint after complaint. They continue to smile when they have lost count of the budget, roll or meal numbers more than ten times over because of the phone ringing or another visitor coming to the window. They never lose their patience; they never change their cheerful tone; they are the rock of the school, the fortress that keeps everything operating efficiently.
In the school office you often have the First Aid team, the counselling room, the editing room, the complaints department, among many others! How many times a day do colleagues go and discuss all of their tales of the day with the office staff? In my experience the office is where people go to maintain sanity and to get words of wisdom and advice. Many times, I have walked out of the front office after having talked through key issues, feeling ten feet taller and ready to conquer the world!
All of the School Business Managers that I have worked with have become my confidantes. Now, they have become my very close friends. They truly are the ‘face’ of the school, dealing with everyone’s frustrations, woes, concerns, tribulations and successes – always calm, compassionate, patient, helpful and wise. They are the ones who really know everything about the school. They know where to find every document, every resource and seem to know all the right people. The proof of this is when they are ill or out on a course and everything seems to go to a standstill – they are the glue that holds everything together!
If you are a new teacher, one piece of advice I can give you is to make sure you take time to get to know all the staff in the office. You will always rely on them, therefore you need to go out of your way to value them and appreciate the enormous amount of effort they put into their roles. Too often they are on the other end of complaints rather than praise and encouragement, yet still they ‘give service with a smile!’
How can you show your School Business Manager/Bursar, Office Staff, that you appreciate their persistent cheerfulness and support? How does your school value the crucial role that they play?