Saturday, February 17, 2018

School Days

I'm finding that I really like working in a school. Of course, I was thrilled when I first got the job because I had been looking to make a change for a long time, and I found that I had landed in a mostly positive environment where I'm treated well. But aside from that, I've discovered that I enjoy the kids far more than I expected to, given that they're in the dreaded middle school age group.

Working in the front office, I get to know the students far more intimately than I expected; not only am I the one in charge of entering all of the discipline referrals into the district website, but I'm the first point of contact for parents, coaches, DSS caseworkers, and anyone else who visits or calls the school. You learn quickly which kids have bad home situations, or highly involved "helicopter" parents, or medical conditions that must be closely monitored by the school nurses, and on and on. There's never a dull moment, and there's always something interesting going on.

And while kids in the throes of puberty can be real pains in the ass sometimes, they can be incredibly endearing, too. They are so funny; I laugh hard every single day over something they say or do. Just yesterday, a silly, talkative, always-in-trouble 13 year old girl said to me (of a young teacher from Jamaica who abruptly decided to resign and go back home) "I'm so sad Ms. Cooper left! I was the very first kid she ever wrote up!" She was just beaming with pride over that fact! How can you not laugh at that? As for endearing......on Wednesday a dad came to the office and signed in as a visitor. He asked if he could go sit in on his son's class, so I called the 7th grade counselor to come walk him down to the room where the boy was. When she came back, there were tears in her eyes. She told me she had knocked on the door and said, "Davez's dad is here to visit" to the teacher. The boy's head popped up and he said, "My dad? My dad's here?!" and ran to the front to hug his father in front of his whole class. Of 13 year olds. It turned out dad was a long-distance trucker who had been gone a couple of months and his homecoming was a surprise. How sweet is that? I teared up a little bit, too!

Even the troubled kids that aren't always easy to like don't bother me. I have empathy for them and try to show them nothing but kindness and respect. Most of them, even those with the worst behavior problems, respond well to calm, friendly attention from an adult. Exasperated teachers who treat them with thinly veiled contempt only make the problems worse, in my opinion. Of course, I realize that's easy for me to see and to say, since I just work in the office. Thank goodness the burned out, don't-really-like-kids type of teachers (we've all had them) are rare where I work, although there are a couple. We're lucky to have really good administrators (the principal and three assistant principals) and superior guidance counselors.

Also, have I mentioned lately that I love following a school schedule? It's a three day weekend for President's Day, and we'll be off the first week of April for spring break, which will be here in a flash. And summer is drawing ever closer--my first summer entirely free since I was a school kid myself!



22 comments:

  1. Sounds fantastic. Not everyone can do what you’re doing and love it. It’s a gift of empathy and humor combined in the right doses. Happy 3 days off.

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    1. I'm so happy about the long weekend! Heck, I'm still thrilled to have every weekend off!

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  2. This is a wonderful post! I love hearing about those kids.

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    1. I could fill up my blog with anecdotes about the kids! They make me laugh every day.

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  3. I love how you love your work! And I'm glad you can find something to love in the kids. It DOES make a huge difference when the office staff find value in the students. So often, they're treated like annoyances.

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    1. Some of the office staff really do treat the kids like annoyances. They've all been around a long time and don't want to be bothered with nonsense, which I understand. They seem to find my tolerance mildly amusing.

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  4. It's different befriending difficult kids at the reception desk compared with trying to make them engage in learning within a filled classroom. However, education is often about teamwork - all adults working together to bring out the best in the youngsters they are paid to serve. You are clearly playing your part and doing it well,

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    1. I understand how much harder it is for the teachers; most of them I have nothing but respect for. They have a tough job.

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  5. What a perfect fit you and that job are. I am so, so glad you got it. You and your school are both so very lucky.

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    1. I still can't believe how lucky I got!

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  6. It is wonderful that you like your work, the school is lucky to have you there.

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  7. You hit the jackpot. You are so very lucky.

    cheers, parsnip and mandibles

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  8. At my last teaching job there was a particular boy who'd been given a free place (it was an expensive private school). His mother was a 'lady of the night', and he boasted of having several fathers. He was a pain in the neck, and caused chaos everywhere; breaking windows, etc. Whenever he came into my classes I always made a fuss of him, and joked with him, and he suddenly changed into a really pleasant boy. Sadly the school couldn't cope with him as he was too disruptive for the other children, and he was sent on his way. I don't think the other members of staff did enough for him; just shouted.

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    1. Most kids like the one you describe desperately need positive attention from adults, and sadly too few get it.

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  9. I knew you were eventually going to find the perfect job for you - and I was right :-)
    Puberty was definitely not my favourite time in life, but I had great parents and some teachers that made sure school was not all horrible. Your school,sounds like there is a very large number of staff. We did not have assistant principals, counselors or social workers. There was the headmaster, teachers, the school secretary and the caretaker and his wife.

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    1. It's a large public school with all kinds of students who need various services. We have around 900 kids enrolled, and we're one of three middle schools in this city...public middle schools, that is. There are several private schools too.

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  10. The working calendar is definitely hard to beat for school employees! Every time I get frustrated with my job I have to remind myself about those free summers, and those weeks off in April and February! I know what you mean about working with the kids -- I try to remind myself not to get so attached to enforcing library rules that I lose sight of them as people. You know?

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    1. I do know, Steve. It's easy to become so attached to enforcing rules that you start to ignore the human needs of the students. Good for you for being one of the GOOD ones!

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  11. Replies
    1. I agree with Vaiybora. She often shows amazing insight into the blogosphere.

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  12. Working on letting go of people and situations that no longer serve my peace of mind
    and emotional well being.

    ** สมัคร D2BET**

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