School secretaries

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by TeacherWhoRuns, Aug 31, 2018.

  1. TeacherWhoRuns

    TeacherWhoRuns Companion

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    Aug 31, 2018

    I know the advice is to make friends with the school secretary/office manager/admin assistant/whatever the title in your district, but I'm on the second one in a row who I'd just as soon avoid.
    The last one was one of the moodiest, most bizarre people ever. I half suspect her personality issues were medication related because it was just so unpredictable. She'd make errors and then blame the person who caught the error. She'd grunt at you in the morning if you tried to talk to her. I've been told by others she actually requested no staff talk to her at all in the morning, which is kind of unrealistic since we're all in the classroom most of the day. Then if you walked past her without greeting her, she'd call out your name and very sarcastically say, "Good morning." She was a challenge.
    This year I changed schools and at first it seemed like the secretary was very welcoming, but I'm finding that I'm having to ask her several times for things that she claims to have already given me. I'm a specials teacher so she seems to think my basic classroom supplies come from the department, while the department tells me to go to her for dry erase markers and such. When I talk to other people, the feedback seems to be that the things she has power over are things she lords over everyone. They all warned me not to get on her bad side because she loves you or hates you.
    Schools are the most ridiculous personality driven places ever.
     
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  3. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    Last edited: Feb 3, 2019
    ms.irene likes this.
  4. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Sep 1, 2018

    I HATE our school secretary. I get that she has a busy job, but teachers have busy jobs too. I had a student in my homeroom who did not have his schedule. I am pretty sure I gave it to him, but he lost it. She sends him to my room for his schedule and I didn't have a copy for him. I was teaching so I obviously couldn't print one for him and get it for him. Anyways, I sent him down and she CALLS me. She was complaining that he was in the office and I said I gave him one and I am teaching now. She started yelling at him while I was still on the phone ... and my students were still waiting. Finally, I can hang up and she calls me again just to chat...and just said that she felt like she had to make a point with the student! When I had mislabeled lockers, she basically blamed me when it wasn't my fault.

    However, I love our custodian. She has given me so many extra supplies! I went to school early and got to know her and she helped me find bulletin board paper, borders, and gave me starter supplies. She also gave me 3 extra pads of chart paper, extra whiteboard markers, and lots more. I asked if she had kid scissors and she gave me some and she brought me two that she found a few days later. She is amazing!! I am definitely getting her something for Christmas and I will have my homeroom kiddos make cards for her. I also wanted to pick her up a coffee or something soon when I get a chance.
     
  5. ChildWhisperer

    ChildWhisperer Devotee

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    Sep 2, 2018

    I've loved all the secretaries I've worked with!
     
  6. TeacherWhoRuns

    TeacherWhoRuns Companion

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    Sep 2, 2018

    When I was in my teaching prep program, my advisor told our little group that if you're here because you want power over other humans and you think children are the way to get that, you can leave right now and save some time.

    I do find it endlessly fascinating how people protect and wield their little pieces of power in the workplace. I'm in my second career, so I saw it in a corporate environment also. Unfortunately at this point, she's creating roadblocks for me to do my job and to ensure my own safety and that of students if leaving the campus is ever necessary because I don't have a keycard for the exit. I've never been a "go over your head" person, so I'm not ready to go to the principal yet, but I'm a little over the passive/aggressive games. I want to say, "I get it. You're powerful. Now can I have a keycard and access to the copy machine and I won't bother you anymore?"
     
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  7. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    Last edited: Feb 3, 2019
  8. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    Sep 5, 2018

    Our school secretary is a lovely woman but sometimes a bit scattered. She is helpful when needed but sometimes I think things slip her mind or she has no idea what's going on :tearsofjoy:
     
  9. Lisabobisa

    Lisabobisa Companion

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    Sep 5, 2018

    An idea: if the department head tells you to go to her for supplies shoot her an email first and make sure whoever told you to go to her is copied. Let her know what you need and ask her to shoot you an email when it's available. You may need to follow-up and remind.

    And even if a secretary is miserable and gives you a hard time, realize it's probably not personal and she probably also has a ton of work to do too. Maybe drop a thank you card off at her desk after she gets you what you need.
     
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  10. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Sep 5, 2018

    I have actually had to sub in for an administrative assistant before and it was hard work. I was being approached by people from all angles, one after the other, and I barely had a breather. It was *stressful*. From that day forward (from my first year teaching), I had great respect for my wonderful office staff members and we have since become great friends!

    I honestly have no idea how they do it. I was having to run simultaneous print jobs, answer phones, do scheduling, file paperwork, speak with the administrators about ongoing issues, resolved disputes between staff members, etc., and the list went on and on. It was scary at times having to help like twenty people, each with a different problem, and then once you finish and turn around only to see the line is going out the door. I was like o_O.
     
  11. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    This. I remember one day the office staff snapped at me for askjng them to print something for me, and I later found out all of the large, industrial-sized printers were being serviced and they were being bogged down by print requests. I felt so bad and profusely apologized. And I bought them lunch! Food solves everything!
     
  12. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Sep 5, 2018

    As a sub admin assistant, you had to solve disputes between staff members???
     
  13. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Yeah, for some reason all of the admin we’re in a big meeting and so the office administrative assistants (one of which was me that period as it was my prep period) had to handle two staff members who were quarreling about a relatively minor issue. It required my input as the task is normally done by office staff and as the impromptu staff person I had to step in. However, they were disagreeing about how it should be done, and it turned into a huge mess because they both wanted it done their way. Yikes!
     

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