Pros & Cons of being a School Employee?

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by CoachT, Aug 16, 2007.

  1. CoachT

    CoachT Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2007
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 16, 2007

    I'm not a teacher, but I am a volunteer Coach at a public school. This week I applied for an open Office Admin job at the school, and now I'm panicking about all the pros and cons of working for a public school (I'm currently working in the private industry as an Admin).

    Can you give me some advice about working for a school? The good and the bad regarding benefits, time off, salary?? I know NOTHING about what to ask/look for when signing a contract. HELP!

    Thanks a million :love:
     
  2.  
  3. CoachT

    CoachT Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2007
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 16, 2007

    Or maybe someone can steer me to another website for classified employees? I'm having a very hard time getting information, and I have an interview tomorrow!! Eek!
     
  4. eduk8r

    eduk8r Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2007
    Messages:
    2,168
    Likes Received:
    1

    Aug 16, 2007

    What do you mean by “office admin” job? You mentioned classified employees, so did you mean an administrative assistant position or something like that? Advice about working for a school, this forum is probably the best place to get a feel for the environment, which is going to be way different from any other “office” job. You could search on the topics you’re curious about here. Benefits and salaries are usually not negotiable, they are already written out. If you want to know how much you would make at the position you’re interviewing for, go to that district’s website and pull up the classified salary schedule. Benefits you find out about when you sign the contract. You can go to edjoin.org and find out what the job requirements/descriptions are at other districts probably including the one you are applying with. Classified employees in our district work 220 days a year. That’s all the information I have, hope some of it was helpful. If you can be more specific, others might be able to answer your questions better. Good luck on your interview tomorrow.
     
  5. CoachT

    CoachT Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2007
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 16, 2007

    Thank you, eduk8r... this website is amazing, and I only wish there was one geared directly for classified employees. But you are right, there is a wealth of information I can learn from. I've been reading all night!

    The position is for an Adminitrative Assistant/Secretary at an elementary school. Unfortunately, the job description is not listed on the edjoin site, nor the district site (small district, not many updates). My children attend this school, and I also Coach there...but outside of that, I have no background in working for a school system.

    I just don't want to make a mistake by leaving private industry for public schooling. I was hoping to get someone's personal experiences???? Pro's/Con's??? I would love to work at this school and be close to my kids.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  6. eduk8r

    eduk8r Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2007
    Messages:
    2,168
    Likes Received:
    1

    Aug 17, 2007

    Well, I guess you'd have to ask yourself what your motives are for applying for a position in schools? As for salary and benefits, I couldn't even begin to guess whether it was comparable to private sector. If you like autonomy and being treated like a professional, this might be difficult for you. There is a lot more control in schools. It's not the same at all as other fields, even for those in administrative positions. And people tend to move around a lot in some districts a secretary at a school this year might be working in human resources next year, so you could always change if you don't like where you are.

    About edjoin, even if your district is not there, you could look around for the same classification and see if they have positions. There is some place on the internet, I don't remember where it is, that gives job descriptions when you type in the title of the position--you could try that. Well I guess you could just google the position. Otherwise...I guess you'll just have to "wing it." Sorry for not being more helpful, but good luck again.
     
  7. WannaTeach

    WannaTeach Companion

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2004
    Messages:
    167
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 17, 2007

    Public School Secretary

    Hi! As a former school secretary/bookkeeper, I can tell you that you will be very busy. You will have teachers, students, maintenance people, custodians, principals, technicians and last but not least, parents needing your attention all day. You will need to be patient, level headed, flexible, and a "gate keeper".
    If you are the front desk person or the first one anyone sees when they enter the building, be prepared to deal with many different people with a multitude of questions and needs. THis means angry parents. :eek:
    You might have to deal with these in person while the phone is ringing while trying to type, check in students, give meds to someone, and count money at the same time and do attendance. Most schools have 2 to 3 people in the office as well as an office assistant.
    Don't forget teachers needing stuff. You will need to be very organized. Organization is the key. You will welcome teacher workdays. AAhhhh! How nice and quiet it is. You will spend these days catching up and trying to get things done before they all come back. It is a wonderful job. You will enjoy the kids. Summer's are great but are very busy ordering supplies, closing out accounting books, organizing the files, moving things to prepare for the next year, moving student records, setting up schedules for students, welcoming new teachers. :help: There is so much that goes on in that office that most people have no idea happens. The secretary is the one everyone comes to for help. I must say, those teachers who were polite and not demanding, received anything they wanted from me. Those who didn't. Oh, well. I'll get to it soon. This is not meant to scare you. ;) But, in reality, depending on the school, the school office is a beehive of activity. It is not like being in a corp. where everyone is quiet and working and there are few interruptions.
    You will be interrupted constantly during a school day. People are in and out all day. You will have to make yourself get up to eat lunch. Goodness, going to the bathroom? Make a run for it. :lol: Good luck!
     
  8. CoachT

    CoachT Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2007
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 17, 2007

    Wow...how big of a school did you work for??? Sounds crazy...but challenging. Whew, I'm exhausted just reading it!

    Thanks for the info!
     
  9. srh

    srh Devotee

    Joined:
    May 4, 2005
    Messages:
    1,199
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 17, 2007

    WannaTeach--that was an AWESOME description. Very true. I came from an executive secy/corporate admin/government supervisor-type background, so I know what a busy office is like. Well, I stayed after hours tonight and just let our school office manager vent. She is so sweet, but is having a hard time with all the "busyness" around her right now, and the "office politics" that just happens. SHE would add, "Choose your confidantes carefully!" She would also say that she loves her job because of the students and hard-working teachers. It can be exhausting, yet inspirational, working in a school!
     
  10. WannaTeach

    WannaTeach Companion

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2004
    Messages:
    167
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 18, 2007

    Hi! :) I would agree with your school office manager. I worked for 5 years at a middle school. I am in western NC. We had 600 students. Three secretaries and 3 principals. I have also worked at a smaller (216) elementary school where I did everything the 3 secretaries did. :angel: I loved it. Oh, I forgot to add earlier, the teachers bringing kids to the office with head lice! :woot: Call the school nurse in if it is her day to be there. From the school I went on to our superintendent's office (Central Office) in the finance office. I have never been so bored in all my life. After being so busy and surrounded with people and noise, I thought I was going nuts. I would want to jump from my desk and start singing or something just to wake people up. I liked the people there but it was so quiet. While there I returned to school for my K-6certification. I teach K -2. I love being in a school and love teaching. Good luck with your career. Education is wonderful. I almost forgot. Sorry this is so long. Your salary should be listed with your state's department of public instruction website. Your human resource website may have it listed on their site. Just look under classified. Find your job description. This should give you some idea. You will receive paid sick, vacation days. Medical, life, dental, retirement, 401, 403b's. You will work 10 - 12 months a year. Depends on your school system. You will receive paid holidays and vacation days. If you ever need to be out sick or sick child or take a vacation, have a backup (sometimes a TA or one of the other office people), use your earned days. You may have to attend workshops just like the teachers for new programs you will use for attendance, accounting, transportation, etc. I always wondered how the secretaries were able to accomplish all of this when I was in high school. They left 2 weeks after the kids did and returned two weeks before school started. Guess we have created the busyness we have today. Again, good luck.
     
  11. CoachT

    CoachT Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2007
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 18, 2007

    Thank you for the great and descriptive advice. I went to my interview yesterday afternoon, and I got a call from the Principal this morning (yes, on a Saturday) offering me the job!!! It is full time for 11 months (August thru end of June) with a "capped" amount for health benefits. I won't know my vacation or salary amount until I visit the District office on Monday, so I won't officially accept the job until I know the specifics.

    Thanks again for all the great info! I used to work in Public Health for a very busy Medical Records office, which sounds exactly how you described a school office. I'm feeling more confident that this will be a great fit!
     
  12. WannaTeach

    WannaTeach Companion

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2004
    Messages:
    167
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 18, 2007

    Congratulations!!! It sounds great. I wish you the best of luck. Enjoy!
     
  13. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

    Joined:
    May 18, 2007
    Messages:
    6,291
    Likes Received:
    279

    Aug 21, 2007


    I will ditto WannaTeach

    I started off as a secretary! One thing you must realize is that you are not in corporate America anymore! That means you have a much smaller personnel dept., and you must be dillgent about keeping up with your timesheets (and maybe others!), your sick leave, and your benefits. The district office can be a formidable place...usually they kinda frown on the staff vs. faculty. Have all your questions together before calling or coming in. Try to avoid coming in to payroll, they get annoyed! Look at your insurance, 401K and retirement benefits carefully. Most schools do not offer the same packages for staff and faculty. You may want to use your husband's insurance, or supplement your retirement plans.

    I learned that you don't have any privacy anymore once you become a school secretary! Resist the urge to have lunch in an abandoned class or even your car. People see you wherever you go. I have a lot of food allergies. I can't stand the smell of some foods. So I eat alone when I can. This makes me look anti-social!

    sigh...in the school, you must be a people person.

    You will no longer have a 9-5 job. As soon as you hit the door, you are on! Parents and children will greet you in your coat, holding coffee, and just sticking the key inside. Many parents are notorious for leaving kids at the door during bad weather. You are the babysitter! same rules apply at 5pm. Parents and principals alike will ask you for something at 4:59p.m. You can just say, "I'm off now." It is considered rude. If you have something to do, I suggest you start clearing your desk and pack at 4:30 p.m. Have a standard line prepared..."I'm sorry, but I must get to the doctor's office, please see Ms. Jones...she will help you." And leave! Do not come back.

    You will need plenty of tissue, lotion, and you may double as the school nurse! You must have the patience of a saint, and a customer service rep. You may want to take a second language, depending on your area. You are the front line on the phone and in the office.

    Confidenitallity is important. Resist the urge to let pals beg you for phone numbers and addresses to get their band fund raiser items sold! You can't leave this info out. You can't blink or or even cough when you read that YOUR neighbor has some really trecherous background! You must prentend you did not see this.

    Bring comfortable shoes, and lots of chloraseptic throat spray. And keep water in a bottle. Under your desk. Do not put any food on top of your desk. Do not eat at your desk. Anyone and everyone will be tempted to sample what you leave. :sorry: I have seen this with my own eyes!

    You may be school nurse and disicplinarian! Many times, when kids get sent to the office, you have to play detective and counselor. You may have to calm them down, and call parents. Principals may expect you to solve the issue, stop fights and then take them in with your report!

    It is a challenging, but rewarding job. You work 9 months. Only 180 days. You may be off during in-service days. You will be off with your kids. And your commute will certainly be much easier.

    Good luck!!!
     
  14. CoachT

    CoachT Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2007
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 29, 2007

    Thanks for all the great feedback! Does anyone know of websites/books or other resources for me to utilize in organizing a school office? Do you have any tips/tricks/hints to being more efficient? Our office has been kept in the dark ages, and we need to reorganize fast!!! I don't know where to start.....

    Thanks in advance!
    CoachT
     
  15. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

    Joined:
    May 18, 2007
    Messages:
    6,291
    Likes Received:
    279

    Aug 31, 2007

    Hmmm, no websites I can think of..

    but off the top of my head...you want to start with these categories:

    personnel files - staff
    personnel files - faculty

    office supplies - purchase orders
    maintenance contracts and agreements - copier/fax/laminator
    pta letters - to/from principal

    pest control - contracts/payments
    student records - at least 5 years back
    prior to that may be archived in district office

    report cards - may be kept separate from student records

    blank forms - payroll/insurance

    blank forms - registration packets

    parent handbooks = 1 copy as sample

    lunchroom = food orders

    inspections - lunchroom
    general building maintenance - contracts
    playground - equipment/maintenance

    state/local licenses for lunchroom/food service

    petty cash = reimbursements for purchase made without purchase orders

    U.S. Mail/UPS - postage meter/postage purchases = deliveries/pick ups

    supt memos
    district memos

    staff meetings
    community partners - library/police/fire dept/
    volunteers - complete file on volunteers and TB records

    Fire/Tornado drills

    textbook orders - storage/returns
    distribution and return of textbooks

    school nurse memos = children with allergies
    back up plan in nurse's absence

    Telephone tree for bad weather/school closings

    Emergency plan for school

    Principal's correspondence

    Expense reports - principal/faculty

    Vendors/caterers for school parties/staff parties

    How's that?? I know I am a bit long-winded...but hey, you did ask!
     
  16. CoachT

    CoachT Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2007
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 31, 2007

    You are AMAZING...really, you are now my hero.

    THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  17. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

    Joined:
    May 18, 2007
    Messages:
    6,291
    Likes Received:
    279

    Aug 31, 2007

    why you are quite welcomed!

    now...do like the teachers...

    start off mean...and don't smile until January..

    otherwise...the staff will run all over you!!!

    keep that supply cabinet under lock and key!!!
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. TeacherNY,
  2. futuremathsprof,
  3. Hkn33,
  4. Whoknows85,
  5. MissCeliaB
Total: 280 (members: 7, guests: 250, robots: 23)
test