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Saturday, August 7, 2010

Teachers: What Your School Secretary Wants You To Know

Schools could not operate without their wonderful secretaries.  Secretaries are arguably the backbone of every school... for better or (sometimes) for worse.  Yet, these very people are usually overworked, underpaid, and underappreciated.  We may not be in a position to influence the workload or the pay scale of our secretaries, but every one of us can help make their jobs easier and make them feel more appreciated.

I was an elementary secretary for 6 years before becoming a teacher.  Therefore, I’ve seen and heard both sides of the coin. Fortunately I was at a wonderful school with an exceptional staff, but I heard a lot of comments and complaints at secretarial meetings.   Believe me, your school secretary works just as hard (if not harder) than you.  

From that viewpoint, here are some things your secretary might like to say:

·     I appreciate it when you’re in the office and pitch in to help when I’m really busy.  Thank you for doing that.
·      Need to schedule a substitute for a sick or personal day?  If you have the capability there is no reason to bother me, go ahead and do it yourself.
·      Thank you for the cards and gifts on secretaries’ day.  It means a lot.
·      Turn in your attendance on time.  I understand you will forget from time to time and that’s okay.  However, I shouldn’t have to remind you every day.
·      Thank you for asking how I’m doing.
·      Please don’t ask me to work as your personal secretary.
·      Sending an occasional child for copies is okay. I understand that mistakes can happen.  However, sending more than two or three kids in a day is a problem, and doing that more than once or twice a week is also a problem
·      Please only send students to the office who genuinely need help.  An imaginary cut on a finger does not qualify.  I stay busy enough with the daily hypochondriacs (and please limit those while you’re at it).
·      I appreciate it when you check your mailbox every day.
·      Please follow guidelines closely when turning in money you’ve collected.  I can get in trouble if you don’t do things correctly.  I don’t have time to track you down for corrections.  I understand an occasional slip up, but not every time.
·      Please avoid telling me how to do my job unless you are my boss.  (Although constructive criticism is appropriate… it’s all in the delivery!)
·      I appreciate it when you remember to appreciate me!

I’m sure there are many other suggestions that could be made.  If you are a school secretary, please feel free to add your comments below. 

Finally

We are all part of a team working for the best education for our students.  Therefore, let’s support each and every part of our team, including the secretaries, custodians, lunch ladies, and monitors.  Our school will be a better place for it.
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