Trudy Carter, Front Office, Greenbrier Elementary School
How do you support student learning from outside the classroom?
When students first enter the office, I try to give them a good start to the day by giving them a friendly smile and a warm welcome. People, including students, associate the school office with getting in trouble, so I want to show students that they are welcome in the office and that if they need assistance or need to talk to someone, that I’m there to give them support. Teaching a child how to communicate their thoughts and needs is very important, and so is teaching them who to trust in a time of need. Also when teachers send students to the office for copies, for the clinic, or for a behavior issue, we teach the students to be patient and wait their turn. I try to set an example of how to treat people, and I encourage students to be the best they can be and to demonstrate a positive attitude. When they bring things to me in the office, I thank them, and before they leave the office, I wish them a great day!
What’s the most common misconception about your job?
In my opinion, people think my job consists of answering the telephone, doing general office tasks, and greeting the students, staff, and general public. All this is true, but my job is also the center of all the actions that transpire in the building. There are parts of my job that some people won’t see, such as keeping time or keeping the books. And there are other jobs that come up. For instance, when the nurse is out helping students and teachers in the building, then I become the assistant to the nurse.
What’s the most challenging aspect of your job?
Multi-tasking! It’s very challenging to be perceptive and efficient while juggling many tasks at one time, such as answering the telephone or emails; responding to the P.A. system; greeting visitors; answering questions for staff, students, and the general public; putting up mail; doing bookkeeping and other tasks that come up. Collaborating with others on these many tasks in a timely manner is challenging.
Why did you choose to perform your job in the schools and not in another industry?
I love children and communicating with people from different cultures. Also I like what I do, and every day is a new experience and a learning moment for me. Working for the school system also gives me time to be off with my family and friends during the holidays so that I can take a break (and juggle all the needs at home, as well!).