Tuesday, December 15, 2009

All in a Day's Work

I am the office manager at a middle school, and have been for the past 13+ years. Typically when I tell people this, they look at me with shock, horror - and in some cases, fear (middle school - really?!) - in their eyes. Me? I absolutely love it!

Some may argue that it's a boring job - doing the same thing day in and day out. These poor souls, however, would be way off the mark. In fact, while there are some routine features of the job (and whose job doesn't have some routine-ness to it?), generally speaking, every day/week/month/year is different from one to the next. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that times, people, expectations and requirements have a way of changing over time - who knows? Additionally, while it's true that there are days that can be challenging (to say the least!), ordinarily though, on a day-to-day basis, it's a phenomenal place to work - middle school students and all.

Case in point:

During student break time this morning, our principal purchased a bag of mistletoe from one of our Boy Scouts. Just after break, we had a small gathering in the principal's office to celebrate a co-worker's birthday. Several of us remarked on said mistletoe and we began pondering how mistletoe earned it's associations, myths, and legends. Twists and turns in conversation then segued into a discussion about role models and public figures. Which, then naturally led to a snippet about the Tiger Woods debacle (oh how the mighty have fallen). Towards the end of conversation we were discussing heroes (what makes one a hero, what are common characteristics that heroes share, etc.) and how this concept - specifically, being of strong upstanding character - can be conveyed to middle school students. A pretty heady conversation if ever there was one!

Need another example?

Several of us have formed a monthly reading group; it consists of one of our counselors, our speech specialist, an instructional aide, four English teachers, our music and drama teachers and myself. This year we're exploring the Best American Short Stories of the 20th Century and essays written within the same time frame. We alternate - one month a short story, the next an essay - then we compare and contrast things such as subject, literary style, views of the society...just about anything we can think of. Today's discussion was Hemingway's essay 'Pamplona in July'. Our wide-reaching conversation covered everything from Hemingway's importance in literature as well as his oft-attempted style of writing, to what it must have felt like to be a young(-ish) American couple in Pamplona in 1923, to the crush of 20,000 on-lookers crowded into cobble-stone streets, to how terrified the bulls must be at this barbaric spectacle. This general conversation led to a more specific one on Hemingway himself - his life and how he lived it, his many experiences and exploits. You name it, we covered it.

...then the bell rang and it was back to reality.

Now you can see why it's an absolute joy to come to work every day. There's work, yes, but there's also so much more than that. There's inquistiveness, discovery, camaraderie. What's that you say? Not everyone's work place is like this? Well ... it should be!

1 comment:

Jackie said...

Nothing is boring about middle school. I work middle years and things are always new and exciting. Sometimes a bit too exciting.

God bless.