Interruptions are a constant

How frustrating it would be to start a task and never complete it without an interruption.

This is what faces front office staff every day, where the brain is constantly jumping from one thing to another.

Having a limited allocation of staff in the office often leaves only one person to manage multiple phone lines, emails, last minute requests, deliveries, sick bay, medications, dealing with parent requests, angry and rude parents or simply having visitors at the counter, often who are ‘in for a chat’ – the list goes on. Whether it is a big school or a small school, interruptions are a constant. There are simply not enough hours in a day!

Some of the frustrations come from the introduction of new technology that is not fully functional or implemented with limited communication and/or training. Often staff are expected to undergo training outside of normal hours, often unpaid, and at times little notice is given.

The sheer number of duties expected of office staff is astounding. The financial workload in itself is unbelievable. If other staff feel the crush of paperwork, imagine the considerations of legislation, compliance – increasingly onerous paperwork that has value to managerial bureaucrats, but has no measurable improvement to the everyday running of schools. Do they need to introduce additional workload rather than find solutions to what is already a problem? Again, the list goes on.

Our front office staff have a huge variety of personal skills, which they need to implement every day. They are confidants to parents, students and other staff. They are experts in sick bay/ first aid management, often needing to make on the spot diagnoses. They have empathy, compassion, are masters of child and parental behaviours; they can even be the finder of lost or run away students. Mostly they have a steely resolve to get the job done and done well and are the bearers of many, many talents.

Before interrupting, have a think, do I really need this now!

Let’s make School Support Staff Day in June bigger and better than last year.

Save the date for the IEU Support Staff Conference on Friday, 23 August in Sydney.

Carolyn Collins
Vice President Support Staff