Two Years

I can’t believe that worked.

For two years, my department head told me to get cozy with classified staff. He told me. For two years, he’d drop flowers and candy by the secretaries on Administrative Professional’s Day and on Valentine’s Day while I contented myself with friendliness and name recognition.

Then I transferred schools this year and around Christmas-time thought, what’s there to lose?

So I bought gift cards from a local coffee shop, designed a personal face for each, uploaded them to Longs for photo printing, pasted them to the front of the cards with aerosolized adhesive, cut the edges, and gave them to three secretaries and the custodian in charge of my room.

Since then, my paperwork flies through the office. Any referral that needs immediate eyes, I don’t even have to ask. My room gets vacuumed, like, every day, and one morning I got to my room and found a high-back roller chair to replace one I’d prefer not to recall.

My appreciation for these people and their jobs isn’t strictly self-serving, but, seriously, two years, what a waste.

I'm Dan and this is my blog. I'm a former high school math teacher and current head of teaching at Desmos. He / him. More here.


  1. Going the extra mile for support staff is a must! We could go days without a principal in sight, but things start to fall apart when one of our administrative assistants is gone. I mean we wait to file stuff until she returns. But I wonder if it is more then that. Doing more in the building is beneficial. I do lots of little projects with other staff and administration and I get favors and considerations in return. I was struck by this recently when I ask for money, not a lot mind you, from my principal, this was the second time this year and for the second time, the words was yes. Now, I don’t know how often people are told no when it comes to money, but we are strapped for cash, accounts are frozen, printing disabled. She could have easily said, “Looks like you’ll have to cover this one yourself.”

  2. Dan,
    You are definitley headed for administration. Either that or Oprahs book club. Many teachers and administrators don’t realize that it is the classified staff that holds the school together.
    Like Chris said, schools can go days without a principal, at least if there are no meetings :) , however have an office manager out and it goes to hell in a hand basket quickly.
    Good on ya Dan.

  3. i’d dare to say oprah’s book club is a little more right-on target. but, i’m glad your cards worked. they looked festive and definitely showed your CHRISTMAS CHEER. nice work.