Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.
– James 3:13 NIV
Teachers, no doubt, have an incredible impact on their students each day. When I think about the phrase “It takes a village to raise a child”, I often think of the support staff at school. These folks are truly the pillars of our school system. Without them, buses would not arrive, lunches would be cold or non-existent, and our buildings would not be clean. Let’s face it, without our support staff, our buildings could not function as well as they do. This week I would like to take a moment and give a shout out to those amazing people that make the schools run smoothly.
It’s The Little Things
Our support staff go above and beyond their job descriptions every day. These folks do a lot of things behind the scenes that help our building run smoothly. They see a need and they jump right in to help out, often without being asked! As a new educator, make sure you take time to get to know these folks well. The custodians, paraprofessionals, bus drivers and lunch staff are the people who can help you out in a pinch if you have a sick student, need something fixed or removed from the classroom, or they can be a listening ear to a student in your class. You never know the impact that a lunchroom worker, secretary, paraprofessional, or a custodian will have on your students.
You Reached My Student When No one Else Could
I had tried just about everything with my student. Nothing seemed to work. His anger became so frequent and intense that we regularly needed to move then entire class to another location. I was at a loss for what to do. One day, I walked by our custodian’s office saw his fish tank. This gave me an idea of how to support my student. I talked with our custodian to see if he would let my student stop in and feed the fish each day for a little break from the classroom. He thought that would be a great idea. Our custodian dropped what he was doing during that time, walk around with the student feeding the fish, and working on a couple of projects from time to time.
This act of kindness from our custodian took about ten minutes a day, but it was a breakthrough moment for our student. He became close with our custodian and throughout the rest of his time in middle school, the custodian helped him during some of his tough days. Bill didn’t get paid extra to work with our student, but he took the time and made a life changing impact for this student.
A Thank You Goes a Long Way
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen lunch workers, custodians, secretaries, recess aides, and paraprofessionals go above and beyond their job description to help others. These dedicated individuals are the backbone of our schools. Often, the work they do goes unnoticed and underappreciated. Make sure you go out of your way to tell them thank you for all that they do for your and your district!
Try to return the favor by helping them out when you get a chance. Get to know them on a personal level by asking about their families and how their day is going. Write a quick thank you note when they have helped you out. Put their birthday on your calendar and send them a card saying thank you for all they do for you and your school. A little thank you can go a long way.