Apparently I'm Too Nice!

I was told off at work this week.

It wasn't a real telling off, but one of the visitors to the school told me I was too happy, upbeat and positive to be a receptionist in a school and that they'd never met a receptionist quite like me. Another visitor to the school overheard and agreed and then a discussion over my demeanour between the two took place. I took this not real telling off as a compliment because I like to be happy and so purposely smile and act upbeat so that every interaction I have with Staff, Pupils and Visitors is positive.

PippaD off to work

It's working, I know several of the parents (so really only the ones who come in regularly, or who were parents at my local primary school too) and I know a lot of the students... I mean a lot. I've got a little "gang" who come to tell me what they've been up to and how many house points they've achieved.

I've mostly managed to memorise the entire staff's names and faces (this is a large senior school, that's an achievement!) and each morning will have a short conversation with them about what they have been up to, or what they are going to be up to and then I follow it up a few days later asking how a certain event went for example.

There was just one member of staff that I had been feeling a little worried about.

At the school, they fairly often have young people who are learning to be English Language teachers in Germany come and join the language department. This way, they get to experience teaching first hand, in the language, they are going to be teaching and the students here, get an authentic German speaker in their lessons.

Every morning as the current staff member came in and out of the main office, I would smile and attempt to make her feel welcome.

It wasn't working.

So I asked Top Ender for some help. Teach me some German. Teach me how to say "Hello" and "Goodbye". Teach me how to ask "Did you have a good weekend?" and "Have a good evening!". Teach me something so that when this teacher comes in, I can make her feel as welcome as all the other people that come into my reception.

Top Ender spent the weekend making me recite after her. "War das Wochenende gut?" and "Tschüss!" and "Hallo". Top Ender assured me this would translate close enough to "Was your weekend good?" and "Bye" and "Hello".

The Monday morning, as the young teacher came in I used the phrases that Top Ender had taught me, as well as the old classic "Guten Morgen". The smile I received made up for the stress of trying to remember how to pronounce the words and the learning of how to say them too. The young teacher answered me back in German, I understood enough of what she said to get the gist and boy was I excited that I understood!

Every day since, that young teacher and I have had a conversation in broken German (mine) and English (her's is flawless) and every day, that young teacher has got a bigger smile than the day before.

I don't think I'm too happy to be a receptionist, but I'm sure glad I'm trying as hard as I can to make everyone feel welcome.