Tag Archives: school administrator

May 18, 2015

Apparently the word “spork” was coined in the late 19th century in the United States to refer to a spoon that has three or four tines cut into its round section so that it can be used as either a fork or a spoon. This multi-use form of cutlery is commonly used by the military, in prisons, schools and in fast-food restaurants, institutions that attempt to feed many people as efficiently as possible. At my son Theo’s school, the kids who eat the “cafeteria” food, are given plastic sporks to eat with, so in their lives, the spork is as common as a spoon or a fork. These plastic ones are, of course, meant to be disposed of after a single use, but his school’s recycling program – the Green Dragons – makes sure they are cleaned and saved for exciting recycled art projects, like the model of a dragon the principal’s daughter made last year. One of the high points of my week is to go in and help the kids recycle their lunchtime waste. Once a week, I head over to the school at noon and check in at the front office with Carmin and Karina (see April 14), the school administrators who are the interface between the parents and the teaching staff.

Carmin has worked at our school for five years now, exactly the same amount of time that our family has been part of the school’s community, and over the years, we have enjoyed many friendly chats at lunchtime when I’m passing through or whenever I’ve had to fill out a sick-day form for Theo or bring by some homework or jacket he has forgotten in the morning. Carmin makes dealing with the issue much more pleasant. She always looks bright, cheerful and glamorous, no matter what she has been going through – and she has been through a lot in the time that I’ve known her. Most memorably, her close co-worker, who was also young and vivacious became seriously ill and passed away a couple of years ago. It was a shock to the school, but Carmin, with her positive attitude and warm spirit, helped us all deal with her loss.

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This afternoon, I stopped by the office – not to help with trash or to ask Carmin to give something to Theo. This time I wanted to give something to her. She’s a hard worker and I know she often works at her desk, so I decided to give her a spork, so she will always have a utensil to eat her lunch with. Not a white plastic spork from school lunch, but a cute little bamboo spork, probably hand crafted somewhere in Asia. When I handed her this tiny little gift, she reacted with delight, saying that it’s perfect as she always forgets her utensils. This may be the case, but such a warm, enthusiastic response is so typical of this lovely woman who we’ve been so lucky to have helping us all at the front line of our son’s school.

April 16, 2015

This morning my son Theo and I woke up with sore throats. Not only were we not quite recovered from the many-weeks long whooping cough business, but now we seemed to have caught some sort of cold. Arggh. My nose was also stuffy so I felt super sluggish as I climbed out of bed and began my morning routine of cleaning, getting dressed, making breakfast, feeding the animals, making lunch, getting Theo off to school. Theo rolled around in his bed for a few minutes complaining about his throat and asking for water. Once he’d had a drink, however, he seemed a lot better so we decided he could handle going to school. I told him he could call if he was feeling worse, and I’d bring him home.

A couple of hours later, that call did come from Karina, one of the wonderful administrators in the school’s front office, explaining that Theo had a sore throat and a tummy ache. I trudged back to school to pick him up, carrying with me a tin of Japanese green tea, of which I seem to have quite a collection, which I planned to give to Karina as a thank you for always being so sweet and friendly to Theo, David and me over the past few years. Her name Karina means “pure” and “loved” and her warm, loving approach to the kids and families makes her very loved indeed. David refers to her as “super nice” and when asked to describe her, Theo calls her “nice and really friendly.” I always enjoy our chats when I stop by the office, though I feel guilty for taking up her time when she has so much work to do and so many other people to deal with.

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When I arrived at the office, Karina had me fill out the usual school release forms and shared some caring suggestions as to what might make Theo feel better. One of them included drinking tea. At that moment, I held up the can of green tea and told her I’d like to give her it if she liked it. Fortunately she did, as that made today’s Giveaway delightfully easy… And it’s just as well. Earlier in the day, I had made an attempt at what could have been my biggest Giveaway ever – in physical size, that is. Instead, it ended in disaster as the item was smashed to smithereens. Tune in tomorrow to find out what happened…