North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

Opinion

March 7, 2013

Danielle Cater: Teaching skills are handy in an office

COMMENTARY — I recently read an article about the top five careers to choose if you are a patient person. At the top of the list was the profession of being a teacher. Now I have never, in all my 32 years, claimed to be a patient person. I’m a little high-strung most of the time, and patience is a virtue that I don’t even claim to possess.

So it may surprise you to know that I have a teaching degree. That’s right, the general manager of our local newspaper actually has a teaching degree instead of a degree in business or management. But may I say, there is probably not a better degree to possess when dealing with an office setting.

Think about it — by being a teacher I learned the importance of knowing how to deal with each child individually. There are children who respond immediately to just a glare in their direction, but then there are other children who won’t turn a head until a threat of time out or some other punishment has been thrown on the table.

That’s how it is in an office environment also. There are employees who will correct any slight mishaps with just a short email or chat by the water cooler. But there are other employees who won’t change a thing about the way they conduct their business without the threat of being written up or worse.

Thankfully, I work with an incredible staff of employees who are all in the same mindset and want to help out around the office. I have never even had to threaten with a write-up or dismissal, so I have it easy for the most part.

Going back to the teaching degree: Other than dealing with people, teaching will also give you a good idea about how important it is to manage your time and be organized. When you have 15 3-year-olds running around a classroom and you have to teach them how to recognize the alphabet, then you had better be ready to manage that classroom like a boss. You have to get your “momma voice” on and gain order in the classroom and then the fun starts. After you have their attention, keeping it is the next hardest thing to do. So we have to keep it interesting.

If you stand in front of a room full of kids and start reading out of a book, they will quickly turn to their neighbor and start a fight or start a laugh fest before you get through the first page. The key to keeping their little minds focused on your subject is to interact with them and be animated. Laugh out loud, do hand motions and sing every chance you get (even if you don’t possess that talent, the children would probably prefer it). The kids will have a better time in class, and it can be a great way to reduce stress in your own life.

Now I’m not suggesting that you call a staff meeting Monday morning and break into karaoke and a dance, but I am saying that it never hurts to know your audience. If your co-workers are big eaters, then bring breakfast to the next meeting and see if they don’t perk up when you mention a meeting with breakfast next week. If they love music, then have a drawing for an iTunes gift card at the end of the meeting. Just a little incentive can make a huge difference in the mindset of your whole staff.

I’m the world’s worst at getting caught up in my day-to-day labors and forgetting to focus on the needs and wants of the employees that I am responsible for. But I’m going to try to do better for my own office, and if you have people who work for you, then take a look at your management and see if you need to take a few lessons from a kindergarten teacher’s management skills. I’m going to go ahead and start working on the patience that is needed to be a good teacher and a good manager. There is always room for improvement.

Examine what areas you need to improve in your office and get to work. Your co-workers will thank you and you’ll enjoy your long work days much more.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Danielle Cater: Be strong in moments of weakness

    A sad scene took place on Sunday at a church in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The founding pastor of Calvary Chapel stepped down from his position of head pastor due to “moral failing which disqualifies him from continuing his leadership role at the church.” This church is home to over 20,000 members who worship together in 10 locations across Florida.

    April 15, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: Old dogs can learn new tricks

    You’re never too old to learn something new. I’m of the opinion that you can, indeed, teach an old dog new tricks.
    So as an old dog, I’ve been trying to pick up a new trick.

    April 7, 2014

  • Commentary: Bad vacation attitudes won't last forever

    In these photos, everyone else in the family is smiling as if this were their favorite vacation of all times, but I am huffing with my arms crossed and a literal frown on my face.

    March 26, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: I’ll never live down running out of gas

    Have you ever had one of those days where you are functioning on four hours of sleep, and yet you still have to get up at 5:45 a.m. to get the family to church by 7 a.m. on the other side of town? After church you run home to get ready for your 6-year-old’s birthday party and then head straight back to church to help with the services until after 9 p.m.? That just might be a good description of our Sunday afternoon. Whoever said “easy like Sunday morning” obviously didn’t have kids and probably didn’t go to church.

    March 20, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: Most people aren’t politically correct

    I probably work in the wrong profession to hate political correctness, but I do. I can’t stand it when I feel as if I need to walk on eggshells all the time to keep from hurting people’s feelings. I don’t try to be excessively offensive, but people are so easily offended these days, it’s almost impossible not to tick someone off by everything that you say or do.

    March 14, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: Lessons, fun times make retreats enjoyable

    I did something recently that is apparently out of the ordinary for most people. I went to a marriage conference while I was not in the midst of marital problems.

    March 6, 2014

  • Letter to the editor: Thanks to Gardendale citizens for hospitality

    We, along with many other travelers, spent the next two days and nights in your splendid center. We are of the opinion that we couldn’t have been stranded in a better place.

    February 28, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: Be sure to give your kids what they need

    Once the snow melted this week, life went back to normal and we all found ourselves busy with our regular day-to-day activities, and trying to catch up on everything we had put on the back burner during the snow days.
    Our household had a busy weekend, and among the events of the weekend, we celebrated our second birthday in three weeks. That’s right, our perfectly-blended family has given us two daughters who celebrate birthdays within three weeks of each other.

    February 18, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: Find excitement in the boring days

    Many people got to take a vacation day this past Monday for MLK Day. What this day stands for is a great cause and an issue that should be addressed, but for many people, it was just another holiday.
    Our office is like most other offices, so we were open to the public Monday. But since schools and daycares were closed, I got the privilege of staying home with the four best daughters in the world. We started off the day with the attitude of fun.

    January 22, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: One year down, rest of my life to go

    Dec. 29, 2013 has come and gone, and for many people it held no lasting significance. But for me, it marked the first anniversary of marriage to my amazing husband.

    January 9, 2014