Good Assistants Are Hard to Find


I’ve already told my principal that, should I still be around my school when my assistant leaves, I will be following him out the door. I simply cannot imagine having another assistant at the same school because I feel I’d make his or her life (probably her) miserable. I’m just being honest. I can hear myself now biting back “Chris didn’t do it that way,” or some other such.

Honestly, Chris is a wonder. He has intelligence and creativity, but more than all that, he’s got DRIVE; he comes in everyday and asks me “How can we make the library better today, Boss-man?” or “What do I need to do today?” I very, very seldom think of something that needs doing before he does. Bulletin boards? I gave up trying to think of ideas after I saw the first one he ever did. He is so artistic with the boards that our principal has entrusted (ordered?) him to take care of the three most visible bulletin boards in the school.

He’s also dedicated. Here’s an example. We merged schools this year. My wife had surgery and I couldn’t be at school any during the month of June and into July. I had an entire collection sitting in my floor that had to be merged and weeded and put on the shelves. I finally was able to start going to school five weeks before school started. The first day I got there, Chris showed up an hour later with breakfast. For the next three weeks we worked side by side in 120 degree heat in a non-airconditioned library to get the job done. Now, does anyone out there know what an assistant of any kind makes in public education? Chris was there on his own dime just to help out because it needed to be done.

Folks who know me know that I battle depression and anxiety disorder. Last Halloween, I had a nervous episode that put me out of school for six weeks. The library never closed and never missed a beat. He took care of everything and called me once or twice a week to check on me and he wouldn’t let me talk about school. Now he keeps a close eye on me. If I start freaking out, he’ll pat me on the back and say, “I’m going to get you a Diet Pepsi, so you just sit down a bit and let me take care of things.” And he will. In the three years we’ve worked together and he’s become a good friend.

Now, don’t think he always walks on water 🙂 We won’t go in to his “cataloging” skills and I do everything I can to keep him away from the laminator. Can you say “backlash?” But all in all, I’d put him up against anyone. I figure I have him at most this year and next year . . . one more after that at the outside. He’s gone back to school after “partying” himself out of college the first go round. Now he’s serious and his grades show it. He has to do part time because he’s paying for it out of his pocket this time around. Still, I have no doubt that in short order, he’ll be walking across the stage to pick up his BA in Elementary Education and walking out of our library for the last time.

And in all likelihood, I’ll be right behind him.

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