Looking Back at My Jobs!


I stumbled upon this sweet little book when I was cleaning out a book shelf the other day. It brought back happy memories of when I was a school secretary at the Marsh Grammar School in Methuen, Massachusetts USA for 12 years. It became a second home to me. The varied jobs I did while I was in this position were similar to being a mother of many children. Somewhat like The Old Woman in the Shoe who had so many children she didn’t know what to do!

I began working in Methuen Public Schools in 1984 as a Teacher’s Aide or Program Assistant in Special Education classes and then in Chapter One or Title One Reading program for kids who needed assistance. I co-taught with two lovely teachers during these three years and enjoyed working with students one-on-one. To see the joy in the children’s faces when they began to read more fluently was a tremendous feeling.

The Marsh School was a K-Grade 4 back then. It was rebuilt around the old foundation and expanded to PS-Grade 8. We grew from a 500+ student population to over 1400. My husband, John, became the principal after I had been employed there for nine years. At the time we were not married or we would not have been able to work in the same building. Once we did marry I had to move to another school.

I like to remember Marsh School as a small school with the 500 students and 20-30 teachers. When I started working there back in 1987 I was thrilled to be in a place where I was essentially my own boss. I helped the principal run the operations of the building, answered phones and greeted visitors, ordered supplies, opened boxes, delivered the supplies to the classrooms in a little red wagon, opened mail and delivered that also to the teachers’ boxes, put together the school opening day catalog/book for all students, typed all correspondence, took dictation and anything else that was needed for the principal.  I have to say ‘thank you’ to a custodian who helped lift the heavier boxes since my back was sore from lifting so many.

When I made copies back then it was not as easy as it is now. The machine we had did not collate so I had to make 500+ pages of each page of the 15-20 page book and collate them by hand. Phew! I worked on these books all summer long in between opening 50+ boxes of supplies for my office and the students. The copy machine broke down intermittently just to get a rest from my relentless copying. Sigh! Later on we did get a better copier so I could collate. Thank God!

Other responsibilities that I had were as a school nurse, babysitter of troubled students who disrupted the classes, and listening to teachers who needed an ear after a hectic day with 30 students. Ahh, I remember the good ole days! We were like a family.

But the funny part of it all I loved every minute of it. I loved when the students would pass by my window on their way in or out of school. They would wave and smile and make my day brighter by the minute. I enjoyed meeting new people coming and going to our school and tried to make new students comfortable by easing their nerves with a few kind words. It was my favorite position of all positions I have had in the past.

Many days the kindergarten students all lined up and stopped by my office and would run in and give me hugs if their teacher said it was okay. I felt loved! What a wonderful feeling! It was a wonderful job!

Over the years many students would come back to say ‘hi’ and give me a hug. In those days we gave all the children hugs if and when they needed them. There was one particular student who would come back with his mother every summer to visit me when the school was empty and quiet. He was a sweet little boy who grew into a sweet young man. He told me that I had made a difference in his life by being kind to him when he first came. That brought tears to my eyes.

When the new school opened with PS-Grade 8 capacity, I had a larger office and two other secretaries who had their own offices in different ends of the school – one for the lower and one for the upper school. I was smack dab in the middle between the other two with the Supervising Principal, head of the whole building. The job was a new one and did not have any duties designed into the position. That I did myself. I created the duties and set the tone for all the other schools that opened afterwards with new offices and secretaries.

I missed the smaller original school. The new school was so large that it did not have that same intimate feeling of a family setting. Don’t get me wrong it is a wonderful school with exceptional teachers and principals and children are learning.

After I left the Marsh I moved over to the Timony Grammar School for four years and then to my final position at Central Administration Building for six years to work with the Director who became the Assistant Superintendent of Schools.

Though I enjoyed all my positions in the school system none touched my heart like the Marsh School. It will always have a special place in my memories – all the students over the years I met and cared for as secretary and nurse and all the lovely teachers who became friends.

This little book above touched on all that I did in a days’ work. I love it! Here are two more pages to share with you.

I visited Amazon to see if this cute little book is still there. It is! Here is my review and link to Amazon in case you would like to pick it up. All school secretaries should have one of these! Please say ‘thank you’ to your school secretary today.

5 Stars What School Secretaries Do When No One is Looking

by Jjspina

A lovely tribute to school secretaries everywhere!

I was given this book when I retired from an administrative secretarial position in a school system but had completely forgotten about it. I discovered it recently when I cleaned out an old book shelf that hadn’t been touched in years. What a surprise to find this little jewel!

Being a school secretary for 12 years was one of the best positions I ever held. This book displayed in a sweet and comical way all the duties a school secretary has. It brought back lovely memories. Thinking back over the years in that position, I can’t believe I did all that was displayed in this book. But I did, and loved every minute of it.

I recently posted on my blog about this book and had to write this review which I also shared with my readers. I want to say ‘thank you’ to the authors, Jim Grant and Irv Richardson, for this lovely tribute to hardworking school secretaries everywhere! I love the illustrations too by Patrick Belfiori. I will always treasure this little book.

Thank you, readers, for stopping by to read this post. I hope school secretaries out there will check out this cute little book. You will love it too!

Now that I am retired my job is writing books that will teach, entertain and delight children of all ages. I hope you will check out Jemsbooks.com for books for all ages. My books are written in rhyme with life lessons that encourage children to be kind to each other, accept differences, respect parents, elders and each other, love siblings and each other, and do not accept bullying in any shape or form.

Read every day to your children to help them become healthier and wiser. It’s good for you too! Reading is good for your health!


Please remember to give authors some love and leave reviews on Amazon and Barnes & Noble or wherever you purchase books. We authors will love you for it!

Blessings & Hugs!


About jjspina

Janice is an multi-award-winning author with 39 books: 19 children's books for PS-Gr 4, 12 middle-grade/preteen, two young adult books, written under Janice Spina, and 5 novels, and a short story collection written under J.E. Spina. She is also a writer of poetry, blogger, avid reader, reviewer and a copy editor. Janice has always loved writing and started very young writing poetry, then stories. Her books have received 31 Book Awards and a few finalists awards. All Janice's books are available on Amazon.com, Kindle, B&N and other online book sites. One of her sports' poems was published in The Lawrence Eagle Tribune in October of 2008. She is currently working on book 2 of a YA fantasy series. There will be six books in all in this series. She hopes to work on a series of four books in a crime/mystery genre that will be offsprings of her thriller, Hunting Mariah. There are books in the works about an angel and another about a dog for ages 17+. Her hobbies are crocheting, walking to keep fit, hula hooping, tap dancing, going to the movies with her husband, and spending time with her five grandchildren. Janice loves to hear from readers and appreciates reviews. Sign up on her blog http://jemsbooks.blog for a copy of her newsletters under Contact Me. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband who is her illustrator and cover creator.
This entry was posted in book reviews, books, jobs, kindness to others, Reading, school secretary, Writing, book reviews and publishing, poetry, children's books, YA and novels and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Looking Back at My Jobs!

  1. Sounds like you have some wonderful memories from that time. Not that I’m surprised, since it seems like a very rewarding job.

  2. Jennie says:

    That was a lovely read, Janice. Your memories are wonderful. A good childhood book can do that. My only time in Methuen was a concert at Methuen Music Hall, a magnificent place.

  3. bowmanauthor says:

    We learn so much when we look back in reflection … things we’ve forgotten … things we didn’t think meant anything at the time, and now? Well, maybe it’s everything we are, everything we will become, everything! Reach back as well as forward. Thank you for reminding me that I was once a child, and always will be!

  4. Amy Caudill says:

    What a sweet book, Janice. Thanks for sharing your story.

  5. dgkaye says:

    What a beautiful homage to your past work and schools Janice. It doesn’t surprise me how from there you began writing for children. ❤

  6. How lovely, super blog post, why couldn’t you work together after you married? My parents have worked together for 34 years? Is it a school policy thing?

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