Make Room For The Stuttering

Gotta Do What You Gotta Do

Posted on: January 9, 2010

A school is a very busy place to work. Our main office is often like grand central station sometimes – students in and out, phones and bells ringing all the time and lots of multi-tasking. Our front desk receptionist retired before Christmas, and the two office staff, who essentially keep the school running, have been overwhelmed. The phones are constant, as well as students arriving late all day, who must be signed in and issued a pass to enter the classroom late.

I offered to help out because my schedule is slow until next week. Before I could re-think it, I found myself at the front desk, answering all the lines, routing them to the right offices and dealing with student traffic.

It’s really not that big of a deal, because I am very patient and don’t get too flustered easily. Except, I really hate using the phone so much. I used to avoid the phone as much as possible and this week I have been answering the phones all day and fielding questions from parents, prospective students, bus garages and school districts. In over-analyzing the situation, which I tend to do, I noticed something quite profound: sometimes I stuttered and sometimes I didn’t.

When it comes right down to it, that’s the story with my stuttering. Sometimes I stutter and sometimes I don’t. I don’t think much about my stuttering when I don’t stutter a lot. But when I am stuttering quite a bit, I think about it more. I guess that’s the same with most things. I don’t much think about pimples until I get one! I don’t really think about my hair until I am having a bad hair day. And I hardly ever think about socks until I glance down and realize that, once again, I have two different colored ones on.

I have actually done fine on the phones this week. The stuttering I did was relaxed and easy, and I found myself sliding into the “R” word that I sometimes have trouble with, as that is how I have to answer the phone every time – “R . . . .  Ed Center, how may I help you?” Once I slid out the “r”, I had only a few minor repetitions.

I got to see most of the staff everyday and a lot more students than I usually see, as quite a few come late and need late passes issued. And I got to put up with a lot of goodhearted teasing from a lot of staff who thought it was great that I was working the front reception desk. I think they feel I am more approachable that the other woman was. I talk to everybody, I mean everybody.

Aside from the phones, I had one other scenario worth mentioning. As visitors come in and out, they sign in with me, take a visitors badge, and sign out and return the badge to me upon leaving. I found myself making small talk with just about everyone. One person was leaving, and said good-bye. I yelled, “Take Care”, but it came out “T-t-t-t-t-t-take”. The other person looked puzzled, but waited my stutter out before turning to leave. It was OK.

Yes, this week, I came way out of my comfort zone and it felt OK.  Kind of makes me think that I might even be able to use the Public Address system if I need to at some point to make an announcement, instead of asking someone else to do it.Maybe before the end of the school year. I know! I’ll set that as a goal.

Do you take opportunities to push yourself outside of your own comfort zones? How does it feel? Do you feel good when you are able to do one of the things you always used to dread?

1 Response to "Gotta Do What You Gotta Do"


I haven’t really done wnything to push myself out of my comfort zones. I think about it all thye time, and how freeing that must feel, but I seem to never get that far.

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