Our innovative receptionist Annabelle has been working on a special project to make our reception area even more welcoming! Since starting her role at Guildhouse School, Annabelle has quickly become an important member of our community. One of the ways Annabelle has been sprinkling joy through Guildhouse School is with this project, so we caught up with her to get the details.
Can you give us an overview of the project?
We had a TV we weren’t doing much with, so I decided to use it in a way that gets students and staff involved. I ask people to give me a beautiful place, location or memory and find a photo to match what they say and display it on the TV. Then I add a piece of music that comes from the country in the picture or that feels appropriate for the memory. When student’s see their suggestion on the screen it creates a discussion, a few even stop by to play geo-guesser!
Why do you think this project has been such a hit?
It’s a bit of fun! A lot of students use it as a talking point to come and have a chat with me. I could have put the Guildhouse logo on the screen and left it, but this has opened pathways for conversation and connection.
Annabelle has been busy using her project to share and show off our favourite memories and places. It made us realise she was overdue her turn in the spotlight. Sitting down for a chat with us, Annabelle took part in our Get to know me in 10, a feature introducing our people. From the humorous to the inspirational, she answered ten questions, so we could find out more about her.
- What’s your motto/ personal mantra?
I’ve got lots like keep calm, keep cool, keep collected, but one I’ve always channelled is “A little kindness goes a long way”. With that mindset you can change someone’s day!
- When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to go into the police because I wanted to help make a difference in the community. As I got older, I realised there were other things I wanted to do. At first, I wanted to be an illustrator! But one thing I noticed is when I get to use my people skills I flourish. Then I knew, no matter what I did or what job I had it must be people related.
- Are you a cat or dog person? Or neither?
I love both! I’m a golden retriever in personality. But I do have a soft spot for cats. I love cats!
- If you could choose a superpower, what would it be?
I would love the ability to speak and understand all languages because that’s a crazy superpower! I could be super strong, I could fly, but the ability to understand everything around you is a superpower in itself. When the kids apologise for their English or say they aren’t confident I always tell them no, be proud of yourself, you know more than one language, you’re holding a conversation with me, and I understand you. I praise them a lot because you open the world up more when you know more.
- If you were the only human left on earth, what would you do?
I’d walk around Buckingham Palace and behind the scenes at museums to see the stuff we can’t usually see. If you’re the last person on earth, you have to explore! The world is open to you!
- What led you to this career?
I was chatting to my mother, who said she thought I’d be good in schools. I wasn’t intending to work reception, but I thought I’d just come to the interview and see. I was so impressed by the gorgeous building and the staff were so friendly and so personable. It was such a nice atmosphere, so I decided to give reception a try!
- What do you like most about your job?
For me, I like to keep busy and to have work that challenges me and has variation. I have a brain and I need to keep it ticking! I enjoy interacting with people and reception is the perfect role for that. No matter the person or time of day I always have an ear.
- What advice would you give to a new starter?
A little bit of kindness goes a long way. Everyone is walking along their own path in life, be polite, be kind, be respectful. Even when we are having a bad day, it’s about reminding ourselves we don’t know what others are dealing with, so no matter what, be kind to your fellow human beings.
- What’s the biggest misconception people have about your position?
That I’m not doing much! People think I just answer the phone, greet guests and occasionally email someone. But I’m doing admin and getting involved, I speak with SLT and staff daily, I assist with the newsletter and write the student bulletin. I feel like my previous experience has helped me master the chaos and become a beautiful swan of reception!
- What’s the worst job you’ve ever had? What did you learn from it?
All my jobs had pros and cons. My first job, at a dessert lounge, wasn’t the best. I ended up doing things that weren’t my job, like picking up the boss’s new shoes and going to the supermarket for ingredients. It was a test of my patience, so I learnt my patience skills from that job.
Hopefully you know Annabelle, our “beautiful swan of reception”, a bit better now. Next time you’re in the reception room at Guildhouse School be sure to stop and chat with Annabelle about her project or one of the ten things you’ve discovered about her!