Am I the only one forced to do mandatory janitorial work at my school?

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by Teacher_Lyn, Jan 27, 2010.

  1. Teacher_Lyn

    Teacher_Lyn Companion

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    Jan 27, 2010

    No matter how clean I try to keep my room, it's never enough for the custodian. He's an imposing, scary guy about 6'6. He used to be angry at me everyday because the floor isn't perfectly clean and he has to vacuum my rug once a week.

    So I've taken to sweeping the entire floor every day. It was a pain, but I figured, "hey whatever to get him off my back" even though that's not my job.

    Well, a couple weeks ago, I had a meeting after work and didn't sweep the floor. Do you know this guy went and got another one of the custodian to show him my room and tell him "this sh--t doesn't make any sense". :eek:

    OKAY, stop. It's NOT my job to sweep the floor. I mean, when I need to run to the bathroom during class, do I ask the custodian to cover the kids for me? No. Do I ask him to wash my boards, grade papers, pull small groups or anything? No.

    The other day I'm sweeping the room and the custodian is like, "You missed a spot. If you're going to do it do it right." :eek:

    I used to come up to the school on weekends to do work. He'd have the building open so I'd stop off at Starbucks and bring him a pastry and coffee, which he ALWAYS took gladly.

    I do suspect some of his issue with me stem from the fact that he's close friends with a teacher at my school who is doing everything she can to make my job hard.

    Ugh,
     
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  3. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Sounds like it's time for a meeting with the administration. Your job is to have the room tidy so he can sweep and vaccuum. Anything else is problematic. Document everything you've said here, and bring it to the attention of whomever in your school is responsible for these sorts of complaints.
     
  4. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Ridiculous is the only word for it.
     
  5. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    You know what. I'm tempted to tell you to look the guy square in the eyes and say....

    "The last time I looked, you are the one that got paid for sweeping floors. I do so out of courtesy. If you have a problem with it, I'd be glad to go to "insert boss' name" and have "insert boss' name" clarify what our duties are."
     
  6. MissSkippyjonJones

    MissSkippyjonJones Comrade

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    Jan 27, 2010

    This is creating a hostile work environment and must be brought to the attention of your admin and your union rep.
     
  7. Securis

    Securis Cohort

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    Jan 27, 2010

    I involved my Admin over a similar situation with children using the restroom to wash hands after a painting project. I was asked not to use those sinks. I don't. I allow children to wash their hands before leaving my room and sometimes under some circumstances some children don't get to. However, they do get to when the teacher for their next class allows them to go. So the mess is blamed on me. It was quite an uproar. The Principal approached me and I said to her, "My job is to teach children not make custodians happy." I explained a bit more than that, of course. But I haven't had a problem since.
     
  8. Teacher_Lyn

    Teacher_Lyn Companion

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    That's a good point. My worry though is being written off as a cry baby because I also have issues with the particular teacher that the custodian is friends with. He never used to have an issue with my cleanliness (at least not that he expressed to me) until that teacher and i started having issues. :mad:
     
  9. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Jan 27, 2010

    Right, because as teachers we have so much time to clean and vacuum and mop and all those things before going home. That's why the janitor, errr custodian was hired, to ensure you were cleaning the classroom correctly...
     
  10. kidsandpups

    kidsandpups Companion

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    Jan 27, 2010

    At least you have custodians. We have a couple moms that come in at night and clean the bathrooms and such. Any big jobs like taking the lunch garbage out of the cafeteria to the dumpster, moving furniture around the building, or getting things out of the third floor storage are done by my students since they're the oldest in the building. They end up with some pretty strange tasks too, like helping the priest push the lawnmower tractor out of mud.
     
  11. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Our custodians will sometimes refuse to clean rooms that are too dirty.

    Um....

    I agree that it's my job to keep the room tidy. I shouldn't have textbooks strewn across the floor or the garbage can tipped over or something. But as for those paper fuzzies on the floor or something? That's the job of the custodians. I have over 200 students. There is going to be a certain amount of mess, in spite of my best efforts.

    I feel for you. :(
     
  12. Teacher_Lyn

    Teacher_Lyn Companion

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    exactly. *sigh* i wish this woman would either get a new job or stop acting like the 6-year-olds we teach. :mad:
     
  13. Teacher_Lyn

    Teacher_Lyn Companion

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    thank you for understanding. i agree about things like trashcans being tipped over or textbooks and school supplies on the floor. but we're talking he gets mad over broken pencil tips, scraps of crayon paper and dirt from the kids shoes when they went to recess. :huh:

    i wouldn't have even minded sweeping to help him out if he didn't act like that what I am SUPPOSED to be doing instead of being at least a little appreciative that I'm trying to be courteous.
     
  14. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    Jan 27, 2010

    I agree with a previous poster about a hostile work environment. Also, in our district you would probably get in trouble for doing the work of a union worker (teachers and custodians are in different unions). I think you are being bullied.
     
  15. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    Jan 27, 2010

    Mine doesn't care. Heck, mine rarely darkens my door. He's absent a good portion of the time, and when he is there he's complaining about being behind with his work . . . and he does a half-@ss job of that. The only thing he's supposed to do it sweep my room and take out my trash once a day.

    I'm very picky with my classroom, and I never let it get really dirty anyway. Typically I'll have small scraps of paper, dust, and shoe dirt.

    He's been promising me that he'll mop for two years . . . and I PAID the night custodian to come in off hours to mop it for me last year before parent conferences because I'd been out due to my dad dying and couldn't do it myself. This year I went in over Christmas break and mopped.

    Yesterday during my planning time--when he is supposed to clean my room--he was in his "office" reading a magazine and talking about how tired he was.

    I would actually prefer to clean my own room since he's going to half-do it or not do it at all. But, darn it, I resent that I have to do it when they're paying him to do it.
     
  16. janlee

    janlee Devotee

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    This post really bothers me. I cannot imagine a custodian or anyone else speaking to a teacher this way. Where is this man's supervisor? If this were to occur in my school the custodian would have been fired on the spot because not only would my principal not tolerate it but my union would be involved immediately. I wish I could send you the 3 custodians who work in my building. They are the most caring and understanding individuals and take pride in the work they do. My sinks and toilets are scrubbed each night. Floors swept nightly and rugs vacuumed twice a week. Pencil sharpeners emptied as are all trash cans. Paper towels and toilet paper holders filled each day. If something breaks it is brought to the custodians "office" and if at all possible it will be repaired. They pick up pencils and crayons and put into my "Finder's Box". There are only 280 students in the school and the custodians know most of the names of the students. Miss M, Mr. S, and Mr. P are the best!
     
  17. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jan 27, 2010

    How does the custodial staff treat the rest of the faculty?
     
  18. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    Jan 27, 2010

    The responses in this thread are not like what I thought they'd be, because my custodian at my former school was the same way, so I was starting to think maybe most schools were like that.

    I too, exhausted at the end of the day, would be sweeping and picking up the kids' heavy crates and moving stuff around and picking up any paper or pencils.

    I would have the kids stop and clean up in the middle of the day, and a student would sweep during PE, but I was still told that my room is too junky even after I re-swept it. They also didn't want any paper hanging from the inside of my students' desks and they wanted all of their folders that were in their desk to be neat and orderly.

    The other teachers had tables so the inside of their students' desks were hidden from view. I was told I'd get in trouble for my students not having neat desks, nothing would be on the floor btw.
    Nothing I did was ever enough.

    I hope the rest of the staff treats you better.
     
  19. Teacher_Lyn

    Teacher_Lyn Companion

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    Where is his supervisor you ask? Well...he is too busy deciding whether or not the students have outdoor recess of course! At my old school, this decision was made by the principal. But our head custodian doesn't like for the children to go outside and play because it makes the school "dirty". So often times, when other schools, such as the one across the street from my house and my friend Jesse's school are having recess, we are indoors.

    Between about mid October - February the students almost never go outside. :(

    I don't know why, but a lot of members of the staff (ie: office ladies, custodians) think they are mini-principals and boss around the teachers, especially young, newer teachers like myself.
     
  20. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    So, I assume he's chummy w/ that horrible chairperson you've mentioned before. Either way, this custodian's behavior is absolutely outrageous! I'd rather him not come to my room at all if he's going to verbally abuse me like this, (but of course he can'ty skip your room altogether because it's HIS job to clean up everyone's room).

    Starting from his first out of line comment, I would have documented everything he's said & done, then when you have enough evidence of how he's been & after you see if he's like this w/ other teachers or not, then go to admin.

    This custodian & the teacher he's friends w/ are creating a hostile work environment for you & you should report this for sure.

    Good look & keep us posted on how it goes.
     
  21. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Well, I would not tolerate it. Bringing attention to an issue of harrassment is NOT being a crybaby. I agree with the poster who said to speak to your union. If the custodial staff is unionized, then speak to them as well. You deserve to be treated with respect. My "ghetto" kids knew better than that.
     
  22. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Jan 27, 2010

    I have worked at schools where the administration was "hostage" to a group of support workers. The biggest one was the bus drivers. All the schools had to open and close around there needs.
     
  23. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    Jan 27, 2010

    Perhaps you might speak to the custodian the next time it happens. Ask how have things changed since the two of you were friendly. Then explain how you feel. Sometimes the only way to handle someone being a bully is to tell them they are acting like one.

    Then, if that doesn't stop the harrassment, move on up the line with documentation in hand.

    I love our custodians, too. We have an old school (with a hodgepodge of newer wings), and they sure keep it sparkling clean.

    I do have the kids sweep the floor at the end of the day if it's been a particularly muddy day or a day when there are pieces of construction paper on the floor after the last activity.
     
  24. Teacher_Lyn

    Teacher_Lyn Companion

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    I'm so sorry that you went through this too. I get that a lot of custodians have many responsibilites and they get tired too, BUT at the same time, THEY choose the profession, and it goes with the territory, just as endless paperwork and testing goes with ours.

    At my old school, the custodians used to get on me about not letting the kids pencil lead scuff up the floor, but never like the staff at this school. :(

    The only bright side to this is one of the other custodians. He's really nice and one day when he saw me sweeping he goes, "Ms. Lyn, I know Mr. ___ gives you a hard time, but you're a teacher, this isn't your job. So whenever I do your room, I don't want to see you with a broom in your hand, okay?" :) What a sweet heart. :hugs:

    That's the way you treat people. Because he showed appreciation for my extra work, I still sweep up whenever he covers my room anyway because I was feeling so low that day and what he said made me feel so much better.

    With the exception of the aforementioned teacher, the other staff members have been friendly to me.

    My brother suggested the same thing when I called to tell him about the situation. I HATE confrontation and this guy isn't exactly the most approachable, but I guess i should give it a try even though he's a huge man and can be extremely blunt and kind of a jerk. Even when he was being nice to me, he was still kind of a jerk at times. He's got a dry sense of humor and a deadpan manner. :eek:hmy:

    i don't get how support workers such as office staff, custodians and bus drivers can boss around the administration. why don't they either fire them or report them!? :eek:
     
  25. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Unions, tradition, who you know, who you are, how long you have worked, and simple personality can keep one working.
     
  26. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    I understand about the hating confrontations. If you don't feel comfortable speaking to him, don't do it. I also will pick battles sometimes, and some people are just too intimidating for me.

    Perhaps just stop doing the extra and when he says something to you, you say "It's not my job." Then don't invite further comment by responding to anything he says. Document the confrontation and the condition of your room. I guess that would be a passive aggressive approach to it.
     
  27. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    At the beginning of this year I found out that our beloved custodian had a complaint against her. It could have been from the new staff because I know the old staff remembers how terrible the custodian before her truly was. She is outsourced and her boss was making her do ridiculous things to try to please everyone. I finally told her that I love her work and that in my classroom I would like my floors to be done and my bathrooms to be kept clean (she already does both) but the rest of the classroom is MY job and for her not to worry about it or to kill herself over it. If I skip a day, ignore it. It's still my job. I told her, however, that during breaks when they spring clean the rooms doing a good job on my room is much appreciated but otherwise I didn't expect her to do some of the ridiculous things she had complaints about such as cleaning all the windows everyday. Come on. That is a HUGE building and there is only 3 custodians. If your little one makes smudge prints, clean them. Otherwise it can wait until breaks or at least once a month and not daily. I can keep my own tables clean. I can keep the sinks clean. I may be a little messy and disorganized but I'm responsible for my own classroom. I would, however, take issue with someone expecting me to keep EVERYTHING nice and neat and criticizing my attempts nor do I sweep the floor unless we just made a huge mess. I love my custodian. She's the first person I see everyday. I would be very upset having your custodian and I wouldn't have put up with it this long.
     
  28. aventa_teacher

    aventa_teacher New Member

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    After the murder of Annie Le for apparently not keeping her mouse cages clean, i would not put it past anyone to become unhinged over a seeming non-issue. I would speak to your Principal immediately about this person's behavior. Outrageous!
     
  29. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    Last building - custodian was fantastic. He would do the whole floor, moving all the student desks and minor furniture, trash, clean my boards, wipe all the desks each day, straighten everything up. For that, I made sure my kids tidied up before they left.

    This building - does nothing. He runs the broom through the center of the floor and takes out the trash, but some days he doesn't even do that. And my kids are horrible and won't clean up anything and my classes are so big I can't even see if there is stuff on the floor until they leave anyway. So I leave it.

    Bottom line is it is not my job. I know they have it hard. But I have more work than I can finish in a day, too. Cleaning my classroom, beyond my own mess if I spill or drop something, is theirs. And even then, if I make a mess I can't clean up with my paper towels, I just make sure I tell them about it at the end of the day and apologize.
     
  30. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    Wow. He is an #%$^# and is a bully. I would tell the principal to tell that #@&$ to do his job and stay away from me.
    As for my experiences with janitors. ALL good. Our guy from
    the caribbean is excellent and a very smart guy. I help him and he helps me. For all new teachers, it PAYS to be nice to support staff. I do it because it is the right thing to do. They are integral to a good school. Whenever we won "A" money in Fla. for our school we voted them the same cut as the teachers.
     
  31. Teacher_Lyn

    Teacher_Lyn Companion

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    please wish me luck. assuming he's coming in today, i am going to try and not get emotional but to just ask him what's going on and did something happen because he's treating me differently. worse case scenario he says "yeah you're a horrible person and my friend, ms. ____ can't stand you" at least i'll know
     
  32. Teacher_Lyn

    Teacher_Lyn Companion

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    Update: So I spoke with two other teachers I trust about the situation and both of them advised me not to say anything because it probably won't help the situation and could actually make it worse.

    They advised I continue just being friendly to him. He hasn't said anything derogatory about my room this week -- just ignoring me and being dry/crisp when I talk to him.

    This evening, I went up to the school with my friend to grab something. He was in my classroom and cordial to my friend but completely ignored me as he cleaned up.

    When he left the room I said, "Bye Mr. __, have a good evening!" and he ignored me. :(

    It stinks, but as long as he's not harassing me about my room, I guess I should let it go...

    I don't want too, but I am going to try and bear it until I can't anymore.
     
  33. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    I'd still document anything negative that occurs. I'm glad it's not as bad today.
     
  34. Teacher_Lyn

    Teacher_Lyn Companion

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    thank you. *sigh* im starting to see now why so many people decide to go into business for themselves. this sort of thing leaves such a bad taste in the mouth
     
  35. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    You know, I know none of us are any better than anyone else & it's one thing when the P, VP, or other higher-ups are snooty, but when the custodian of all people are snooty, that's a real shame. I'm not saying there's anything wrong w/ being a custodian, but I'm sure some of you will agree that it's an even more frustrating feeling when someone who's occupation is at a lower level than you treats you like dirt, not that teachers or anyone else should think theyr're better than anyone at a lower level than them. :(
     
  36. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I'm sorry, I'm confused.

    Can you explain the levels?

    My kids are taught about an honest days's work for an honest day's pay, and were so even before jobs of any sort became incredibly valuable. We leave out any references to levels because it's not what we believe.

    And I know a lot of people with college degrees right now who would jump at a janitorial job.
     
  37. MuggleBug

    MuggleBug Companion

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    Jan 28, 2010

    I can't understand why people are rude for no reason. If someone says "Have a good night" to me, I return the sentiment, no matter how much I may not care for that individual. Ugh...pet peeve, sorry!

    Do you plan on staying at this school next year or will you be looking to get out (or at least change grade levels)?
     
  38. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    That's why I wanted to make sure I started off by saying that none of us are any better than the other. But, not everyone thinks that way. People of a high status can be very egotistical & think they're God's gift, which of course isn't right. But, I'm just saying that certain people (I'm not saying myself nor Teacher Lyn), may feel even more frustrated that someone of a lower level job is treating them badly.

    Yes, people are the same, but there are good, better, & best jobs out there.
     
  39. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    I can't help but wonder if someone (i.e. the other teacher) told him that you were talking about him behind his back and said something mean. Why the attitude change? Oh well, kill him with kindness.
     
  40. Rebel1

    Rebel1 Connoisseur

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    Jan 28, 2010

    That is a PITA situation, BUT don't let it EAT YOU UP!
    Continue to do your own thing and don't stoop down to his level.:eek: Some people just won't know what a good thing is, EVEN if it hit them on their faces while walking in the door.
    They just might not know any better.
    I hope things will get better.
    Rebel1
     
  41. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Jan 29, 2010

    I have had problems in the past with our custodians. They just sluffed off and did not do anything except empty the trash. Never mopped the floor! So I started dribbling Capri sun on the floor - you can imagine how bad it looked after an hour of kids walking in it (little drips). Juice drips turn black and sticky and there is no ignoring them! Ha! My floors started getting mopped. That particular guy was headed down the drain at the time - not long after he was arrested for using/selling.
     

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