Do you know of a custodian that can actually clean? I’m sure they’re out there, but I have met very few of them. Over time I have found that this demanding job can be better accomplished with a few helpful hints.
At my last school I once found a dust bunny so big I thought it would crawl off the shelf. I was determined to stay after school and see my room get cleaned. The custodian entered five minutes after teachers were scheduled to leave and emptied the trash and pencil sharpener. He walked around and picked up a few pieces of paper. Turned on the vacuum and pushed it once up each isle and then moved on to the next class. When I talked to his supervisor I heard that the custodians had been told that if they finished the rooms before their shift was over they could watch tv. While the dust fell like snow my custodian was relaxing and watching tv from 4:30 until 9:00.
It was at this time that I had to resort to helping my custodial staff in the following ways:
Custodial Trick Number 1: I have seen custodians skip vacuuming and just sweep items that are not carpet colored into a dust pan with a broom. Solution: I got around this by sprinkling three-hole punch circles around various areas of my room. The tiny little circles were easier to pick up with a vacuum than a brush so I was always assured to get an area vacuumed.
Custodial Trick Number 2: It seems that it is a lot to ask to have the trash liner replaced, because it takes the custodian less time to just dump it out and put the can back. The trouble with this is that any messy snack inside attracts bugs and is just plain gross. Solution: Tying the top requires the custodian to throw it away and replace it instead of just emptying it.
Custodial Trick Number 3: Since dusting takes time, I’ve seen most custodians use the wand slide technique. They hold the dusting wand at waste height and make a circle of the room possibly hitting the horizontal surfaces as they make the circuit. Solution: For this you have to call up some backups. Ask your kids for volunteers to use the magic duster to clean a specific area. An eight year old will do a better job almost every time.
So if you find yourself with custodians that are too busy to clean, help them out with some of these tips. If you have a custodian that does a great job, make sure you tell them how awesome they are!
(In the comments below, please tell me of your experiences with your custodial staff)