"Be nice to your secretaries and custodians."
That's my advice to every CF and grad student I've supervised.
It may seem weird. They are probably expecting pearls of wisdom about working with mixed groups, how to implement behavior management, or encouragement or affirmation.
And I just toss out those words - "Be nice to your secretaries and custodians."
They are the words my own mother told me 23 years ago. They've held true.
Today, I'm focusing on the unsung heroes in schools - the custodians. They clean for not very much money. And they clean yucky stuff. That alone is enough to boost them up on the pedestal. They will do so much more for you. Last year, a glass-framed picture above my chalkboard fell to the floor. I don't know how. It was up when I left in the afternoon and then laying shattered on the floor when I returned the next morning. I went to borrow a vacuum. The custodian wouldn't give me her closet keys - instead, she left her breakfast post to vacuum for me. And when I forgot to take the frame home to try to fix it, another custodian fixed it for me and hung it back up. Custodians have our backs.
Here are 5 tips that don't cost anything and go a long way in establishing a relationship.
1) Learn your custodians' names
Say hello and good-bye with their names. Say "thank you" with their names. It's common courtesy, but it is so appreciated.
2) Show interest in the custodians
If I have their children or grandchildren, that's a powerful common bond. And it seems to mean a lot when I ask about their children who are older and are in secondary or even graduates.
3) Place the trashcan next to the door
If I have to set it closer to the other side of the room for an activity, I try to remember to move it back before trash pick-up. Seriously, they are emptying so many trashcans. I can try to make it a little easier for them.
4) Show the custodians respect in front of students
Point out how we need to use the rugs to clean our shoes so we can help keep the floors clean. Teach students the names of custodians as part of back-to-school or vocabulary activities. Say hello to the custodians in the hallways.
5) Share with the custodians
For example, I don't keep play-dough over the summer because it gets hot and melty. Instead, I offer it the custodians, who are usually more than willing to take it to their children and grandchildren. I learned sharing the hard way when I threw away an empty gift basket. I didn't think anything about it. The next day, the custodian approached me shyly with the basket and asked if she could have it. Now, after cleaning out my room at the end of the year, I keep a stash and give first dibs to the custodians before putting it in the "share pile."
And here's a bonus: DON'T WALK ON THE FRESHLY WAXED FLOORS. OBEY THE "DO NOT ENTER" SIGNS
If you work in a school, you know what I mean. If you are new, follow this rule. No questions. Even if you go to school when no one is there, you will be tracked down and become the subject of an email sent to the whole school. Even worse, you'll be on the custodians' bad list. You really don't want that.
And now, here's some kindness for you from the Frenzied SLPs! We are sharing kindness this month the way we know best! We have collaborated to create FREE materials for use with your students centered around a kindness theme. Target a variety of speech and language skills with these products!
Pronouns, Places and Possessives: Kindness focuses on friendships and working together in the classroom while also targeting pronouns, prepositions, and possessive /s/. Check out The Frenzied SLPs Sharing Kindness Blog Hop for more freebies by starting at Talkin' with Twang.
To continue with the hop, click below to go to Speech Sprouts.
We graciously thank you for downloading and using these materials with your students/clients. If you would be so kind, please leave feedback in our TPT stores if you find a few spare moments!