Tonight was the night! Parent Teacher conferences. Everyone wants to put their best foot forward. For teachers, that usually means pulling out the "conference clothes," shoving piles of papers into available closets and sprucing up the ole bulletin boards. Yes, friends, we put on a good show.
We learn by example, I guess, because the administration lays it on pretty thick. Serious dog and pony show. I mean, if they could arrange for flame dancers, I think they just might jump on it. Can you imagine, flame dancers on every stairwell lighting the way to your child's teacher?
Part of the show includes making sure that our building is absolutely spotless. Spotless! Hallways are waxed, and bathrooms are scrubbed. Teachers do their part too, you know, with all the pile shoving? (We do love our piles.) However, there is one aspect of this Grand Clean Sweep that remains a volatile battleground.
The classroom carpet. (Insert "Debbie Downer" music here.)
Now, the custodial staff (many of whom I do love very much... I mean, they clean puke for us) adamantly maintains that it is not their responsibility to clean the carpets. To me, this does defy a bit of logic on several levels. 1) Only custodial staff has access to the closets in which the precious vacuums are housed. 2) They sweep our floors, and come within mere inches of the carpet. 3) Do we really want to get into being asked to do things that are not in our job descriptions.... cuz, um, I might have one or two things to add to that list.
Usually, this battle ends with children spending weeks sitting on a living science experiment. Eventually, I will break down and beg, borrow and steal a vacuum from a fellow colleague. Oh, right, and maybe this is where I should mention that my colleague (you know, the one I borrowed the vacuum from?) BOUGHT the vacuum with her own money because she couldn't stand her dirty carpet a moment longer. Call me crazy, but I'm fairly certain that purchasing a vacuum isn't in her contract. She just happens to be a super rock star.
Yesterday, I went to my Super Rock Star colleague and asked to borrow her vacuum. And that's when she told me...
Damn! Now the parents are going to see my filthy carpet and, despite all my efforts teaching their child to, oh, you know, read and write, they're going to blame ME for having a dirty rug. Hey, teachers are easy targets.
In a final act of desperation, several teachers went to our principal and asked if it was at all possible for the custodial staff to release the precious vacuums from their locked closets and make them available to us.
Because God forbid, we come out and actually ask someone else to work as hard as we do!
But, surprise of surprises, our principal says that he will ask the custodial staff to pop around and vacuum our rugs for us since we have so much going on! And they did... they did vacuum... which I do appreciate... I just wish it wasn't during Writer's Workshop!
It was then, during that moment of quiet, as I looked around to see all twenty of my little friends diligently writing away, filling me with a sense of pride, when that moment of quiet was hideously interrupted with the incessant noise of a vacuum cleaner. It was then that I realized: it's just easier to do it my freaking self.
Mrs. Mimi teaches at a public elementary school. She has been teaching for eight years and loves her job but sometimes, a girl has just got to vent. In her non-existent spare time (who needs sleep, right?) Mrs. Mimi is working toward a doctorate in education. You can check out her blog, It’s Not All Flowers and Sausages