Monday was the last day of school over here. Such an exciting time for students and teachers!!! A time of adjustment for parents, I imagine. For janitors, it doesn’t mean much. We’re still working, we’ll just be doing different (but just as physical, if not more so) tasks. And, it means we’ll be switching from working nights, to working early.
A lot of times, people (outside of work) ask me if I work during the summer. They assume that I don’t. For the record: school janitors work all summer long. How else would the school look all shiny and new on the first day of school???? Little tiny elves?!!
This has historically been the hardest time of year for me. Everyone is so excited about the nice weather and their upcoming freedom. Teachers are clearing out their rooms in anticipation of new stuff they ordered for next year. I start getting really emotional about everyone leaving. I start trying to save as much of the stuff they are throwing out. I start fretting about being ripped away from my routine, and having to work closely with my co-workers all day, every day. I start isolating as much as I can get away with. I know this is some strong language for what seems like no big deal, but it really has felt this extreme for me.
It’s been getting better the past two years. Like everything else in my life, I’m starting to be able to handle it easier. I feel more at ease with my co-workers, and the idea that I will actually be working with them. I chat with teachers about their summer plans. I don’t try to save everything they throw away; I’m becoming more selective. As a side note, anything I do get out of the trash, I immediately create a strong bond with it, for some reason. Stuff from trash is much more valuable, often, than stuff I choose to buy. Not sure why.
But I still can’t let myself get swept up in the energy of the last day of school. I don’t make an effort to say good-bye to all the kids or anything. What they do at our school is, Kindergarten through 4th grade students all go out early and position themselves out on the bus loop, so that when 5th graders head out to get on their buses, they get a big send-off. Then everyone boards their bus, and all the buses take two laps around the bus loop as all the staff cheer and wish them farewell. And kids are allowed to hang out the windows, just this one time, and everyone is yelling and cheering and crying. I cannot be there for that. Maybe one day. I just stay in the building and dump garbages, because it is too intense to be a part of that.
So far this year, I have found in the garbage:
- dozens of envelopes, in different bright colors
- two coffee mugs, one which says, “I ❤ Tea, I ❤ Teaching”
- a plastic travel cup with straw
- a bunch of tracing paper
- some books, one which is called, “Subway Art”
- a bunch of Teddy Grahams and string cheeses
- A North Face jacket, which will actually fit me
- silly bandz!!!!!
And really that’s it so far, which is a very good thing! The past few years, there have been times of huge upheaval. Asbestos removal about 6 years ago, massive room changes about 3 years ago, new carpet installation 2 years ago. Anything like this, and teachers toss out soooooo much. And I respond in a frenzied fashion. I cannot see useful things go into the dumpster. This year feels so smooth and relaxed, in comparison. I am glad.
A partial list of some stuff I’ve found in the past:
- an iPod shuffle
- another iPod shuffle
- Nintendo DS games
- lunch boxes, so many lunch boxes. I’m always in the market to upgrade, haha.
- a long-arm stapler
- a long long list of art supplies and books, calculators, cameras, just… stuff.
- silly bandz!!!!!
This time around, I am ready to try and enjoy the summer.