It’s been two straight nights Shaina has skipped cleaning my room. It must be easy to forget a whole building, right? I mean, we’re all of 104 paces away, if you go by Sanjay’s after-lunch demonstration last week.
That must be sheer drudgery.
And it’s probably easy to ‘forget’ to clean a classroom when the teacher doesn’t complain…except inside a journal.
And that same teacher who recently snagged from the custodian’s closet a bottle of the district-approved non-toxic spray to wipe down the desks… and last weekend brought in her own vacuum cleaner for those now inevitable ‘missed assignments’.
Then again, maybe Shaina is more prone to show up when I am around, hoping she can dig up a little dirt.
Am I being paranoid?
Maybe I’m in the wrong line of work. I should buck for a promotion to custodial assistant. I might even get a little more respect from Mrs. Nix.
On second thought, if Shaina found out I was the one who slapped her name on eight unlabeled items in the staff fridge, she’d hardly be on board with me as a ‘team member’, now would she?
So, I gave the kids homework over the weekend. Yes, ruthless, aren’t I? I kept it simple. “Bring in a piece of cardboard at least two feet wide and two feet long.” And I gave them two nights to do it. And I encouraged those who had extra cardboard to offer some to others who weren’t able to [or choosing to] track some down. And I suggested to the cardboard-deprived kids to ask their classmates or neighbors or a store for a single sheet. Two nights! Ask for help! Result: 12 out of 27 kids brought some in. Give me a break! And yet, I had a feeling this would happen, so I was ready. I had sauntered down the aisles of Foodko during late-night shelf stocking and asked the folks for the emptied boxes. They were champs. So, yesterday I had cardboard sheets stacked for those who hadn’t followed through. But everything has a price, even castoff cardboard…
Yep, Shaina is kind of like that factory foreman [foreperson] few workers like, but have to obey and, at times, suck up to.
Now that my radar is up, there are hints that she may well be an extension of Mrs. Nix. She lingers for an extra minute after she’s done with the room. Maybe she’s congratulating herself for remembering to actually clean the place. But there is this uneasy silence and I try not to engage.
But this whole thing is just plain weird. And it sends me further into a protective shell. Which I make sure includes lots of peanut M & M’s. And my cell phone.
I’m not sure what’s more troubling—
—that our jobs as teachers could be daily affected by the perception of —euphemism alert!— ‘non-instructional staff’.
—that an administrator might actually feel the need to rely on a ‘non-instructional staff’ to keep tabs on us.