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    Hope This Helps!
    By HRK

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    I have been an elementary teacher for several years, and I also have two elementary school janitors in my immediate family. From this position, I hear a lot of complaints about the janitor/teacher relationship from both sides of the fence. First let me say that I really sympathize with your situation - it's not fun to have to clean your own room.

    My advice to you is to go to the source... the janitor him/herself. If there's one thing I know about classified staff, they don't like for the certificated teachers to take complaints to supervisors. They like for us to communicate directly with them in a professional manner (even if they themselves are not being professional, as it sounds like this janitor is). Going to the principal is more likely to cause more anger on their part. Believe me, I've seen it happen several times.

    My advice to you is, try to be as nice to the janitor as possible. Take some time at the end of the day one day and have your students really clean up the floor, etc. Leave a note for the janitor, in his mailbox if he doesn't go in your room, explaining the steps you have taken to help him, and ask if there's anything more you can do to help. Also, bite the bullet (this may be difficult for you), and apologize for anything you may have done (even if you haven't done anything) and say that you'd like to mend the relationship. I know that this is something tough to do, but the ultimate goal is to get your room cleaned without people dumping trash on your floor, right? And I have observed, both at my own school and from what my janitor family members tell me, that the teachers who go way out of their way to be super nice to the janitor always have the cleanest rooms. You just have to decide what you're willing to do to get a clean room.

    My own janitor is great to me, because I give him small gifts such as fudge at Christmas or something on his birthday, and I leave leftover class party treats for him or take a slice of pizza to him if we have a pizza party (these are tricks I've learned from my family members)... but I've seen him be not so nice to teachers whom he perceives to not appreciate him. It doesn't take much, believe me. They just want to feel appreciated and part of the school community.

    I hope this helps you. It's obvious that you're not getting anywhere with what you've been doing, (although the principal certainly should intervene, in my opinion). And it sounds like this situation is only going to get worse for you if you don't try another approach.



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