Friday, January 19, 2007

Make Someone's Day

One of the cleaners in my school is female. That might not seem like a big deal to some of you young people, but to me it is a great big deal. This woman is performing a job that I spent almost my whole life thinking was a male only job. Every time I pass her cleaning outside, I try to say a few words to her. To me, she is a great role model. She is a true 21st century woman. I became a teacher because it was a job that was open to women. She became a cleaner, a job traditionally done solely by men.

Today when I arrived at school this cleaner was sitting at a desk in the custodian's office. I stopped to say hello and said "I think, this is the first time I have ever seen you sitting." Her reaction stunned me. She had tears in her eyes, grabbed my hand and said "thank you for noticing." I couldn't believe an innocent, meaningless comment on my part could make anyone feel so good. We talked for a few more minutes and I even told her my opinions of her and her chosen profession. When I left her, she said I made her day.

We all need to stop, look around, and let the people around us know that they are valued and appreciated. It costs nothing and takes no time or effort.


CaliforniaTeacherGuy said...

It's so easy to pass by the cleaners and assume that they just "fell into" that line of work because they were incapable of doing anything else. But some people are really good at cleaning (I am not one of them!) and for them cleaning is a calling. Thank you for the reminder.

IB a Math Teacher said...

I like our cleaners. I've worked with female cleaners, but they are all male where I work now.

All except one of them are fun to be around...the other is a grump...I don't know how he makes it through a day without a smile.

When they come down the hall toward me with those big push brooms, I sing the Chariots of Fire theme song, pretend I'm running in slow motion, and clear the broom when I get to them. (Sometimes they cheat and move fast toward me as I get there). But at least we have a short laugh.

Oh, and I put my chairs up at the end of the day. They *really* like that!