Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Custodian Appreciation

Many of us receive tokens of of appreciation and affection from our students and their families.  We tend to enjoy Atta-Boy or Atta-Girl recognition, annual participation in Secret Santa, and sharing goodies and treats with our colleagues. "PayDay Fridays" or once-a-month lounge get-togethers also occur, and many teachers bake, cook, or buy to their hearts' content any number of nummies sweet, savory, and oh-so-tasty.

Secretaries, principals, nurses and school counselors enjoy national days of recognition too, but custodians tend to miss out on others recognizing them on a set day each year.  Some online calendars claim October 2 is Custodian Appreciation Day, while others place the event sometime in the spring.

This year our custodial staff went above and beyond their normal call of duty when Mother Nature and El Nino decided to hit Oz repeatedly with snow, wind, and wind chill punches one after the other.  Our Super-Custodians dug out and salted the sidewalks, made sure the building stayed heated, repeatedly cleaned carpets, excavated alternate fire escape routes and walkways, put out rubber mats and extra carpeting to absorb the extra moisture and limit falls for students, parents and teachers, and by golly, they did it without complaining!  They arrived early, stayed late, and kept us all on track even when water mains burst one street away, requiring that our building's water be turned off during repair work.

They did all of this while still managing to scrub paint, clay, crayon, and pencil marks off of our students' desks, disinfecting our bathrooms, classroom surfaces and doorknobs, and vacuuming holiday glitter from the carpets.  Our crew is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!

As January is the calm after the storm of the winter holiday season, many of our wallets are lighter than usual, making big-ticket "thank you gifts" difficult to produce.  Our solution?  Gift baskets in which all teachers provide a small donation of goodies that are then divided up amongst (in this case) four containers:

Baskets and other storage containers are on sale after the holidays. I found these at Joann Crafts and was even able to add an additional  teachers' discount which lowered the final price significantly.  Better yet?  The baskets are lined and can be reused by our custodians any way they like:

Start with a layer of colorful tissue paper:

Put the taller items in the back:

...and keep filling the baskets in:

After the last of the goodies are added tomorrow, I'll finish off the presentation with shredded filler (the custodians will *certainly* be glad it's not SNOW!) and wrap the baskets with clear cellophane, raffia, and gift tags:

A little bit given by a lot of people adds up to a whole lot of appreciation~ now THAT'S math I *like*!

"No one is more cherished in this world than someone who lightens the burden of another.  Thank you."  ~Author Unknown

"The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated."  ~William James

"During my second year of nursing school our professor gave us a quiz.  I breezed through the questions until I read the last one:  "What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?"  Surely this was a joke.  I had seen the cleaning woman several times, but how would I know her name?  I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank.  Before the class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our grade.  "Absolutely," the professor said.  "In your careers, you will meet many people.  All are significant.  They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say hello."  I've never forgotten that lesson.  I also learned her name was Dorothy."  ~Joann C. Jones

~What did we include in our baskets?

*cheese and crackers
*snack packs 
*hot chocolate
*herbal tea
*homemade cookies
*trail mix
*fruit snacks
*bite sized candy
*Girl Scout Cookies
*microwave popcorn
*dip mixes


  1. Wow, what a wonderfully sweet gesture! Every Christmas, I always bake for our custodians. This year, we have a whole new crew, and a couple of them were completely thrown for a loop by my gift, and didn't quite know what to make of it. Kinda sad, isn't it, that they aren't used to anyone showing them some appreciation? :(

  2. What a wonderful way to show your appreciation. The custodians are special and it is more often than not a thankless job so I know they will love being treated so kindly for one day.


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