Day in the Life of a Working Custodian


Sydney Hancock

KEEPING THE SCHOOL CLEAN School Custodians typically do not get the recognition that they deserve. Their work goes unnoticed and that needs to change starting now.

Harper Frye, Staff Writer

A custodian, by definition, is a person who is responsible for or looks after something. People have never really given much thought to the labor intensive job custodians have. Custodians are not always treated with respect and often do not receive the admiration they deserve. Many students are not informed or are unaware of their custodial duties. People are uneducated about what hardworking custodians do every day to maintain our areas of work, entertainment, and health. The amount of work that goes into an everyday routine, often goes unnoticed. An article written by Integrity Services about custodial work explains it perfectly: “Their work is extremely important to other people’s lives unless you wish to be in public places that are filthy.” People are used to places being clean and tidy, but we do not always think about the hard work that goes into keeping those places spick-and-span.

Every day, our Issaquah custodians wake up and head to work. They arrive at school as early as 6:00 am and begin their day with demanding chores. They take out the trash, clean windows, vacuum carpets, and change light bulbs. They pick up trash in the lunchroom, sweep the floors,  maintain the bathrooms, and keep the school running. Our school custodians clean up after us and have a smile on their face the whole time. Issaquah High School’s lead custodian Craig Abbey explains his day in detail: “I come in and I check my emails and for the first couple of hours of my shift, I’m on call.” On call means responding to the school if there is an emergency, like a spill. There could be broken glass, or someone could have vomited in class. Abbey says, “[Then] I make a list of things that [I] need to get done, like changing light bulbs, clearing drains on the roof, general maintenance of the building. [I] respond a lot to broken furniture in classrooms or delivering new furniture, and then after lunch [I] clean the entire lower commons.” After that, he has to do the entire perimeter trash cans outside and clears all the trash cans from the administrative offices. He cleans the glass and carpets and then is off work by 6:00 pm. Abbey’s day does not just include picking up after students, but also making the place students occupy seven hours out of the day clean and safe. Without custodians, the school would not only be dirty, but also unsafe for IHS students and staff to be in. Abbey says, “I love interacting with all the people here. I really do. I have a good relationship with most staff members.” His favorite part of the day is “catching up with people. Every day is different.”

Abbey was just recognized by the Issaquah High staff in their monthly meeting. Abbey says, “For me to have been awarded that, it really means a lot.” He was recognized for his hard work, and only one staff member gets it per month. When Abbey is out on the job, he says that “the students and I steer clear from each other.” He says that his main focus when he gets to work is to keep it pristine and running smoothly. Sophomore Elyse Lian says, “Students should be more caring to the custodians.” Abbey disagrees with this though, and says, “I feel like in general the students do really respect the school.” There is a general disagreement whether or not the students at Issaquah treat our custodians with respect.

Picture a custodian working. What do you see him or her doing? Are they picking up trash? Cleaning the toilets? If this is what you pictured you are both right and wrong. Custodians do these things, but also have many other rigorous tasks. Sophomore Makenzie Lee says, “[Custodians] make sure the school is clean and safe.” A lot of people do not understand the hardships and difficulties that school custodians endure. They have early and late shifts. Some shifts go as late as 1:00 am. These shifts require diligent work. There is no downtime for our IHS custodians who are always on the move. Sophomore Chloe Feyerick says, “That’s the reason our school is doing so well, because of the custodians.” Without the custodians our school would be a hazardous place to work and study in. Custodians jobs can also be dangerous. Sometimes they have to hang new light bulbs or work on the roof. Either way, no matter what our custodians are doing, they should be recognized for their exceptional work and time spent keeping places spotless. Make sure when you see a custodian working in the halls, remember what they do for you, and say thank you.