Custodians aren't usually appreciated or recognized for their hard work in schools. Most of the time their work goes unnoticed and underappreciated. Schools don't magically clean themselves so I spent the day with the head custodian of Sherwood High School, Mayra Astorga, to learn about what this job entails. Fallowing Mayra around the school as she worked made me, a high school student, really appreciate what they do and made me think twice about making a mess. Custodians have to work with harsh chemicals and heavy equipment which can sometimes harm them in order to clean the school and all they ask of us is to clean up after ourselves to make their day a little easier.
I noticed that Mayra's job is really hard physically. During the time I was with her I never saw her stop moving for a long period of time aside from her break. Im a person who sits in a classroom almost all day and I got physically tired and sweaty chasing her as she quickly walked all around the school. I saw her take out the trash, sweep the lunch room area, clean the bathrooms, and vacuum some rooms. I would have to say the worst thing I experienced while I was with her was cleaning the bathrooms and not for the reason you would think. In order for her to clean the bathroom she had to spray some sort of chemical on the toilets, urinals, floor, sinks, and mirrors. The smell of the chemicals would fill up the small room and as soon as you breath it in you would want to cough or something. The smell was sort of suffocating me which Mayra quickly picked up on and offered to get me a disposable face mask which she doesn't wear because she has gotten used to the smell of the chemicals. What I hope readers understand from reading and seeing the photographs is that custodians work really hard to keep the schools clean and should be appreciated for their efforts in providing a sanitary learning environment and realize that without them the schools would be disgusting. I also hope that people understand what its like to work as a custodian and to think twice before making a mess.
Mayra Astorga in the custodians office at Sherwood high school on Monday, Feb. 20, 2017. She is the head custodian and is in charge of cleaning the "west tower" of the school.
Mayra Astorga sitting in the custodians office at Sherwood high school on Monday, Feb. 20, 2017. Looking at her emails for any events. As the head custodian she needs to schedule custodians to set up for events like banquets, meetings, basketball, divers ed, etc.
Mayra Astorga in the custodians office at Sherwood high school on Monday, Feb. 20, 2017. Making a ice cream float on her break. Custodians get a break every 2 hours and a lunch break after 4 hours at Sherwood high school. Mayra usually works during her breaks and lunch break in order for her to finish cleaning.
Mayra Astorga in the cafeteria/ commons at Sherwood high school on Monday, Feb. 20, 2017. One of her jobs is to watch the high schoolers during lunch to prevent fights and to make sure they clean up after themselves
Mayra Astorga in the cafeteria/ commons at Sherwood high school on Monday, Feb. 20, 2017. Taking out the garbage and replacing the bags after lunch. The big garbage bin is harder to push around when it get filled with garbage.
Mayra Astorga in the compost area outside of the building of Sherwood high school on Monday, Feb. 20, 2017. Taking the big garbage bin outside and throwing the garbage into the compost.
One of the custodial storage rooms in Sherwood High school on Monday, Feb. 20, 2017. This room contains a washer and dryer that is used to clean the dust mops that are seen hanging from the door.
Mayra Astorga sweeping in the cafeteria/ commons at Sherwood high school on Monday, Feb. 20, 2017. Sweeping the floor with a dust mop after lunch and adjusting the tables.
Mayra Astorga cleaning in the mens bathroom at Sherwood high school on Monday, Feb. 20, 2017. The C3 machine sprays a cleaning chemical called Suprox that gets sprayed on the toilets, urinal. floor, and sinks. Mayra then scrubs everywhere that has Suprox and rinses them with water from the C3 machine. The machine is then used to vacuum up the water from the floor. The last step is to spray Rejuvnal (a disinfectant) everywhere.
Mayra Astorga vacuuming on the stairs and in an office at Sherwood high school on Monday, Feb. 20, 2017. The vacuum on Mayra's back is a 6 quart backpack vacuum. It is 7 pounds when empty and 10 pounds when full.
Mayra Astorga vacuuming in the entrance of Sherwood high school on Monday, Feb. 20, 2017. She has worked as a custodian for 16 years. Custodians usually make around $13.00 an hour when they start and after working for around 7 years they make around $17.00 an hour.