When people think of our school’s essential staff, they immediately recognize the faculty and administration. The janitorial staff are often forgotten as essential staff but of course they are key in keeping a healthy and safe building. Why is that? As students we constantly see them working hard throughout the day, so why do we not credit them for what they deserve?
Sheila Johnson is head of the janitorial staff at Baltimore City College. Ms. Johnson has been working at City since 2013, and although she did not attend BCC as a student (she went to county schools), she confidently describes City as “a family.” Aside Ms. Johnson, two other janitors work with her to clean our school.
Many of her daily duties were surprising and revealed how much goes on behind the scenes for the upkeep of our school. Throughout the day, Ms. Johnson maintains and cleans the cafeteria, handles all kinds of deliveries, maintains the building, and completes orders from the Vice Principal.
Although these tasks seem very difficult, Ms. Johnson explained that because she’s been in this position for so long, she has gotten used to it and wouldn’t be able to name the hardest part of her job. Because other workers handle the tasks that demand more physical labor, it makes her job much easier.
When asked if she felt there was a distance between her and the students, Ms. Johnson said no, and explained that she does as much as she can to help the Collegians. Students often say hello to her and she tries to solve as many of their concerns as possible. However, as close as the students are to her, they will never really be able to see her perspective. Ms. Johnson’s entire career has been to create a safe environment for students, which can be difficult, especially considering City’s large campus. Ms. Johnson explained that if anything, she wished students would “know how hard it is to keep it clean”, acknowledging the difficulty of her job and her honest prioritization of our school.