The Backbone of the School: Terry Daniels and the Janitorial Staff




No high school would be able to function without the services provided by the custodial staff. Here at Jerome High School Terry Daniels and her staff are the ones who provide that service. Terry is the head custodian here at JHS. She has worked as a janitor for 8 years and has worked for 3 different schools ranging from elementary schools to junior high and high school. Her job right now mostly entails making schedules, overseeing everything, doing paperwork and basically just being a supervisor for all the other custodians. However, she is very familiar with the hard work that the regular custodians do due to her experience in the field. She comes in at 6 in the morning and leaves at 2:30 in the afternoon. The other staff members’ hours are staggered throughout the day.

 The already stressful job has been even worse due to covid. Terry herself said she is stressed but she also commented on how it has been extremely hard for her workers. With covid their workload has increased considerably and their daily routine has been disrupted. That plus the mere fact that they clean and handle some of the most unsanitary places around a large school full of students, many of whom aren’t careful or taking the precautions they should be during this pandemic is extremely stress inducing. When asked if she enjoyed her job Terry paused and gave a lighthearted laugh but then continued on to say that she did enjoy her job for the most part, despite all the stress it brings. 

Terry says the one of the hardest parts of her job personally is getting her workers to show up for their shifts, saying that she gets a lot of call ins and being short staffed adds a lot of extra work for the others and makes the job more difficult. She currently has 7 other custodians on her staff right now. Another difficult part of her job is the carelessness and lack of appreciation from other people. When asked if she thought the janitors got proper gratitude for what they do from students and staff she replied with “So so. Sometimes. It’s just that you have- I don’t want to be mean but- those students that aren’t as grateful and don’t really care and that makes it hard sometimes. But overall i’d say yeah we do get proper appreciation here. This is a good school for that, probably the best i’ve been at” .

The custodial staff here make sure our school stays up and running. They are vital here and yet they don’t get the appreciation they deserve. There is a certain stigma around working as a janitor. Many people put them below others and it is common to hear a parent telling their child to study hard and get good grades so they don’t end up as a janitor. The stereotype of people working blue collar jobs being lower than others and being labeled unsuccessful is very prevalent in today’s society. It is a very unfortunate thing considering the country, even the world, wouldn’t be able to function without these working class jobs. When asked about what she thought about the stereotype of janitorial work being undesirable and lower than other jobs Terry commented saying “Well I think people have the wrong idea about it. I know there’s a lot of people who think we are just the bottom of the totem pole, but I think our job is actually more important than a lot because if we weren’t here this place would fall apart. Can you imagine what this place would look like? There are people who just look at us as peons but they need to understand that our job is more important than they think”. Mrs. Sabotka, a teacher here at Jerome High School also had something to say in regard to the janitors and the appreciation they are given “Without those guys I don’t know how this school would hold it together and they just don’t get the appreciation they deserve. It just hurts my heart that our school as a whole couldn’t do a better job. I get that these kids are teenagers but it’s not hard to walk over to the trash can and throw your stuff away.”

Terry is a lovely upbeat lady who seems to always have a smile on her face. Her and her staff add so much to the school. Even though the custodial staff and their hard work are not always recognized, it does not go unnoticed by all. When asked about Terry, Mrs sabotka had a few things to say about her “ She’s fabulous! She’s always happy, she’s never grumpy and she’s always happy to help. I just think she’s amazing. We need more Terrys, we need more Terrys in the world”.