Soggy cucumbers, mouldy chunks of pepperoni, and wet mushy socks are just some of the things I’ve seen on the floors of school classrooms. I won’t even start with what I’ve seen in the bathrooms.

I am a janitor at the elementary campus and have been doing it for about three years. Many teachers are probably familiar with the loud humming noise as I go from classroom to classroom. My job as a janitor is not exactly exciting nor is it boring.

However, lately, I have begun to enjoy my work more.

I enjoy it because as I work, I remember the memories of elementary school. When I walk from classroom to classroom, vacuuming different rooms of all shapes and sizes, I think about how much has changed since I was here as a student.

I have been at ACS my entire school life since kindergarten. Now that I am in grade 12, it has been about eight years since I was an elementary student. Wow! That’s a long time ago. Working at the school has given me such a different perspective of the elementary.

Scenes From a Hallway

One Friday, I came to work early. I usually take the shuttle bus, but it was such a beautiful day I decided to walk from the secondary campus.

I arrived before the bell at the end of the school day. When it rang, I stood waiting for the many kids to file out of their classrooms so I could start my work.

That’s when I saw something that caught me by surprise.

While teachers were saying goodbye to their students and leading them to the door, one particular scene caught my eye. A teacher was saying goodbye to a very excited young girl. The girl ran up the stairs to leave when she stopped short in her tracks and turned around.

I wondered if she forgot something very important, and indeed, she almost did. The girl leaped back down the stairs and gave her teacher a huge hug before going up the stairs again and out the door.

They Shaped Me

Watching this heartwarming scene made me smile. Seeing this affection between student and teacher reminded me of my time in elementary school.

I remember vividly how I cried over my grade 3 teacher, Mrs. De Waal. I loved her so much and didn’t want to leave her classroom. Now that I am in secondary school, I can’t remember the last time I cried over a teacher.

I still remember my elementary teachers: Mrs. Nancy Humphries, Mrs. Apperloo, Mrs. Donna Stelpstra, Mrs. Judy De Waal, Mrs. Lori Van Dyk, and Mr. Seth Bakker. They are the mentors and teachers who shaped me to become the person I am today.

Grade 12 is a time when we are supposed to look ahead and find out what our future may hold. I think more importantly, grade 12 is the year to remember and thank all those who helped me get to where I am.

And as I get ready to turn on the vacuum in the next classroom, I think of how these elementary teachers impact their students every day like the teachers I had, instead of what could be waiting on the floors for me clean up!