At one college the janitor (whose job it is to clean the toilets, repair broken windows, clear graffiti etc) was proudly showing me around the super clean premises.
As he did so, we found groups of students sitting in stairways and huddled in groups in secret places hidden from view. He checked what the students were doing, should they be in class, are they lost, are they avoiding someone? He asked how they were feeling: if they were sick, tired, bored, scared…?
Every student spoke to the janitor with love and respect. It was heart-warming.
I asked how he had done it.
He told me he was a coach (an ACC certified coach!) and he had spent the first months of his new job getting to know the students and all their secret hiding places. He had spent months repairing the many broken windows and scrubbing a lot of graffiti from the walls.
I said, “Well, it sure looks clean now.”
He replied, “We have had no graffiti for a year, no broken windows and no mess in the corridors. They would not do that to me.”
Later, I commended the headteacher for employing a coach to clean the school. “As long as he does his job” he said abruptly.
Then he winked at me.