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Time to clean up our act

Features | By Blanche Girouard

They do our dirty work but we never talk to them. Teacher Blanche Girouard got her pupils to listen to their cleaners 

‘Did you know that mice are incontinent?’ I ask the class. ‘They urinate as they run. So, if you eat in the classrooms, we’ll end up with mice and your desks will get covered in urine.’ The girls look up with interest, but carry on chewing. By four o’clock each day, the classrooms are strewn with crumbs. And clothes. And books. Lucky mice, I think. Poor cleaners. The cleaners arrive when the school day is over. Sometimes, I work late and am approached at my desk by a man who asks, in broken English, if I will move my feet so he can hoover the carpet. I nod. I smile. I shift. But we don’t talk. I don’t even know his name. His presence shames me into taking my dirty mugs to the sink. Suddenly, I have an idea. I persuade some girls to interview the cleaners and play clips from the interviews in...

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