Want to take on an impossible task? Try transferring janitorial duties to a group of middle schoolers.
At Acton Academy it’s our Eagles responsibility to clean the sink, mop the floors and empty the trash – every day. With no help or intervention from Guides.
At first this took a great deal of patience. The room looked (and at times smelled) like a college dorm. But finally the Eagles rallied to form a cleaning crew and spruce up their new home.
Sadly, after a while enthusiasm waned and we slipped back into bad habits. That is, until the Acton elementary students wrote a series of letters complaining about the trash and how it was damaging the Acton brand. There was talk of an intra-school suit for damages, perhaps a Chapter 11 bankruptcy with elementary students as overseers.
The middle schoolers rallied again. But a few weeks later slipped back into slothful habits.
Then, a novel idea. We divide the room in half and separate the Eagles into two teams. At the end of clean up, the an elementary student serves as referee, with one of two choices:
- Declare one side the winner. Winners go outside the next day during free time.
- Declare the entire classroom “pristine,” which means both sides can go outside (Hasn’t happened yet!)
As shown above, the Elementary Eagles take great pride in their new responsibilities, and the room has never been cleaner.
We set the rules; Eagles decide whether or not to play. Even when it comes to cleaning the bathrooms!