Wednesday, 16 September 2015

The Cage - Alice Kitson

Students are not allowed to eat in the playground. At break time I'm the only member of staff in ‘the cage’ (or more recently named ‘the tennis court area’) The cage, is a large space, roughly the size of three basketball courts, it's mainly filled with boys from Year's 9 and 10 playing football and basketball.
In this area at break time a large number of the students proceed to eat, litter and get their phones out. When I walk over the students they quickly hide their phones, as confiscation is a risk. I ask them to at least hide their phones better if they’re planning on getting them out as it's just plain disrespectful. As I am new working at Haggerston School they don’t know me as a member of staff yet, respect has to be earned and I haven’t earned theirs yet. As the litter drops the blame game begins and unless I see them drop it I can't say whose it was so no one is keen to pick up something unwanted from the floor.  When I do ask them to pick up the rubbish they are quick to say they didn't drop it, or 'it's not my job, someone else gets paid to do that' In which I remind them, someone else is paid to collect the litter, however they may not be paid very well and you are simply creating more unnecessary work for them.
More recently I have taken to bringing our office bin with me at break time during the cage as there is no bin nearby. I've been walking up to students informing them of the whereabouts of the bin and encouraging them to bring their rubbish to me. Several of the comments I've received have been 'Miss, this isn't your job!' 'Miss, why are you doing this?'
So far this has been successful, the bin has been full by the end of every break with students even running over to me to use it, however I still have to watch some of the children. Sometimes I get students angrily throwing rubbish in the bin, so much so that it then blows out leaving me to pick it up however often a nearby student will see this and collect it for me, in an attempt to show they know it's not just my responsibility. I still catch people littering, however it's decreasing, as is the eating in the playground especially when there are more staff members around.
Next steps: Contacting the caretakers regarding a permanent bin in the cage and exploring if there's a reason why there can't be as well as exploring how to get around this.
Also looking into increasing the number of recycling bins in the playgrounds.
The first breaks bin collection.

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