Two tales of woe
PART ONE: the student’s tale of woe
During my lunch period I am playing football in the Cacciatore gym with a few of my friends. A faculty member comes up to me and asks me to go and clean up the lunch table where my friends and I had eaten.
Out of respect, I go and clean off the left over food on the table that my classmates have left. The only thing I don’tt do is wipe off the table with the cleaner provided by the school. I suppose did not want to do all of the cleaning for everyone else.
I finish cleaning and go back to play football. Before long, the same faculty member approaches me and asks me again to go clean the table.
I say, “I wiped off all of the scraps that were left by my peers. It’s not just my responsibility to clean the table – I sit with four other students.”
The faculty member isn’t hearing it.
“You did not clean off the table. It’s still dirty and not wiped completely.”
I’m upset. That comes across in my tone.
“I sit with four other students. I did my part. I’m not going to clean up after people. That’s not my responsibility.”
I’m asking myself “Why me? Why must I be the one to clean the table? Why am I the one who was pointed out in a gym full of people?”
As I leave the lunch room I’m still thinking to myself “Why me?”
PART TWO: the teacher’s tale of woe
I’m sitting at the lunch table in the Cacciatore gym with a few faculty members.
As the lunch period draws to a close, I look around and notice that some of the student tables are still dirty, and the maintenance crew is preparing to set up for the volleyball game later this afternoon.
So I get up from my seat and go to the other side of the gym divider where I see many of the seniors playing football and basketball. I see one senior in particular who I knew sat at the dirtiest table.
I approach him and ask him to go and clean off the table, or I would write him up. He goes and does what I ask, but as I watch, he only cleans up the scraps that were left behind. He doesn’t wipe off the table. When he see him go back yo playing ball back in the gym I approach him again.
“I asked you to clean your table. You didn’t listen to me. If you don’t go and clean the table, you will be one of the first people I write up.”
He responds in a rather arrogant voice.
“I sit with four other seniors. I did my part. I’m not going to clean up after people. That’s not my responsibility.”
I stuttered as the student walked out of the gym with his friend.
As I watch him walk away I wonder “What did I do wrong? Why is he being so disrespectful? Why did he get so angry at me?”
As I return to my office, I ask myself again, “Why me?”
Andrew Robustelli is from Chicago Heights, Illinois, just south of the city. He attended St Agnes Catholic School from pre-school through eighth grade,...