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Why do we need a rota for everything?

Jackie Pick

Who put the dirty plates in the dishwasher when it was full of clean crockery? Who put the banana skins, tea bags and apple cores in the compost bin while it was full of water having a soak?

"Well it isn't my job to empty the dishwasher"; "John did it yesterday"; "Rebecca did it the day before, we need a rota," I hear them cry.

Do we really need a rota for staff to empty the dishwasher?

A rota for displays in the hall, a rota for library duty, a rota for playground duty, a rota to water the staffroom plants intended to give much-needed oxygen to a room full of hot air, a rota for using the outside classroom, a rota for ... Surely teachers are well-educated, sensible adults who can see when a dishwasher hasn't been emptied. They could maybe even empty it before putting in a dirty plate even if, shock horror, it isn't their turn.

At the start of a new year, the rota frenzy starts afresh. Where is the new swimming pool rota? Who wrote the assembly rota and put me on a Tuesday when you know I am on the answer phone rota that day? And of course there's the old favourite: "How can I possibly be on the staffroom tidy rota the same month as I'm on the change-the-loo-roll rota and the dreaded remove-the-naughty-child-from-assembly rota?"

Do teachers have rotas at home I wonder? Do husbands (or wives, of course) make coffee on Saturday morning because it's their turn? Do teenage daughters spend an hour in the bathroom on a Friday night because it's their turn?

I rest my case - I have a dishwasher to empty.

Jackie Pick is acting deputy of Leesland Junior School in Gosport, Hampshire.

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Jackie Pick

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