The Life of a Supervisor; What Students May Not Realize


Colette Nuyen

Two supervisors pose on their way to their daily patrol.

By Colette Nuyen

Driving into school in the morning, finding a good spot to sit during lunch, walking down the halls to use the bathroom in the middle of class: through it all, the neon orange vest of the supervisor can be seen watching over the masses of students.

For students, supervisors are a constant presence throughout school. Their presence is so ubiquitous, that for many the idea of campus supervisors is inextricable from the concept of school itself. This aspect of the high school experience isn’t just a natural part of the landscape, however; it’s only maintained through the tireless work of staff members who are often taken for granted.

“Come in, pick up your radio…go to your floors and then you’re doing your routine, your bathroom checks…picking up the calls as they come,” supervisor Gabriel Ortiz said. “That’s on a day to day basis.”

Supervisors have an extensive job description, overseeing a myriad of responsibilities, including traffic, trash, bathroom checks, patrolling campus, managing camera surveillance, and mediating between groups. Starting from the time before students arrive, to after the majority have left, supervisors fulfill their duties, while also remaining responsive to any calls coming from attendance, the health office, AP office, or counseling, regarding issues that occur throughout the school day. 

“It’s very broad…we’re a little bit of everything,” Ortiz said. “We’re like that other parent…we also have to [be] a little bit of [an] authority figure to make sure we keep a safe campus, and…like a counselor, someone [kids] can come and talk to.”

 Many of the common issues the supervisors deal with are centered around the bathrooms, such as vandalism, littering, graffiti, and vaping. The bathrooms in particular are a trouble spot, as they lack supervision in comparison to areas like classrooms. The supervisors compensate for this through systems like bathroom passes, camera surveillance, and patrols.

 “There’s a supervisor on every level, on the second and third floor,” Ortiz said. “They’re doing check-ins inside those restrooms periodically, like every 5-10 minutes or so.”

 However, this level of supervision doesn’t come without its costs. There are only 16 supervisors overall, only three of which are full-time employees. The part timers rotate, with six working at school in the morning, and six working in the afternoon.

As Ortiz said, “It’s a challenge because…we’re talking about 3,500 kids, one of the biggest high schools in San Diego County…I think [there’s] not enough manpower to address all the issues that are going on in the school.”

One thing which makes supervisors’ jobs easier is building a network of connection between students, teachers, and staff. Creating relationships and rapport helps the supervisors stay informed and creates a sense of respect and trust around school. And of course, as students ourselves, we can each do our part to keep our campus safe.

“Come in, get an education, and then just be the best person you can be. And [don’t] create a lot of issues with your peers,” Ortiz said.