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Thursday, February 28, 2008

No copies for old men

OK, so maybe you recognize my post title as a ripoff of an Oscar-nominated movie. I'm going to write about a topic that ticks me off a bit, so I was tempted to use the title There Will Be Blood...

You know, I'm pretty proud of myself because I can set up a computer system. I am able to operate a DVD player. I even know how to stop the constant flashing of 12:00 on a VCR.

However, I (and the rest of my fellow teachers) am unqualified to run a photocopier. At least, that is what has been decided at my school. What used to be the teachers workroom has now become the teacher's workroom. A subtle difference, I know, but a crucial one.

For the first three years that I taught, we were responsible for making our own copies. Once a week, after planning together, the third-grade math teachers would go to the workroom and copy whatever we were going to use for the next week. If, for some reason, we discovered on a Tuesday that we needed something for Wednesday (or even that very Tuesday!), we could dash into the copy room and get what we needed.

But then that power was taken out of our hands, and someone was brought in to make the copies for us. I have absolutely nothing against this person. She's a very nice lady, and we get along just fine, and there are usually very few problems with getting copies when we need them.

However, when she's out sick -- as she has been for most of this week -- we're pretty much screwed.

Not only is there no one else allowed to use that copier when she is gone, but we are not even allowed into the room. Which means that in addition to the copier, everything else in that room -- pencil sharpeners, letter punch blocks, butcher paper, the cutting block, etc. -- is inaccessible.

So tomorrow, we were going to give a test and a quiz, but we have no copies. I turned in the copy request on the test on Monday, but she went home sick before she could get to it. I can still give the quiz by writing the problems on the overhead and having the kids copy them on to looseleaf paper, but that's just not possible with the test.

I guess all I can say for now is Copy Lady, Please Get Well Soon!!!


Mrs. T said...

Are you kidding ? That's an insanely inefficient way to run a school. They have no contingency plan?
Way to treat you guys like professionals.

Anonymous said...

Ah yes, they've done that in the middle and high school in my district. Fortunately, I work districtwide, so I have access to the photocopiers in the elementary schools, otherwise I'd go nuts. Our photocopy lady is only there from 8 to 11 each day.

I believe the idea was to cut down on people making copies of things that are not school-related, and cut down on the number of times the repair person has to be called. Don't know if it's worked.

Anonymous said...

Yep, we have been there and fought that battle. When we had our "Copy Lady" she would take home a piece of the copier so that there was NO WAY anyone else could sneak in and use it if she wasn't there!

Now we have a limit of copies per month. If you run out, you have to beg other teachers for extra copies. I just can't see that happening at a large corporation.

Of course a limited number of copies is better than being given 2 reams of paper at the start of the school year and being told, "That's all you get"

Ahhh, for the days of the ditto machine, when you would make your copies and then be so high from the fumes that you didn't care about all of the politics of paper.

kath said...

Frankly, I love it, I don't have time to stand in front of a copier.

BUT you have to be anal about planning and have everything planned at least two weeks in advance to do it well.

And they should let one of the other aids cover for her.

Dawn said...

Okay, so I'm prone to conspiracy theories but I see a system that seems to be hell bent on installing everyone involved with a sense of incompetency. I'm not qualified to teach my kids and you, why that's all you're qualified for. And since the photocopier is more valuable to the school then what you do, you cannot touch it! You will learn you are a powerless cog one photocopy at a time.

Or at least that's what my fillings are transmitting to me.

Swirl Girl said...

Yes, that makes perfect sense. People with college degrees do not have the proper qualifications to run a copy machine, although, I bet "copy lady" is fully licensed, bonded, and qualified for that job, right? Don't even get me started on the laminating machine. That, my friends, requires a Ph.D.

Mister Teacher said...

well, copy lady has more hours logged than anyone else. It's like the same reason I can't fly a 747, but a pilot who has logged 2100 hours can. Wait, maybe that's not a good analogy...

"Ms. Cornelius" said...

In my first school, we had a mimeograph machine. Can you say "mimeograph?" I thought you could.

Long ago, dear children, a person could get purple ink alllllll over themselves by creating a master copy and spinning spinning spinning it on a drum to produce myriad copies of activities that were as slick as a puppy's tongue and smelled like the inside of an icepack.

We were allowed ONE ream of paper for the entire year. We also walked uphill to school-- both ways. No, seriously, desktop publishing completely changed my life as a teacher.

But in my second school, I was the only person who could remove accordioned papers from the guts of our antiquated copy machine (which came complete with an abacus to keep track of the number of copies made), and so the copy lady became my minion and I ruled the school from behind the throne. Ah, those were heady days indeed.