While I’m careening toward a deadline and grading papers and writing lesson plans and sponsoring clubs, I’m sharing a post I’d written when I first started blogging. Here’s the sad news. . .the original post was written in 2006. Nothing’s changed.
Shame on you if you clicked on this blog expecting to find something salacious!
DISCLAIMER: The experiences of which I speak are personal to me and are not necessarily representative of all teachers and/or schools and/or school boards and/or students and/or their parents.
1. A universal revelation is embedded in the following fill-in-the-blank: “It would make so much more sense if we____________.” I realize that whatever I use to complete the statement probably won’t happen because, generally, if it makes sense, it doesn’t happen. And so, I solved the dilemma with the dilemma itself.
2. COPIERS (the machines, not the students): Teachers, at least in high school, are usually granted one period per day called our “plan period.” Generally, we’re planning how to call parents and/ or return their calls, grade papers, record grades, return parents’ emails, possibly attend a parent conference, make copies, and-we pray-go to the restroom in the fifty-five or fewer minutes we’ve been granted. Oh, I forgot, and we plan lessons during that time.
Take the average number of people on the faculty, divide that by the average number of people on the faculty less twenty, and that’s how many copying machines are actually functioning on any given day. At one school I taught in, we were on a first name basis with the repair person. In fact, in that same school it was not unusual to wait in a line of eight or more teachers to make copies. School started before 7:30. Many of us would arrive an hour early just to beat one another to the front of the line. And on exam days, beat one another took on a whole new meaning.
It was also in this school that we were limited as to the number of copies we could make. Run out of copies before you run out of month? Two options–buy them (yes, with our own $$$) or work a deal with one of the coaches, who, for some odd reason, never used their allotment.
It’s a glorious day in teacher land when you open the door to the faculty lounge and there’s a vacant copier, and it doesn’t have a sign telling you that it needs toner or is blinking some alien code.
3. SUPPLY MONEY: Oops, I’m sorry, could you repeat that? Oh, yes. Money to buy supplies. One time in my entire teacher life I was bowled over by what I was granted to purchase supplies. I’d arrived after Hurricane Katrina and received a generous sum to get my classroom together. Of course, the next day I had to evacuate for Hurricane Rita, but that’s another blog. In 2006, our supply money for the year was $75.00. In the past few years, it has increased to $100.00.
Now, I’d like you to imagine walking to your desk at a company at which you’ve just been hired, opening the drawers and finding—nothing.
No things. Nothing.
Teachers are not shocked by this. We purchase our own everything–pens, pencils, paper clips, rubber bands (my daughter used to call them bubber rands), staplers, staples. Posters hanging on walls, calendars, clock, dry erase markers for the boards, erasers for the dry erase boards, manila folders, cleaning supplies, Kleenex, paper towels. Now I know some teachers in some schools place some of these items on their supply list for students to schlep in the first weeks of school. I usually don’t. The room does come with a file cabinet, a trash can, and sometimes a bookcase.
It’s always fun to watch a first year teacher ask, “Where can I get a_______?” And then we direct him/her to Wal-Mart or an office supply store.
In the early years, I would take pity on students who did not have a pen or pencil or paper and provide missing supplies. But when I started having to purchase school supplies for my own five children, that ended as fast as Kim K.’s marriage. Now, and because I teach primarily juniors who are chronologically 16 and 17-year-olds, he without a pen better hope for a friend with one.
Here’s my take on that: Did this same kid forget his/her cell phone or his/her pants? No. So, I instruct said kid to attach a pen to the cell phone or pants pocket and have the pen in school. It’s not only problem ownership, it’s just simply responsibility.
Try getting to the airport without a ticket and borrowing one from the pilot or your friend. Let me know how that works for you.