The absolute worst thing about my job, by far, is battling the copy machine. It is my arch-nemesis. I will someday evolve teacher super powers to defeat it. For now, I am left to do the job of a mere mortal.
This morning was no exception. I had all my copies ready for the entire week, except for the homework packet. Because we had 2 short weeks in a row (starting school on a Wednesday last week really threw me off), I just wasn’t organized enough to get that homework done ahead of time. No big deal, I thought to myself. It’s only one packet. Everything else is already ready. I can handle this. I went into the copy room this morning an hour and 15 minutes before school was to start, and was greeted by Jess. She had already started the packets in the machine, so I went to drop my stuff off in my room and grab stuff to laminate. By the time I got back, Jess was on the second set of copies, and left me to wait for the finished copies.
I soon realized there was an imbalance in the universe. The machine seemed to be making an awful lot of copies for the packet we were creating. And, from what I could tell, the order of copies wasn’t quite making sense. Since I was multi-tasking with my other arch-nemesis, the laminator, I didn’t realize the scope of the problem. That is, until another teacher alerted me to the fact that the machine had run out of paper mid-copy. What? I thought. Jess should have left more than enough for this! Back to my room I went, since I didn’t bother to bring any extra paper with me. Silly me. I plopped more paper in the machine and went back to cutting the laminated items. A few minutes later, I was finally able to pull a ginormous pile of papers out of the machine. I flipped through them and realized the severity of the problem. Papers were all out of order, copied on the backs of papers they shouldn’t have been, and some packets were correct and some were not. It was a nightmare, and since Jess wasn’t in the copy room any more, I couldn’t ask her what had caused this madness. I shrugged it off and headed back to my room.
Back in my room (at this point, T minus 45 minutes), I put away the stuff I laminated and realized I left the giant pile of copies in the copy room. I opened up my door to go grab them, and was totally surprised to see G, a student of mine from last year, standing in front of the door absolutely bawling.
Me: Oh, sweetheart, what’s wrong??
G: I’m (sob) a-a-afraid that my dad’s (sob) not gonna pick me up today!
Me (in my head): Your dad picked you up every single day last year without a problem! What’s going on now?
Me (out loud): Well, did you ask him about it this morning?
G (shakes her head mid-sob): My mom dropped me off today!
Me: Well, let’s just go inside and give him a call and make sure he’s coming. (Ushers child into classroom.) Here, just dial the number.
G: (Sob) He changed it! (Sob) I don’t know it!
Me (in my head): Oh, Lord.
Me (out loud): Well, we’ll just go to the office then!
We went to the office, where the secretary was nice enough to call every single phone number listed until she got someone on the phone, who then gave her the new phone number for G’s dad. The secretary got G’s dad on the phone, and then G proceeded to talk to him for another 10 minutes through her tears in Spanish. Meanwhile, I was watching the minutes that I would be able to again battle my arch-nemesis slowly ticking away. By the time the drama was over (G’s dad, by the way, was planning on picking her up the whole time), there was not nearly enough time for me to figure out the copy situation and get the last things ready for the day. I decided the next battle would have to wait until morning recess.
By the time recess rolled around, I couldn’t wait to get my hands dirty in round two of this battle. Unfortunately, though, when I got to the copy room, a kindergarten teacher was using both machines. She said she’d be done in about 10 minutes, which would again leave insufficient time to finish the battle. Foiled again…
Lunch. Surely, at lunch I would be able to put this away once and for all. At first, everything seemed fine. The copies were collating and stapling properly. But then, a flicker of the lights should have warned me that my arch-nemesis had more in store for me. Suddenly, out of nowhere, BBBBBEEEEEEEOOOOOOOOOOPPPPPPPP! The power went out!
I banged my head against the wall. I stood in total darkness for a couple of minutes, hoping that if I just waited long enough this would all turn out to be a nightmare. Luckily, the lights came back on. I counted how many copies I had, and realized I only needed two more. The copier, realizing it had been defeated, finally relented and gave me what I wanted.
Or so I thought! At the end of the day, I was somehow one packet short. I considered giving away my master copy, but I had kids absent today and I wouldn’t be able to make new ones for them. So, the kid without a packet waited outside after school while I made one more packet for her. For good measure, I made 10 extra copies, just in case tomorrow the copier calls in a favor with mother nature and there is an earthquake or something. At least I will have enough homework packets!