office equipment

Losers Bizhub, Winners Collate.

Though it is more than 25 years old and as a whole a pretty uneven movie, when I think about my job being accurately portrayed (or at least lampooned) in film, I think of the 1984 Nick Nolte film Teachers. One scene, in particular, has always worked and will always work. Mr. Stiles, nicknamed “Ditto” because of the amount of worksheets he produces, is in the main office using an old-fashioned mimeograph when another teacher approaches him and yells, “You’re always hogging that machine!” She then proceeds to squirt ink on his face and smack him around before being physically hauled away.

Now, I’ve never attacked another faculty member with ink, but I definitely can say that there are moments when I have become violently angry at a copier, using several four-letter words that are wholly inappropriate for a classroom but okay for the teacher’s lounge whenever the Risograph craps out in the middle of making 120 copies of my four-page, double-sided worksheet. Most office environments no longer have archaic copying systems like mine and are able to invest in something like a Bizhub; however, your average public school is not most offices. Since we cannot afford the Cadillac of copiers, we duplicate, we collate, we stack, we sort, and we manually staple everything we produce.

I am sure there is no formal statistic for the amount of time teachers spend putting papers together, but ask any teacher and he will tell you that at least a couple of times each marking period, his planning period is spent with the pages of a worksheet packet spread out among the rows of desks in his classroom in the correct order so he can move from page to page and stack then, then staple the stack together and move on to the next. I’ve done this dance myself, both in my classroom and at home and usually it takes me as long as two or three hours to put everything together.