I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with our school photocopier. It’s one of those older photocopiers, which consistently jams. Every time you press print, you cross your fingers and hope that a paper will appear. Don’t even think about doing double-sided copies … that causes a whole other realm of problems. Sometimes the photocopier makes that high-pitched squeaking sound, in which you quietly coax it to do its job, even though you know that a jam is imminent. The funny thing is that I’m not a fan of photocopiers anyway. I haven’t been for many, many years. I used to always say that a surefire way to change teacher practice was to get rid of the photocopier. Paper continues to scare me, and I still question the use of black line masters, but I do like to print our day book page every morning .. and I do so on the photocopier. Doing so, almost always results in a jam.
Every morning, I print our daybook to the photocopier. Every morning, I’m greeted with this sign. I feel like I should be learning something from this … and it’s not that I’m really good at unjamming the photocopier. 😂 #iteachk #teachersofinstagram https://t.co/rEFEOBAcCS pic.twitter.com/y9PuMglgIO
— Aviva Dunsiger (@avivaloca) January 25, 2018
— Aviva Dunsiger (@avivaloca) March 26, 2018
If I print the day book page and don’t head down to the staff room immediately to collect it, one of the other early arrivers, comes down within minutes to our classroom. “Did you print your day book again, Aviva?” Why yes! How did he know?! And off I head to the staff room to find that offending piece of paper, or maybe multiple pieces of paper, which caused the jam.
Over my two years at Rousseau, I’ve become incredibly adept at fixing these jamming issues. This has almost become an enjoyable, self-regulating part of my morning routine: set-up the classroom, turn on the computer, pull up any websites or instructional videos that we need for the day, and find the offending piece of paper(s) that’s making the photocopier angry. 🙂 Consistency. Predictability. And a feeling of success.
That’s the thing about teaching. On some days, you feel as though you’ve really made a difference, and on other days, your head is just full of questions.
- What could I have done better?
- How might I have reached that child that I didn’t reach?
- What do we need to change for tomorrow?
- Will these changes make a difference?
- Did my response trigger a bigger reaction from the child(ren)?
- What might have been a better response?
But each time that I get that photocopier to work — each time that I find the jam, that I extract the paper, that I hear the happy hum again — I know that I’ve done something right. Seeing as though the only time that I tend to use this photocopier is before 8:00 every morning, there’s nothing better than starting the day on this positive note: believing that what you’ve done, mattered.
This is why I’m having such mixed feelings this week, when I saw our brand new photocopier on Thursday morning. We now have the Mercedes Benz of photocopiers. From a tech perspective, this thing is amazing.
- It prints quickly.
- It’s quiet.
- It’s highly predictable.
- It staples, it hole punches, it double sides, and it does so with ease.
- You can even print from a USB port.
- If it would print our documentation in colour, I might actually hug this photocopier. 🙂
And yet, while this machine excites me, it also makes me feel sad. I wasn’t prepared for the change. All of a sudden, on Thursday morning, I had almost half-an-hour of extra time, where I couldn’t go back in our classroom yet because Before Care was there, but everything else was organized and ready to go. What was I supposed to do? While I joked on my Instagram post that I could enjoy my coffee, I was actually having a very hard time sitting still. My routine was disrupted, and I never got that successful feeling of finding the jam. I think that I missed that old, unreliable photocopier more than I anticipated.
Strangely enough, this photocopier experience of the week, made me think about a quote that my previous principal, Gerry Smith, always included on his emails: “change is the only constant.” As somebody that has taught at seven different school and taught seven different grades (in some capacity), this is a quote that I believe in. But as I was reminded on Thursday, change is not always easy — even in the photocopier world — and when routines are interrupted, we all begin to feel the stress. So how do you cope? I really want to enjoy this Mercedes Benz of photocopiers, but I’m still missing that on-the-verge-of-death photocopier that brought me a little joy every morning. Maybe I need to find a new way to start my day feeling that bit of success that came with my “paper jam morning routine.” What would you do? If parking can inspire multiple, educational blog posts, then photocopying can surely inspire one. 🙂