Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Perhaps The Universe Is Softening

Some days, perceived crises are narrowly averted. Take yesterday, for instance.

Halfway through the work day, I looked at my newly-restored gradebook program and saw a line with nary a score. That is inexcusable. Surely I had not let a student slide for nigh on 11 assignments, putting off scoring the missing work as zero. Snow days are snow days, but nobody can be intermittently absent and so forgetful as to not hand in every single assignment. That takes premeditation. Like the kid many years ago who was so smart, earning an 'A' effortlessly first quarter, and then cruising to an 'F' in the 30% range the second quarter. I asked him what was going on. "You have hardly turned in a paper. In fact, you haven't turned in a paper. All I have for you are test scores. What's going on?"

He set me straight. "I know I'm smart. I don't need grades to show me I'm smart. I'll graduate as long as I earn my credits each semester. The way I see it, I only have to turn in work during 1st and 3rd Quarter. If I can get at least 90%, then all I really need is a 30% for the other quarter. That way my grade will average out to 60% for the semester. Sixty percent is passing. I get my credits, and I only do half the work. It's no reflection on you. I just don't like doing assignments."

I haven't had any like that for a while. I looked back at the screen. Wait a minute! I'd never heard of this kid. Huh. A new one. But no new kid had come to class that morning. I called the office. "Oh, he's homebound. He won't be in your room. You'll just have to give him a book and send work." Good to know. I'm still looking for the other new kid I got on the day I was gone to my uncle's funeral, and met the next day, and haven't seen since. So...no need to get in a tizzy over a student I would not be meeting. No seating chart adjustment. No breaking in a stranger to my rules.

After school I went to run some copies. The copier was occupied. I set a single-side on the second copier. The one we don't trust. Arch Nemesis was there. Makin' copies. "Oh, don't use THAT one! I'll be done in a minute."

"I think it's okay for single sides. It hasn't jammed up on me in a while. Because I only run single sides on it."

"Well, you're welcome to this one as soon as I'm done. Whatever you do, don't try to staple over there!"

"I learned that lesson the hard way. Twice. I don't suppose you put any paper in that copier, did you. Because I have quite a few, and I might as well load it before I start."

"Oh, I DID! I put a whole ream in Drawer 4. It's good to go. There. Mine are done. Have at it."

I was still contemplating whether to add paper. A ream is only 500 sheets, you know. I was not sure how many of her many-sided stapled packets Arch had run. I threw caution to the wind, and threw the originals for my four-sided stapled packet onto the business end of that Kyocera. I needed 80. That was 160 sheets right there. Still. I had run my single sides on the lesser Kyocera. That cut down on the total I might need for this one.

I stepped into the faculty women's bathroom. Not to pin my head under the faucet while washing my hair, but to relieve four hours of pent-up hydration. While inside, I heard the copier stop. Great. I'd only just started, and now I probably had a paper jam. I crept up on the Kyocera like an orange tabby after a field mouse. The screen did not look normal. What's this? No jam. OUT OF STAPLES! Huh. If there's one thing I know, it's not how to put staples into the Kyocera. Anyway, I didn't see any staples. Funny how I only got 16 sets of my packet before the stapler conked out. I'm shaking my fist at the sky, Universe.

I am not Pollyanna. Enough is never as good as a feast. When life gives me lemons, I squeeze out the juice and offer it to kids right after they eat a piece of marzipan. I should be happy that no jam befell me. Instead I am unhappy that I had to staple 64 sets of papers this morning.

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom shakes her fist at the conspiring universe.


knancy said...

Copiers can be very frustrating. Let me clue you in on a simple little fact. Open the main door on the front of the copier and read the third grade level and color coded instructions. They will make your day a happier place.

Sioux said...

"I wish I was back in the land of mimeograph,
That old blue stuff never gave me the shaft.
Look away.
Look away.
Look away,
from NewFangledLand."

knancy said...

Well, I see no one else has commented. They are probably afraid of getting some of the shot gun pellets that you are aiming at me! Ha, ha, ha. I apologize - I was smoking ginseng.

Kathy's Klothesline said...

I knew there was a good reason not to be a teacher!

Hillbilly Mom said...

That technique works well when I have 20 crumpled papers to remove from the paper path. But with no staples in sight, I saw no reason to look under the hood for where they may go.

And you could hold the copies under your nose and sniff the chemicals! And have purple hands the rest of the day.

They know better than to offend the copier gods. You and your ginseng might as well head off to find yourselves a Georgia boy and puncture his tire. You're probably in cahoots with the junkyard guy who demanded $150 worth of ginseng for a bald tire.

Oh, but there are more! Today, for instance...