Thursday, January 12, 2012

Copiers -- Possibly the new bane of my existence

As I am getting to know the staff at my new building, it is fortunate that there are some people that I know. One of these people is very friendly. As I was in her office, I noticed a stack of final exams and textbook samples. Jokingly, I said to her that with my new position, I do not have to worry about those things anymore and my life got much simpler with my new job. As I was having a good laugh near her expense, she said “Bob, I have 1 word for you…copiers”. And that is when something hit the fan.
For anyone who has ever worked in a school, you know that the one thing that breaks the most is the photocopier. Machines purchased for the school are typically smaller than what is needed and cannot process the volume or sheer abuse that faculty can dish out. People will try to copy pictures that are mostly dark and wonder why the fuser will overheat from too much toner trying to be processed. Staples jam in the machine. Colored paper is in the wrong drawer and a sheet of green or pink will randomly be inserted into your test. Staff members will begin a copy job and when the machine jams, leave it for the next person. The list goes on and on…and right on to my desk.
We have two machines in the copy room (and a few others, but those are not for general consumption). One machine in the copy room is for anyone to use; the other is strictly for our copy person. We are fortunate to have part-time person in the copy room. Her job is to process copy jobs for the teaching staff. This is meant to increase efficient use of time by the teachers so they do not have to wait for copies. All a teacher has to do is drop off the master and then pick up the final product the next day. The part-time person also has access to her own machine so this will hopefully reduce the havoc wreaked on the machines. She has had training and can handle most minor hiccups that others would leave for “someone else” to fix.
This system is a well oiled machine that has been in place for a number of years…long before I arrived. At the start of the semester the principal received a few emails about “problems” in the copy room and asked me to look into it. I found the copy room, met the copy lady, asked some questions and found that the problem was with our network printers and that issue had been resolved (I can talk about that one at a later date). After I met who I needed to meet and saw what I needed to saw, I sent out a carefully crafted email thanking everyone for my warm welcome and explain how copies should continue to run.
Then the emails came to me, directly. I guess I was asking for it by describing policies and procedures. Teachers asked if the 2nd machine would have the lock removed to they could use it all day. Teachers grumbled that they like to make their copies their way and need to make sure it is done correctly. Teachers just wanted to moan that machines are ALWAYS broken. I listened and carefully responded. Then watched the replies to my reply come in and respond carefully again. Some people stopped by the office…not to say hi or welcome, but to discuss the copiers.
One question…can I go back to exams and textbooks?

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