Most students have a hard time getting back to school. Getting school supplies, turning in athletic forms, getting fees and other papers ready, and worst of all, setting the alarms, are not easy tasks. But each year, long before students arrive, teachers are back getting ready for a successful year. This year was made difficult by a particularly annoying new obstacle for teachers: a new policy on making copies.
When Tigard High School staff came back to school on Aug. 27, they were surprised to hear that copies could no longer be made in the library, like they have been for years. Teachers now must send all documents that they want copied to the print shop, located at the district office. They can upload whatever they need online. “By November, copies will be made and returned in a 48-hour period,” says Carla Smith from the Main Office.
It sounds easy, but the new system for copies is effective across the district, meaning that every teacher – from elementary to high schools – send their copies to the same print shop. Since the day teachers got back, the print shop has simply been overwhelmed.
“One order took nine days,” says Shakespeare English teacher Matt Wilson. “I had a stack of [hundreds] of copies that I couldn’t use because they came too late. Teaching is a job where you’re thinking throughout the day. […] This system discourages that freshness.” This is the situation for teachers around the district, even two weeks after the start of school. Wilson also adds that the shipping for these orders is wasteful, as “most jobs have a four page receipt, printed using one side.” They also come in a large cardboard box. It may sound insignificant, but all those boxes and extra pieces of paper can add up to be expensive.
There is an alternative, however. The copy machines in the library are still around, and teachers can use a personal PIN code given to them to make emergency copies. The downside is that for each copy a teacher makes this way, five cents is taken away from that teacher’s department. That can easily add up to hundreds of dollars, if teachers cannot wait nine days for copies as their classes aren’t planned that far ahead most of the time. It puts teachers at an incredibly unfair disadvantage – if an English teacher is forced into making one hundred copies, that money is taken away from the English department as a whole, and therefore all the English teachers. It plays teachers against each other.
With time, this problem will go away, and by November an order will definitely only take 48 hours. But for these first few weeks, teachers have been stressed (as we all heard them tell us at one point), and the Print Shop Director Jason Heinrich’s phone went to voice mail with every phone call. Rethinking this system might be a good idea, but for now, a little patience on everyone’s part will make these first-months-of-school days a bit smoother.