The Copy Machine Blues

The copy machine.  

There aren’t many pieces of equipment within a school building that can evoke such strong emotional responses from teachers.  

The high that you feel when a) it’s available and b) it works flawlessly are hard to match.  The lows that come with a line, a paper jam, or — and this might be the worst — walking into the copy room to find every access door open and not a living soul in sight?  Well, those lows are hard to match as well.

Today was a mixed bag of feelings.  I volunteered to make copies for another teacher, which made me feel good — yay!  I walked into the copy room to find a “Replace the Waste Toner Container” notification — ugh.  I walked across the school to find the other copy machine looking like it was working — yay!

I put my paper in the tray, dropped my masters in the feeder, and pressed “play,” only to experience highs and lows all at the same time.  It worked, yes, but I’d forgotten how slow that machine worked. 

Yay — Ugh — Yay — Ugh — Yay

I’ve got to be fair: I ended with a yay because it only jammed once.  That’s a win.  A slow win, but a win!

11 thoughts on “The Copy Machine Blues”

  1. I may have to share this post with my teacher friends because we have had quite the copy machine issue as of late! This post was so relatable and definitely made me laugh (in sympathy). Thanks for sharing your experience, Tim.


  2. Fundraising idea I’ve had for years but nobody’s ever used: people pay for the chance to smash the not-working, maddening copier with a hammer. You use the proceeds to buy a new copier. You’re welcome. Ruth,


  3. Hi, Tim. Your post made me chuckle. When I was a junior high student (7th and 8th grade), I walked to one of our district’s elementary schools (we had three at the time) and did errands for a second-grade teacher my mom was friends with. One of the errands was running the ditto machine! I know I’m dating myself, but that machine was also fraught with copying issues. There was a “master” and a huge cylinder with the toner or ink. I think it was a mimeograph machine. Anyway, I remember that I’d much rather correct spelling tests for her than run that machine! Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I feel this on all the levels. Who of us hasn’t leaned extra hard into the copier, giving it the mojo and encouragement it needs to get through that copy job we need in four minutes without trouble? Who of us hasn’t experienced the heartbreak of getting to said copier, only to have it jammed by the previous user who probably needed to run and pick up kids?


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