Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Time Saving Tuesday-Copies

I have seen educator fist fights in front of the copy machine.  Seriously.

During student teaching I rarely did any copying.  However my first year of teaching I seemed to spend hours in front of the machine.  I would arrive very early in the morning so I wouldn't have to wait in line.  It is the worst when you are waiting in a long line and the copier runs out of paper too..

Sometimes I would also stay late so I wouldn't have to wait in line (or have a long impatient line of people staring holes into my back behind me!)

Other times I just drove to school on the weekend, used my key and alarm code and did my copies on a Sunday morning.

Then I started comparing the amount of work I was doing on my own compared to when I was a student teacher.  I remember arriving at normal hours and leaving pretty much at the scheduled contract time!  What was different?

Then it hit me.  My mentor teacher had parent volunteers do her copying during the school day.  Whenever she sat down to plan she also had her master copies near by.  Each time she wrote a worksheet page, assignment, or whatever needed to be copied in her plan book, she would also slip the master copy into a file folder.

However....

She didn't stop there.  Before she would slip the master copy into the file folder she would write brief instructions on a post-it.  She wrote the total number copies she needed as well as any special instructions such as "back to back, stapled, cut in 1/2".

You can rely on parent volunteers (assuming your school allows them) to do your copies as long as you do two things.  1) You have to plan ahead.  I usually plan and have copies made 1 week ahead.  2) You provide specific instructions on your master copies.

Also, don't forget to provide your parent volunteer with a box of paper clips so they can sort and paper clip your class sets of copies.

I also discovered something, just like kids in your class, there are some parents that LOVE to help.  They like to feel like they are involved and also like an open opportunity to spy on you a little bit at the beginning of the year.  Be on your best behavior and be super friendly to them and you could make a friend who will still offer to help out even when their kid progresses to the next grades.

Oh!  One more thing.  How to recruit parent volunteers!

My coworkers around me always complain that I always get the "good parents" who are "willing to volunteer and help out". 

At the meet the teacher night I always send home an information packet.  It has schedules, homework policies, supply list, dress code, and a few pages to filled out such as emergency contact information as well as a survey on the child.  In this packet I also include a page to fill out if a parent wishes to be a classroom volunteer. 

The page is on my computer at school at the moment, so if there is demand for it, I will post it on here.  The page includes areas to check off if a parent is willing to donate supplies, help prepare materials (copies), work with students, available for field trips, and also what days and time frames they are available. 

Once you get all of these papers back with parents willing to volunteer you can pick and choose who you want for various tasks.

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