This is for you, Susan. It’s a rerun in more ways than one. Seems like the newsletter is always a debaucle. At any rate, sit back and enjoy the show from last February:
February, 2009 - I put in another long day yesterday. Finished the school newsletter and will, hopefully, get it out today. I’m not really responsible for getting it copied and distributed. The graphics department has to do that. My part is DONE! The principal was really happy about it. That makes three newsletters down for the year and three to go! I don’t know why it’s so hard to get anything done at school. I’ve decided I’m going to keep track of what I do today and try to figure out where the time goes and what I can do to make it more manageable.
4:30 - OMG! I’m so exhausted! All I want to do is crawl up on the couch and die. I tried to keep track of what I did today. Here’s what I got:
7:30 - 7:45: Checked my mailbox, set up an account on a laptop for the attendance clerk because her PC went down - met with the principal to discuss printing out the newsletter, set up another account on a laptop for one of the counselors whose PC went out.
7:45 - 8:00 - Met with the department head of the graphics program and tried to break it to him (in a nice way) that the principal was NOT going to wait until next Wednesday for the newsletters to get printed and wanted them done on a copier so they could be distributed last period today (1,600 of them). Dismantled and put away laptop, speakers, and projector used for a training yesterday evening.
8:00 to 11:00 - Checked my email - 23 new messages since yesterday afternoon - answered the ones that were red flagged and put my own red flags on the ones I needed to deal with today. Set up a cart of 30 laptops for a teacher and delivered them to her room. Taught my computer class (my kids were sooo good today, bless their little hearts!), met with graphics department head again (guess I didn’t handle the first meeting well because he came to my room and was really angry and defensive about copying the newsletters and pretty much said he had other priorities today). It occurred to me that I don’t get paid enough to deal with this kind of stuff so I told him I was just the messenger and he’d have to take it up with the principal. Went to a classroom and fixed a printer. The principal summoned me to her office again because she’s NOT happy with the head of graphics and wants those damn newsletters to go out TODAY. Asked if I’d show one of her secretaries how to run the newsletters through the copier and get some kids to fold them in half.
Set up the copier with 11 x 17 parchment paper and showed the secretary how to place the front and back pages and run copies. Showed her how to reverse the paper, place the two inside pages and run the parchment through again. Told her we distribute them in stacks of 25 since that’s a pretty good average for most classrooms. Told her to keep count by using tick marks for each set of 25. She looked at me like she didn’t know what I was talking about.
“You know…like this…make a mark for 25, another mark for the next 25, and, when you’ve made four marks, make a slash through it for a set of 125.”
She gave me this totally puzzled look and said, “You mean each one of these marks are 125 papers?”
How can you not know how to do tick marks? “No, each mark is 25 papers and each set of marks is 125.”
“I don’t understand that at all! Why can’t I just write down 25, 50, 75, 100, 125, 150 and just keep going?”
“Ummm…that’s fine. If that’s easier for you, that’s fine. Whatever you need to do to keep track of how many you have.”
I watched her until she got the hang of it and then went to find some kids who were teacher aides or office aides to fold the newsletters. Got the kids and showed them how to fold the newsletters and got them started. Went to a classroom and showed a teacher and her students how to set up accounts on a really great history site. Came back to the library to find the kids looking for me because the secretary had done 400 copies with the inside pages upside down. WTF??? 400 pages??? On expensive 11 x 17 parchment paper! How can you not notice something like that for 400 pages??? And the kids were afraid to say anything.
Okay - I’m sure she feels bad enough. I go in there and make sure she understands how to do them and wait while she makes another 100 copies to make sure. She’s lost track of how many copies she’s made and I tell her not to worry about keeping track of that. The kids can count them out into stacks of 25. We’re in third period now and I need to find new aides to help with the folding. I find a couple of kids and head back to the library to discover that the secretary accidently hit the 75% button and ran off 100 copies that have to be trashed. Got her straightened out AGAIN and showed the kids what to do. Went to teach a class and came back to find, (I swear to God!) that the secretary put the pages down on the wrong guide and there are 350 new pages with a 3 inch margin at the top and the print running off the page on the bottom.
I can’t stand it. I really can’t stand it! Did she not notice this on the first 100 copies? Surely to God she saw it on the next batch of a hundred! What was she doing? Reading a Harlequin romance as the pages floated one after another into the tray? I decided that I’d better go to the principal and tell her I’m doing the copies myself and break the news that the entire morning has been wasted and we have 850 newsletters that are total trash and about 400 that are good. I told her I would have the newsletters ready for last period. That gave me 2 1/2 hours to get it done.
At this point, I gave up on trying to write down what I do all day. Damn near killed my ass getting 1,600 newsletters printed, folded, and distributed but I got them done and didn’t hardly have enough energy left to drag my butt out to the car and drive home. Had a carton of lite yogurt today and I’m really too tired to even be hungry.
Don’t have any wine in the house but a couple of dusty bottles of Maui Splash from a couple of years ago. They’re going in the freezer while I throw together a pot of loaded potato soup and then the wine and I are going to the spa.
Update - Our graphics department is done at the end of this year. They’re being replaced. We have a new magnet program coming in with a focus on medical technology. The secretary is still at the school and is the one who didn’t order paper for this batch of newsletters. They’re always trying to find something that she can do.