Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Somehow, It Doesn't Feel Like A Choice...

Last May, my printer started defiantly flashing those two dreaded words: "Low Toner". Rather listen to the desperate pleas of my printer, I kept printing away. Because I could.

Well, friends, I have pushed the envelope too far, and I am officially not low on toner, I'm OUT of toner. Two weeks ago, sensing the end of an era (I have had this toner cartridge for at least three years...sigh, the good old days...), I sent a preemptive email to our tech guy.

No answer.

A few days later, I tried again.

Still no answer.

Last week, I sent out another cry for help.

Nothing.

I started to consider sitting on the side of the road with a cardboard sign "Will Work For Toner". But then I thought to myself, "Self, don't be silly. When the time REALLY comes for toner, there will be toner. If you need it, it will come."

Well, I need it. And nothing has come. Not even a response to my five subsequent (and increasingly desperate) emails.
Not willing to take no for an answer, I went to our tech guy and made my case in person. I mean, how obvious is it that I need a computer? Ka-jillions of grant dollars have been spent putting in fancy pants computers in all of our classrooms. Important people in overly tailored suits have been paraded around to view our babies actually using the technology so generously given to us. Little do they know, it is all a big facade. BECAUSE WE DON'T HAVE ANY FREAKING TONER!!

(Wait, I already told you guys that we didn't get any paper this year either, right? It just occurred to me right now that perhaps these two problems go hand in hand. No paper...why give us toner?)

Me: Hey, did you get my emails about toner?
Him: Yea, about that...
Me: Can I have some?
Him: I talked to The Visionary about it, he said you should buy your own.
Me: Um, what? But MY OWN toner for a SCHOOL computer?
Him: Sorry. Yea.
Me: Wait. Let me get this straight. Didn't I see you wheeling, like, thirty boxes filled with toner cartridges down the hall a few weeks ago?
Him: I'm supposed to save those for the office.
Me: So, that's just it? Buy it myself?
Him: (uncomfortable smiling)

So that's that. No paper, no toner, no answers.

No freaking way.

41 comments:

The Science Goddess said...

Guess it's time to start routing all your print jobs to the office printer.

Actually, it's time for some of the leadership in your building to pull their heads out of orifices-that-shalt-rename-nameless and provide you with basic supplies.

Mimi said...

Amen to that sister! I mean, COME ON! We have SO MUCH...enough so that we feel like jerks if we complain, but nothing that says "basics" at all.

ChiTown Girl said...

I'm with Science Goddess. Start printing all your stuff in the office. I mean seriously, WTF?!?!

Not Quite Grown Up... said...

That is just ridiculous.

Mandy said...

We were told up front we we were given our school printers that the first ink was free, after that, it was on us. Of course, the district didn't buy cheap printers so when it is time to buy new printer ink it is $55 out of my pocket. I feel your pain. We still have paper at our school but you have to sneak around to get it.

Monkey said...

Time to come in on a Saturday and raid the hell out of that office.
Doing this has kept me in dry erase markers and pens for years

ColinG said...

Now, come on. You need to take that toner out and give it a good shake! At least another few weeks of printing after that!

Beth said...

Wow! That is awful. Can you do a fundraiser for toner?

Mary Louise Brooks said...

Monkey, I agree. The teachers are not allowed to use the copier in the office. The same one that all computers are hooked up to. We were allowed two reams of paper per month but that ran out in January! I hoard all of my printing and do it before anyone comes in. Our principal and secretary come in around 9 and leave around 3. Most people follow their leads because, hell, why not? Our tech person told me the same thing with buying cartridges. You know what I did? At the end of the year I put a sticker on the printer and got it hauled away! Don't need it, I use the office copier/printer after school because I can! Take that!

Chebrutta said...

Hmm. I'm totally evil, so I would do one of two things: link your computer to a networked office printer (someone besides the techie can do it. Passwords and all that) or whenever you need to print something for the kidlets, send a note home instead that says you can't give a progress report because the school refuses to provide you with toner.

Or you can go see your book keeper. They can wield an amazing amount of power. Always be friends with the book keeper.

Mr. Byrne said...

That stinks. The silver lining is that you can probably write-off the cost of toner on your income taxes.

In my school we have a similar although slightly different problem. We only have eight printer/copiers in our entire school 1200+ students. Toner supply isn't our problem, waiting in line for your document to print is. And heaven help you if someone in front of you is copying 200 pages (which is much more often than you'd expect).

Rebecca Bell, Ph.D. said...

That is ridiculous. UG.

Nicki Mann said...

I can believe that! When I worked in a school I used to print out "social stories" all the time for the little kids I worked with, and we were ALWAYS out of paper and ink!Then when you do finally get it, you feel guilty every time you use it, because you know you're just gonna run out again! Ugh.

Rachel said...

I hate that for you! Thankfully we don't have limits (as yet) put on our copy numbers or printing...however, like Mandy we are responsible for printer ink for the printers in our own rooms. And like Mandy, we have super expensive printer cartridges; mine are $45, but I've spoken with another teacher whose cartridges are $70.

I have never replaced the ink in mine and just keep telling kids "this is broken, print it out in the library" (where they have to pay 10cents a page). Part of me feels evil but by golly I spend enough on these little punks.

But the difference is, our admin told us that. Would be nice if someone could have warned you about that. *roll eyes*

Magistra Kribs said...

This situation is absurd! If you make a request for toner at DonorsChoose.org, I am certain it will be filled. Good luck!

Shayna said...

First of all, THREE YEARS out of your existing toner! They should give you some kind of award for that! You don't happen to use Lexmark toner, cause I have a spare for an E322.

Eliza said...

The solution is an easy one.

You take your empty toner cartridge to one of the office printers. You swap it out with one of their half-empty (half-full) ones. You put that one in your printer, and, voila, you now have toner for at least another year. You don't even have to feel guilty about it, since apparently the now-empty one in the office CAN be replaced!

Um, not that I've ever done this at all.

Jason said...

Your problem sounds typical. with all the problems in education and mistreatment of teachers, I wonder why I want to be a teacher when I grow up. A average people are meant to be teachers, I believe.
I really agree with Eliza's idea. Go read my blog.

My suggestion is to do Eliza'sidea or Mr.Byrne's idea. On some show, it talked about teachers using classroom expenses as a tax writeoff.

One final question:Is it true that a lot of teachers spend 40%of their income on school stuff?

Mimi said...

Magistra - I totally heart Donor's Choose - that is a fab idea. They have gotten me many an art supply in the past.

Shayna - you might be the sweetest ever! Thanks for the offer. I am blissfully on vacation, but will check my printer model when we get back. It is a Lexmark something or other...even your thought of sharing makes me smile though.

Magistra - brilliant. Just brilliant. I've already "stolen" paper from the basement, so why not toner?

Jason - Teachers spend a ton of their own money. My first few years, it really did break the bank. But now, I am pickier, smarter and have more stuff, so it's not so bad. Mostly I want to spend the money (I am obsessed with children's books.), but when it's for stuff that I think is clearly the school's responsibility, it bugs. Don't give up on being a teacher - it really rocks minus all the admin bs!

Jason said...

Your name makes me think of Mimi from "The Drew Carey Show". Are y'all anything alike?

What did you get your masters in?

About the administrative bs, the teachers like to talk about it in the classes Im in.(Jr high teachers talk about it a lot.Esp the 8th grade ones)People also like to gripe about the LEAP.

Ms M. said...

This same thing happened to me...and I chose to do something rather unprofessional, yet effective. I stayed really late one day, snuck into the office, took a good toner from one of the office printers, and replaced it with my empty one. Voila, I have toner, and they just got a new one from the tech guy.

Ms M. said...

Ok, I commented before I read others, and I realize Eliza and I have exactly the same advice...fantastic!

Charlene said...

I steal. I steal. I steal. I also hoard. At home. So nobody knows. I take everything, pens, pencils, paper, extra copies of books, toner, binders and file folders. Anything I can easliy sneak out to the car comes home and hides in my closet until I need it. I don't feel bad at all. You know why? I still spend between 50-100 bucks a month on things I NEED for my kids. I have a motto now. I only buy what dierectly benifits my kids. Markers for example, they love Them. Printer paper for reports, not so much on the loving them scale. Construction paper. Yep. Toilette paper. Not really a love thing. Anyway, that's how I feel.

Ms. W said...

I just found your blog and I <3 it! I'm a first year teacher and while I love it, it is so frustrating at times. P.S. I too got alcohol as a gift from a parent.

Tom.... said...

I checked out your profile and anyone who knows who Jonathan Kozol is much less reads his stuff can't be all bad. You write very well, and your depictions of life in a school are appropriately honest and sarcastic in the same breath. The real world can be seen in your postings.
I am now compelled to put you on my growing list of "teachers who get it, and STILL show up everyday for the noble battle".
I have written a novel about the amazing adventures of a veteran middle school teacher. The first chapter can be found at www.tomsboomertimes, blogspot.com. I invite you and all your MANY readers to check it out. Take care, and keep your head up.
Tom

Gina said...

Just found your blog - it's good to know we aren't alone!
My favorite Tech story from our building - our school got grants so every room has computers, plus we have three big computer labs stuffed with computers. And then the district decided to STOP having a computer class that would teach kids how to use these computers. Budget cuts, etc. So now we have hundreds of computers and hundreds of students who don't really know how to use them. Fun times.

Reni said...

Seriously Mimi, do you work at my school? No, you're a middle school teacher, but I swear you can be lifted out, insert me, and the plot can continue without even a speed bump! So if these incidents are happening to every teacher, in Every School USA, you would think that "the powers that be" would find solutions? What a novice idea! But I guess they just have too much on their plate than worrying about, oh I don't know, educating children!!! Please keep the stories coming, I can't wait to read what happens to us next week.

Mimi said...

So I guess what I'm hearing is steal, steal, steal! I'll be going in early on Monday morning and hitting up the office supply closet!

Thanks for all the kind words and to all the new readers out there. I love/am horrified that we all have the same stories!

Back to the grind on Monday....thank goodness for vacatioins!!

musicteacher said...

We had an entire year of paper rationing. Each month, our allotted amount would turn up in our boxes. This year, we have to use our budgets, but of course there isn't one for music. Not that it's a big deal, because my printer disappeared after the first day of school and hasn't been back since.

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