Feb 28, 2009

Sup Green Teach?

Followin' up on Ms. R's post cus' I feel it. (er, Emilyn... this blogspot switch is kinda funny cus we no longer got our hip, ambiguous teacher monikers... whatevs).


My school's rumored to run out of paper any day now. The first time I got word, I was in disbelief. While in the copy room, I tried for the inside scoop and heard responses along the lines of: "I wouldn't be surprised" "I've seen it happen before." Copy machines are practically a teacher's best friend! Horrible news, horrible.

To get a legit inside scoop, I approached a department head. The response was unexpected. A conversation about paper transformed into complaints about the California budget, about teachers' misuse of resources, and a slam on me. "I probably use a fifth of the amount of paper you use." Ouch.

At first I was angry. If we knew we were going to have this problem, then set a frikkin' paper budget! I got a friend at another school who's limited to 2500 per semester. Here we got no rules; and if there are no rules, I'm going to copy away. Announcing a schoolwide freeze on paper spending due to budget problems after the fact is mismanagement of resources from higher up! What gives you the right to critique me!?

And then I accepted it. You know, I do use a lot of paper. I take pride in my flexibility, in my ability to grow, to change, to adjust to new factors. So, I'm adapting. To start, rather than providing students w/ our normal opener sheet, we're using sheets of lined paper sliced in half. Why didn't I think of this before?

No more of those, no need. Lined paper, it's the saaaame thing. Nothing HUGE, but every little bit counts, right?

I once heard "In the classroom, as much as possible, allow kids to do everything." Let em pass out papers, let em grade, let teach each other, let em grab their materials. As a teacher, be there to create the space for learning... and do teach, but as much as possible, students are as capable as us. In fact, it helps their learning experience.

I used to think "Ey, as long as it helps their learning. Why not? Paper exists for learning." But, the new theme in mind "In the classroom, as much as possible, be green" is not impossible. If there's something that can be done to save resources, do it. Why not?

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