Teacher Work Room Tips

Your school's work room can be a source of help but also a source of frustration.  One of the benefits of working at different schools, is seeing what type of procedures the administrators set up for the work room.  I was lucky enough to work at some schools that had happy, functional work rooms.

Parents are often an untapped resource.  Back to School Night is the perfect time to ask for volunteers to help you with all of your time consuming tasks.  I've had the best luck when I had 4 volunteers.  When I ask for volunteers I explain that I am asking for someone who can commit to one day a week per month for a couple of hours plus a training session. Most parents who have time to volunteer can commit to coming in one day per month for an hour or two to help. 

I like to have one volunteer a week come in on a Thursday to do the tasks I organize for them in a tub.  I found Thursday is the best day for me because school is not in session on some Fridays.  I meet with the four volunteers before or after school for a training session. At the training session:
  •  I show them how to use the copier, laminator, and other equipment in the work room.  
  • I show them where I keep the tub of work that I organize for them.
  • I ask them to let teachers have first priority on the copier or laminator.  If they run out of time that they can volunteer and a teacher was using the copier, to leave me a note showing me what needs to be done.  I assure them that it is more important to keep faculty harmony, than for them to finish the work I have left for them to do.  I can finish the incomplete tasks on Friday.

Copier can be a hot button issue at schools.  If they are managed properly, copiers can be valuable tools.  I have been blessed to have worked at schools that had procedures in place that made the copier a tool rather than a big lump of metal that everyone cursed or cursed those who were using it without common sense.  These are the procedures that I felt helped keep faculty harmony:
  • There was an assigned "go to" person who ordered, checked, and changed the toner.  This person was also the contact person for the repairman.  She knew the copier's history which helped get it fixed quickly and correctly.  We were told who the "go to" person was at our inservice meeting the week before school.  Everyone being on the same page was key.
  • Priorities were given for who got "first dibs" on the copier during school hours.  When school was in session, the teachers who were on their prep period had first priority.  Teachers (not on prep period) had second priority.  Volunteers had third priority.  Teachers who had volunteers making copies for them were responsible for the volunteer understanding the procedures.
  • (Peak times) The 15 minutes before school and the 15 minutes after school any teacher could use the copier, but he or she was limited to making one class set. This was NOT the time to copy what you needed for the week.  This is a high stress time when teachers are coming in needing to make last minute copies.  One teacher should not dominate the copier.
  • Before or after school (non-peak times) if there is more than one copier at your school, one grade level should not be using multiple copiers to make copies/packets for the grade level.  This is a common problem during test prep season.  Administrators usually reminded us of this after winter break.

It is hard to work in the work room without supplies.  If you have a volunteer help you, put some supplies in your tub in case the work room runs out of what your volunteer needs.

Many times your PTA will ask your teacher representative what the faculty needs. Stocking the work room with supplies should be one of the first things that goes on your faculty's wish list.  Suggested supplies:
  • Large paper clips
  • Binder clips
  • Rubberbands
  • Scissors
  • Staplers
  • Staples
  • Highlighter
  • Sharpie markers
  • Paper hole punch
  • Tape

I found that forms like the ones below save time when I am prepping my materials for my volunteers.  You can also use these forms if your PTA staffs your work room with volunteers.  

Click HERE to download this freebie.

Looking for more tips?  Check out my Beginning of the Year Pinterest board.  Click on the picture below.

Fern has some tips to share with you, too.  Be sure to hop over to her blog!

Stop by Fern's blog and my blog each week for Tuesday Teacher Tips.  We hope you will share your ideas, too. Each week we will choose one person who shared a tip on our blog who will get a $10 shopping trip.  We will announce the winner in the following Tuesday's post.  The winner of this post will be announced on next week's post.

Click HERE to read the tip that Melinda shared on last week's post.

Do you have a work room tip to share?  Be sure to include your email so I can contact you if you're the winner of the $10 shopping trip.

Sources to make my blog post graphics can be found HERE. Click HERE to read my blog's disclosure statement.

Freebie Fridays


Teaching Eternity said...

It is wonderful that you have parents that can and will volunteer this way! We are fortunate in my district to have a BOCES print shop! we submit PDF files and instructions and a few days later they all come back beautifully printed as we requested!
Thanks for sharing!

Unknown said...

Hi, Michelle, Thanks for your good suggestions on using the work room. In my school we have similar (unwritten) guidelines for the photocopier.
I have 3 suggestions:
Don't leave coloured paper in the copier! It is so frustrating to have your copies show up on pink paper when you're expecting white. We have a sign on the photocopier reminding users to remove coloured paper when their job is complete. It used to be on the wall behind the copier but it wasn't nearly as effective there. Our copier has a manual feed tray which can be used and is excellent to use for coloured paper if you have a small job and don't need double sided.
My second tip is to label items like staplers, scissors, tape dispensers, hole punches, and pens that need to stay in the work room for everybody to use. If they wander off they're more likely to get returned.
Last, but not least, last year our secretary got a tool box with about a dozen small drawers for items like paperclips and felts and whiteout, etc. The cool thing about it is that it's one that can be mounted under a shelf so it doesn't take up valuable counter space.
Debbie Krueger