Monday, December 19, 2011

Murphy's Law and Sassy Copiers

Hello Readers,

The 7:30 final exam was rough today. And I wasn't even the one taking the exam! The morning started out well. My pre-game plan was a success! I woke up on schedule, quickly slipped into my pre-planned outfit (I modified it with a blazer and pumps because the weather was warmer than expected), slapped on a bit of makeup, grabbed master final exam copies, and left on time for the early and long day that awaited me.

I wrote my final exams (for Monday exams) last Tuesday night. I skipped Bible study because I was so determined to get these things out of my way. I especially wanted my 7:30 AM exam to run smoothly. My plan was to arrive on campus between 7:00-7:05 (check! Mission accomplished!), photocopy the exams between 7:05-7:10, and stroll into my classroom with a calm smile on my face. A smile that would strike fear into the hearts of my students who did not study (the ones who fell asleep and/or texted during class) and a sense of cool collection into the hearts of my students who journeyed with me through the trials and tribulations of the grammar, culture, vocabulary, and fotonovela episodes that are Espanol II. Ah, yes. The first part of my plan played out perfectly, but my plan did not go as I hoped it would.

Here's what really happened after my arrival: the copy machine (copier?) ate my exam. After extracting the faintly bruised pages from the printer's greedy jaws (per the instructions on the pantalla/screen) an error message blocked my play to the perfect exam day. No matter what I did, it would not let me print the exams. That is, until a brave mentor and all-star (Kathie- that's you!) graced the copier with her magic touch and restarted my printing efforts.

My morning. I was wearing a different outfit, but I think it would have been better had I worn a sheath dress, belt, and tights. Copyright? CopyWRONG.

All hope was not lost- until I found that the copier alternated it's copying patterns- pages 1-7 (of 8!) and then pages 1-4 (of 8!). Then the copier ran out of paper- and not a spare sheet could be found! Thankfully, the music department let me use their copier, but it seemed to be a bit anaemic in the ink-department. But, I made it work.

When I finally made it into my classroom (2 minutes late on the classroom clock and on time on my cell phone and laptop- but don't worry- most students were done with the written portion of their exams around 8:30). I was a mess. A flustered-to-the-brink-of-tears mess. I wanted to cry. I nearly did. But- I went forward. I survived the 7:30-9:20 final block of my Spanish II class with the following nuggets of wisdom:

1) Murphy's Law applies to early morning finals. In this case, an early morning Monday final. This is a universal truth (according to Christina). I believe it. If anything can go wrong, it will. True story.

2) Kudos to me for writing the final last week. Shame on me for not printing it out last week when the printers were fully stocked with good spirits, paper, and ink. (I restocked the sassy and hungry printer, btw). Printing that exam last week would have made my morning run much more smoothly than it did.

3) Following a morning (or afternoon, or evening) of Murphy's Law in practice, turn to friends and colleagues who can cheer you up. My friends Amanda and Richard did a tremendous job of cheering me up after my Murphy's Law Monday Morning (thank you!)

4) Listening to positive music is also a great post-game activity after (mis)adventures in Murphy's Law.

Like this one from U2:

PS- my other final went really well! No stress at all! But that is less interesting to read about...

PPS- My friend, colleague, and officemate Maura gave me a delicious cookie! So delicious it deserves a shout out!


  1. Ha, ha. I think every teacher can relate to that. Ack! I got a PTCMSD (post traumatic copier malfunction stress disorder) flashback just reading about it. :)

  2. I wish I had your diligence, Laura! I wrote my final exam the day before the test and was running into the copy room as the clock struck 6pm for my 6pm final. Luckily, the copier is well-rested by the time 6pm rolls around, so that wasn't an issue. :)

  3. VaporousBreeze: I like your acronym and I will adopt it- PTCMSD! Isn't it the worst?
    Jim & Nik: next time I will have to borrow your copier! ;)