Necessary Classroom Hardware


Like many teachers, I would like to address a recent proposal to add a particular piece of hardware to the classroom. It’s useful and, once loaded, does all manners of good if it’s in the right hands. I have spent my entire pedagogical career wishing and hoping that a social movement would carry us to this pivotal development. Teachers everywhere are ready for this implementation to their classroom arsenal.

People, it is time to give working staplers to every teacher. The benefits and advantages of having a working stapler in the classroom are unmatched. They keep things in line, they’re there in an emergency, and an entire office’s paper joining needs can be dealt with by one good guy with a working stapler.

That all said, I have never had a working stapler. Well, they work for an hour or two and then mystically jam. One of my colleagues says he wrote a paper on a middle school in Guam which had a working stapler that lasted for years without botching one staple attempt. But I don’t believe it. I’ll see Saint Francis’ likeness in a burrito before I see a permanent working stapler.

You know how school bureaucracy is, and bringing staplers into things just stirred up the maelstrom. We brought it up at the meeting and asked for a working stapler. (And by we, I mean I. A meeting made up of Czechs and Brits means that none of the Czechs will ever complain and if the British guy does, nobody who’s not British realizes they’re actually complaining, and instead think he’s just complimenting the cheese platter. So they always leave it to the bloody American, who’s too dull for nuance.)

Upon the request, the department head informed us that he was not a miracle worker. “What would we want next,” he asked, “livable wages?!” We all laughed at that one for a good while. Tears. Our disappointment was slightly ameliorated by the promise of a better printer to replace the printer we then had, which worked fine. As for the working stapler, he suggested that we get some of those plastic folios, because there wasn’t any money in the budget for a working stapler, or, as it turned out, those plastic folios. If we wanted a working stapler, we’d have to bring our own from home.

I bought a stapler at a store that week, along with some of those plastic folios, but really nice ones. The ones you imagine them using at the White House. Anyhow, once I breached the school premises the working stapler went all grunky, as though it was a thinking entity who decided to stop working. One of my colleagues also bought a stapler, but hers worked! We couldn’t believe our luck; we figured she must be the staple whisperer. We spent all that week stapling things, sometimes we stapled things that didn’t even need to be stapled. We were reckless, but what do you expect?! When was the last time a bunch of teachers had a working stapler in their office?

Naturally, it crapped out. Sadly it crapped out the same day as did our new and better printer. Our colleague has yet to forgive us for destroying her working stapler. And though there is no stapler on her desk (or in her drawers), her sheets have remained stapled together in enviable alignment. I think she brings it in her purse each day.

To be frank, I don’t even know if I’d be able to handle a working stapler. I have been stapler shy since an experiment in my halcyon days resulted in my mom removing a staple from my thumb while I screeched to bloody heaven and then got a sundae at Friendly’s. I’d probably just hurt myself or someone else. I’ll just stick to those (really nice) plastic folios, like they probably use at the White House.

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