Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Office Supplies

I think it's pretty common for academics to be, well, a tad obsessive about office supplies.

It's also common for us to be a bit anxious at the beginning of the semester.

In combination, it's downright strange.

Or is it only me?

Last week, I was looking for manila folders.  Each class MUST have a pristine (to start) manila folder.  Some classes need two, but mostly the second one changes because my teaching notes for different texts are all in manila folders, too.  On each folder tab, I write the dept and number of the class, and the section number (if there's more than one).  Then in the upper left hand corner of the outside front of the folder, I write the same information, plus the classroom and time the class meets.  (So that I don't forget in the first week.)  Then I write my phone number, in case I lose it.

Inside the folder, on the verso of the front flap, I staple in (reversed, so the pointy parts of the staples are inside, and two staples across the top) the syllabus and calendar, with the calendar on top, so that I can instantly see what we're doing on that day when I open the folder.  (I restaple when we get to the second page of the calendar.)  On the recto, I staple in (again, reversed so the pointy parts are inside the folder when closed) the list of students. 

Over the semester, the folder accrues all sorts of stuff, and then at the end, I clean most of it out, put in a print out of my excel grade sheet, and stick it in my file cabinet.  (I cleaned out the ones that were more than ten years old this spring, and felt rather liberated.)

Anyway, there were some used manila folders in the department, and they didn't look bad at all, but because I'm weird, I want pristine folders for my classes.  (I don't care so much about text teaching folders, but for classes, I care.)  Today I got an email from out admin assistant to let me know that the new folders are in.  (She takes good care of us, despite all our craziness.)

Then there are pens.  I like uniball white pens.  And I like either dark blue or, for some grading, cheerful colors, purple, green, light blue, and so on.  I bought a pack of multi-colored pens last year, and still have most of them, but I wore out the purple (because it's my favorite journal grading color) by the middle of the spring semester.  Now I have a dilemma.  Should I buy a new multi pack?  Or should I wear out the other colors first?  And why can't I seem to find a pack of just dark blue?  (I like my teaching notes in either pencil, dark blue, or black, or some combination, depending how many layers of notes I have for a specific text.)

Don't get me started on pencils.  They must be mechanical, and they have to have a good feel.  Three or so years ago now, I bought two three-pack of Pentel Client 5mm pencils.  I still have most of them, and there's still one new pencil in the final bubble pack.  I'll probably be fine on these, but I sure hope they still make them!

And yes, I even have strong feelings about paper.  I like narrow ruled paper, white or yellow, on a pad with a fairly stiff cardboard back, and a margin line down the left.  I buy several big packs at a time, so happily I still have some left.  These are for all sorts of notes, class prep, whatever.

Fortunately, I seem at this point in my life to have an ample supply of ready binder clips (small, black, please), paper clips (I like the ones with the little roughness, but standard small size), and staples.

I'll be back later.  I need to go to the office store.


  1. Haha--your post in contrast to mine from today made me laugh :)

    It's probably worth noting that I usually have students hand in their written work electronically, so I make comments using adobe's pdf sticky notes, not actual pens :)

  2. Haha! I can't throw any stones since I can't help myself with pens and pencils and pads of paper and drawing pads and sketchbooks and colored pencils and markers and any other sort of drawing or writing implement. I have a lot of supplies. I recently had to replace my favorite fountain pen for drawing and I got a spiffy new one with a reservoir and a wonderful flexible nib that's amazing for drawing. And then I wanted a new clean pristine sketchbook to start with it...

    I may have a bit of a problem with all of this stuff...

  3. Sounds like me! I can use used folders, but they can only be MY used folders, not the ones from the department bin.

  4. I have color-coded plastic folders, to go with my color-coded binder clips, so that I can keep my grading sorted for my multiple sections and can remember which section is meeting when on our very complicated rotating schedule. And for the first day of class I photocopy the course description onto paper of the appropriate color so that the students have a visual reminder of whether they're the green or blue class (for the sophomores) or yellow or pink (for the juniors).

  5. Oh this sounds so familiar...