The Plight of the Automatic Paper Towel Dispenser
Has your art room been infected?
If it has, you know the symptoms: the red flashing light, the incessant hand-flapping in front of the mechanical eye, the battery-operated whirr and infuriating delay as you wait for one small paper towel to eject from its slot. This tiny paper towel piece will hardly put a dent in the river of brown-black sludge that is currently flowing off Table 2, so the process begins again as you flap your arms like a crazy chicken in order to get enough paper towels to clean it up.
If your art room is still unaffected, you need to celebrate! Run around grabbing paper towels willy-nilly and wiping up spills instantly before they spread and splash and are tracked all around your room. Grab a stack of paper towels and pass them out to prevent spills and let students wash their hands (and actually dry them) within a few minutes at the end of class.
If you can’t tell, I am not a fan of the automatic paper towel dispenser, at least not in the art room. They are impractical and annoying, especially when they are installed improperly (I had two installed inches from the floor that went off whenever students walked by) and not refilled consistently (heaven forbid I be given a key to change the roll myself!) On second thought, my custodian knows me better, I would just forgo the dispenser and use the roll like a wild animal.
Regardless of how much I loathe automated paper towel dispensers in the art room, many of us HAVE to figure out a way to make due. And this is only one example of the special classroom management situations that go in to running an effective art room. We worry about all the “regular” stuff too, and then some:
- What do we do with the kid that eats gold crayons?
- How do you clean paint off of teeth? Out of ears?
- How do you accurately number and use supplies so that your scissors are not stolen and used for sword-fighting demos at recess?
If you have questions or would like to fine-tune your classroom management techniques (including all the fun twists and turns that students throw our way in a moment’s notice) consider joining me in November for AOE’s Managing the Art Room class. This class is a breath of fresh air for art teachers needing a place to vent, share ideas and learn from the experts in the field. I promise laughs, camaraderie and best of all techniques that really work!
Let’s dish: What is your biggest classroom management nightmare?