The Miracle of the 3-Hole Punch

In the copy room this morning, a miracle happened. Someone had come in during the dark of night and lubricated the 3-Hole Punch.

You mean to tell me I can hole punch 20 papers at a time and they lift right out? Without pleading? Without banging it against the table? Hallelujah and Amen because this is the best morning I’ve had in weeks!

As I exited the copy room a colleague remarked, “Wow, Elliott, you look like you are having a good day,” to which I replied, “The 3 Hole punch is lubricated!” to which he replied, “Oh my God, are you serious? How awesome!”

As I watched this grown man leap into the room to check out the glory of a newly lubricated 3-hole punch I smiled. And then I paused.

What the hell am I thinking?

While I applaud any moment of gratitude as I do the value for the little-things-in-life-that-aren’t-so-little, I have to wonder. Pure elation from a newly lubricated 3-hole punch? Doesn’t this really speak to just how difficult this job has become? A kind colleague brought some WD40 from home, gave it a few squirts, and the copy room is now a place of joy? What would the people who relentlessly criticize public school teachers say about this event?  Would they even understand just how bad things are if they could see us high-fiving each other over the miracle of a working hole punch?

Still lamenting on these questions as I passed out papers to my students, I was shaken from my storm cloud when the one of my kids said, “Ms. Elliott, look how nice these handouts are hole punched!”and several others nodded in agreement.

I paused again. The choice was mine: fall deeper into the dungeon of despair at the fact that my students are also so beaten down that even they notice a cleanly hole-punched copy or, instead, delight in the fact that, even though they are beaten down, they noticed a cleanly hole-punched piece of paper.

I chose the latter. Beaten down or not, I love the fact that the little-things-that-aren’t- so-little delight people who share my days. After all, what matters more than them?

(And to Jesse, who I know was the angel in the copy room, thanks for sharing your kindness–and your WD40.)

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