On Conserving Paper

Lots of teachers try and do the right thing and conserve paper by making either double-sided copies or using scratch paper which already has something printed on one one side. Find out how to do this, even if your school’s copy machine “doesn’t make two-sided copies”. It does. You often just have to put the one-sided copy back in a certain way – upside down or backwards or something.

The TEFL Logue’s main comment on saving paper by using double-sided copies: Excellent! And the TEFL Logue’s main advice: Be careful!

Staples or even bent or folded scratch paper can jam the copier. If one-sided copies are just automatically discarded into a bin and reused… double check that you are not giving your students the test on the back of your hand outs! Not fair to other students. Doesn’t really give a professional image either.

Also know that pretty much whatever is printed on that other side – whatever it is you are not doing in class – is a curiosity and very likely more interesting than whatever you do happen to be doing. I now make it a habit to check what is on that other side. If you teach kids, it might be wise to avoid anything especially attention-grabbing like cartoons or comics on the back of the paper.

It is definitely better for the environment to save paper, and in general, it is simpler for your students to have fewer copies. There are some situations, of course, where it makes things harder: a reading on one side and questions on the back. Know when you can save paper and when you need to use it. Most of the time though, double-sided copies are the eco-friendly way to go. For other ideas on all things eco, check in with Mary at the Eco Travel Logue. If you enjoy reading about copy machines, or just feel this particular appliance rarely gets its due in TEFL, find your way over to Ode To The Copy Machine.