Ending my love affair with the laminator

Primary teachers have a love affair with laminating machines.

Wall displays, name cards, cards. No job is too small for the laminators. It makes things bright and shiny.

Primary teachers love bright and shiny.

I often used to joke that the only real question they need to ask would-be primary teachers at Teachers College is  ‘do you like the smell of a freshly laminated sheet of paper?’

You may think I embellishing the love teachers have for laminating. However, if you want to commit social suicide at a new school, a sure-fire to get there is breaking the laminating machine on Sunday afternoon before school starts after a long break.

Trust me, I’ve been there.

Over the years I’ve been using the machine less and less.

Time suck – Someone really should do a study of how much teacher time is sucked up laminating. Waiting for the thing to heat up, slowly feeding through the sheets, cutting up the shapes.  Factor in repeats for air bubbles and wrinkly. That’s a whole lot of time wasted. The kids really don’t really care if your signs are laminated or not. If the kids aren’t touching the display, there’s no real need to laminate it.

Money suck – those pouches are expensive. At some point you have to ask yourself – is this really worth the cost. Especially if you end up shelling out of your own pocket for the machine and the pouches.

Environmental suck – yes your paper poster may stand the ravages of increment weather and seven year old fingers. However the act of laminating renders the paper non-biodegradable. If we’re going to preach about the importance of saving the environment in schools, then putting up laminated posters really isn’t the best way to do that.

Pedagogical suck – Yes those place mats look pretty and are highly functional. Those minion-themed name tags are super-cute. But you’ve anchored a child to a space.  Elementary kids need to be up and moving not sitting in the same place all day.  Those bits of paper are ones the kids are going to handling. Are those resources you’re about to laminate ones you can see yourself using year on year? Probably not worth laminating…




One thought on “Ending my love affair with the laminator

  1. I gave up on laminating a long time ago for environmental reasons, it still surprises me the number of teachers that can still justify their reasons for doing it! How can we model environmental sustainability when we are laminating the crap out of everything. Congratulations for making the change!


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