For Christmas this year, one gift was more touching than any other: my father-in-law (who works as a bus driver at a school in a district I don’t work in) gave me $100 cash and said, “I know teachers spend their own money on their students. The next $100 is on me.” (This is the first good news of this post.)
I really needed a pencil sharpener.
Students are hard on pencil sharpeners. I inherited one with my classroom – one of the few things the previous teacher
abandoned left behind, so I knew it was going to be awesome. No. It was constantly jamming and I could take it apart a bit and make it work another day or two, but one day before Thanksgiving it just quit on me. Thanks, crummy electric pencil sharpener.
A few weeks before my electric sharpener broke, I was at a friend’s house for a party where she showed off her pencil sharpener to all the other teacher friends who were there (you know its true – teachers are so often office supply nerds). A crank pencil sharpener? Really? Yes. Really. She actually owns two or three. The one at her house, one in her classroom, and one that goes home with parents to sharpen pencils.
My new pencil sharpener is sold by a teacher, and in the interest of full disclosure, Classroom Friendly Supplies, the company who sells them was willing to send me a free one to test if I would post a review on my blog. (The second good news of this post – if you’re a blogger read between the lines here folks.)
I quickly received a delightful pink pencil sharpener in the mail, and it just as quickly became the most famous and most popular pencil sharpener on my floor. I work at a magnet school for the arts, so kids have tried no end of crazy pencils in this little tool. It expertly sharpens regular pencils – and quietly! My students and I effortlessly put hundreds of pencils through this during Graduation Test week (ugh). Colored pencils can jam it up a little (due to the wax content of the “lead” part of wax colored pencils), and the pencil made with recycled jeans instead of wood was tougher, but the pencil sharpener is so easy to dismantle that not even a slightly jammed sharpener is a problem. The other bonus about just pulling out the blade and knocking out the rare bit of stuck graphite means you aren’t chewing through inches of pencil waiting for that to happen.
Students sometimes stop by my room in the morning – just to use this sharpener. Last week, a student commented it was the best sharpener they’d ever used, and others ask where they can get one.
If you decide to try one, you’ll get a simple, hand-crank sharpener, the blades, and a clamp. I don’t use the clamp, and can’t imaging that they blade will get dull anytime soon. But, when it does, I can just order a new blade! (Third good news!).
[Here it is with the shavings-catcher pulled out so you can see the mechanism. The picture to the right shows the interior of the sharpener with the blade removed (which only takes a twist and is easy with that black grip ring).]
After using this for the last 5 months, I cannot recommend this pencil sharpener enough. Its beautiful, a little retro, efficient, quiet. You can’t lose, and I’m looking to buy a second. Our mascot is the tiger… maybe I can get black and paint tiger stripes on it.