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Thursday, January 19, 2006

An open letter to my colleague or colleagues

Dear Unknown Colleague(s),

I don’t know what you teach, but I’m sure it’s terribly important. I’m sure you have a hard time fitting everything you want to teach into a semester, and everything you want to discuss into a class session. It’s hard, I know, when you have such wisdom to share, to remember that you aren’t the only person teaching at this school, and that your class isn’t the only class your students take.

But perhaps you have noticed that most of the classroom buildings on campus are vertical, and that several of them are more than ten stories high. Perhaps you have also noticed that these building have two or at most four ancient elevators that take their sweet time going up and down, and that between classes there are never fewer than fifty students at any time waiting for those elevators. Under the best of circumstances, the ten minutes between class periods is just enough time to get from a room in one building to a room in another building.

So I fail to understand why you have, apparently, informed some of your students—my students—that they should “just expect” that your classes will run five minutes over, every time.

Maybe you can explain it to me. Maybe you don't start your own classes on time, so you've never been interrupted in the middle of delivering your opening monologue, or administering a pop quiz, or explaining a complicated assignment. Maybe you've never had to rush from one building to another or from one subject to another--or, as many of our students do, from campus to a full-time job (where being more than five minutes late means getting docked a half-hour's pay). Maybe you've forgotten that your students and their time deserve your respect.

Or maybe you're just an asshole.

Cordially,
LL


link | posted by La Lecturess at 11:57 PM |


9 Comments:

Blogger Sfrajett commented at 2:17 AM~  

I suspect the latter. Someone please just kill me if I ever get like that. Really.

Blogger Terminaldegree commented at 3:07 AM~  

I wish you could print this out and leave it on his lecturn.

Anonymously, of course.

Blogger La Professora commented at 7:38 AM~  

Oh yes, the idiot colleague who runs over. I had a guy like this. We'd be crowding around the door...waiting to get into the classroom because he was rattling off his friggin' mouth about something completely non-class related with the pretty girls. GET OUT OF MY CLASSROOM!

Blogger What Now? commented at 1:51 PM~  

Last semester two of my students had such a problematic professor right before my class. It wasn't normally an issue, but on exam days he'd give really long exams that were difficult to finish in an hour, and he'd let people stay as long as they needed to finish the exam, which gave an advantage to people who didn't have class afterward. So those two students would come to my later section on test days so that they didn't lose exam points by having to go to their next class. I found this completely irresponsible behavior on my colleague's part; you don't give exams that you fully expect will go into the next class session!

Blogger Ancarett commented at 8:40 PM~  

I had a frustrating series of run-ins last year with a professor who always was running late in the class slot before mine. Her complicated tech set-up (laptop and projector) always took a long time to pack up and haul out, blocking my chance to wheel in and set up my own multimedia cart.

My students, after hearing me repeatedly remind the professor that her class was over at 20 minutes past the hour and seeing no improvement in her behaviour, phoned and visited her department to lodge their complaints there.

That finally resulted in her closing up at the correct time!

Blogger Yr. Hmbl. & Obdt. commented at 9:30 PM~  

This is why I always carry a can of gasoline with me. If I get to the classroom and the 'colleague'--no colleague of *mine*, as *I* am a considerate and polite person, goddammit--is running over, I can just march in, spill the gas out into a puddle at his/her feet, and then start flicking my lighter, off and on, off and on, as I look at my watch and whisper "tick tock, tick tock." They leave very quickly, and quite often leave behind quite nice briefcases and laptops. I make a killing on Ebay...

Blogger La Lecturess commented at 9:54 PM~  

Hee. These comments made me laugh.

I should clarify: this ISN'T the person who has my room in the period before mine (though I've had that problem, too)--it's a professor somewhere else on campus, who has one or more of my students in the period before mine, and who apparently thinks it's okay that they're late to my class as long as they're there to hear his deathless wisdom for as long as he cares to share it with them.

I had two different students tell me a version of this story yesterday, but I think they have different classes before mine. I also had a student last semester who said virtually the same thing about *her* previous class (and I know her well enough to have complete confidence in her story). Thus, there may be more than one of these assholes out there.

If it continues to be a problem, I'm going to get the jerk's email address from my students and see if I can't shame him into behaving better. (Hah.)

Blogger timna commented at 12:40 AM~  

I remember this as a student when I took a seminar from the Most Famous Professor, but she would go over by 15-20 minutes. Those 15 minutes meant that I missed the last convenient bus and had to wait another half hour and my little kids were in daycare until 7:30 pm instead of 6:45pm. huge difference for us.

so, as a teacher, I just think of MFP or my kids and don't go over.

Anonymous Astroprof commented at 5:24 PM~  

Ten minutes between classes is simply not long enough. As you say, at best it gives students barely time to get from one to another, and fequently not even that if they have classes in another building (especially if that building is not next door). Then there is the issue of faculty using multimedia. It takes TIME to get the computer, projector, etc set up and the lecture going. If the person in the room ahead of me is still logged onto the system chatting with students (even answering questions about the lecture that he just gave), then I can't get onto the system. If I don't get on immediately, then my class time starts before the media is ready. So, perhaps the ubiquitous ten minutes between classes needs to be changed.

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