Friday, March 30, 2007

Chalk One Up for a Colleague

If you've read more than a couple academic blogs, you've read about how we find certain student actions really frustrating. The student who misses class and then asks if anything important happened? Yes, frustrating. The student who asks one of us to repeat what was said in class discussion or lecture? Yes, frustrating?

Yesterday, I participated in a panel discussion lasting over an hour and a half.

And when I got back to my office, I had an email from a colleague:

Bardiac,

I was too busy [detail about busyness] to go to the panel today. Could you give a summary of the discussion at the next department meeting?

Colleague


I would love to point out to the colleague how much his email sounds like the sort of student request we all find irritating, but I won't, of course.

We all make choices about what we'll spend our time on, all of us, all the time (not just profs, all of us). I spent time last summer working on this project, I spent time at meetings this year working on this project. I spent time prepping for the panel. And then I spent time at the panel, listening to what others had to say and contributing to the discussion. (I didn't take notes of the panel discussion; it was interesting, but I didn't find the information new in ways that prompt me to take notes.)

I do not plan to spend time trying to reconstruct in some meaningful way the discussion so that I can present it to the department. Nope, the people who chose to go and participate, did so.

(But, as you'll have realized, I did spend a few minutes whining on my blog.)

8 comments:

  1. Oh wow. Maybe you should suggest that Annoying Colleague get notes from another stu. . .errr, colleague who took the time to attend.

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  2. I agree with Dr. Medusa.

    ...or you could always quote yourself:

    "I do not plan to spend time trying to reconstruct in some meaningful way the discussion so that I can present it to the department. Nope, the people who chose to go and participate, did so."

    If your colleague insists on acting like a student, maybe he/she/it needs to be treated like one....

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  3. Among the things I hate about this kind of message from students or colleagues is its subtext: "I was busy doing things far more important than going to the panel and could not spend my valuable time on it, but I'd like you to spend your time, which is far less valuable than mine, in catching me up on what I missed."

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  4. Now that I'm department chair, I'm developing a huge pet peeve about people who stop in to explain that they are far too busy doing X in order to come to Y department function or to do whatever I am asking them for. It seems so condecending.

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  5. Blogs are an excellent forum for whining, are they not? I do it all the time. I find it makes me more productive and less whiny in real life.

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  6. I agree with Teri, having a place to whine and bitch can really be a stress relif.
    Glad we can be part of yours.

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  7. The same situation just happened to me! After an agonizing 2 hour+ meeting, colleague X says to me the next day, "Anything big happen?"

    Bah!

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  8. Hee! Well, I at least am shamelessly good at not begging for updates when I miss one obligation for another. I tell the person in charge that I cannot come due to this or that conflict and offer to get someone else to replace me if that's necessary. Otherwise, I just suck it up and swot up from the minutes!

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