Wednesday, February 20, 2013


I just got back from walking a change of grade form over to the Fort.  They have to be hand delivered by the faculty member, which is a bit of a pain for those of us who don't walk over there much.  Add to that the temperatures, which are up to "darned cold" from "[expletive] cold" and "really [expletive] cold," though still not quite up to "cold."

To follow the thread of my gruching: a student needs to take an incomplete, which adds work for me in arranging another exam time, setting up the exam, and so on.  Then I have the work of grading it separately, which isn't huge, but still is something.  And then I have to walk it over in person, even though the registration folks don't acknowledge my existence while I stand in front of the counter while they all three exclaim over and admire something on a computer behind the counter.  They finally did, and then it didn't seem like it mattered at all that I'd hand walked it over.  I bet a student could have.

I'm gruching, too, because we were shown the planned layout for our new offices.  I should be excited about a new office in a brand new, beautiful building.  But the planned layout includes one of those massive desk things with a built in computer in the back corner position (so that the user is facing away from the door) and a desk bit between the occupant and the student seating area for office hours.

I know some people like both of those things, but I'm not one of them.  I don't want to have my back to a door, and if I do, the door probably won't be open while I'm using the computer.

And I don't want to sit across a desk from students who come to chat during office hours.  As it is now, my main sitting desk is facing a wall, and student seats are next to it, with nothing between us, so I can roll my chair to nearly parallel, so we can look at a paper facing the same way.  Or we can semi face each other at an angle, but not directly across.  My old metal desk does have a pull out desky thing that I could use to face across with students, but I never have.  My current computer position is against the wall next to the door, so that I'm facing the doorway when I'm at the computer, and that puts me across from students, so they can see the screen if we're doing something on the computer.  I can also stand up and let them take my chair if they need to log onto the computer for something.

That's not going to happen if they have to loom over me to see the computer or come way into "my space" to log on.  I'm not likely to be comfortable enough, I don't think.

So I'm gruching about the new layout, and hearing that it's likely we will all have to have our offices with exactly the same layout, in exactly the same color, with accent colors determined by our floor.  My floor's accent color looks to me like "mud," but had some name like "nature" on the color swathes we were shown.  No more beautiful green walls in my office.  (The chair said zie had won the fight to get us multiple full sized book shelves, rather than the single three foot high three foot wide shelf the designers were planning.  But zie isn't certain that we'll be allowed to hang anything on our walls.)

So all the time that we're expected to provide personalized, individualized, caring work with our students, to the point of walking special forms over when they mess up and have to take an incomplete (which was the case with the incomplete I walked over today, though it's not always the case, of course), while the administrators treat us like standardized cogs.  I may be feeling a little resentful here.

Meanwhile, every administrator over in the Fort, from the one year replacements to the folks who stay even four or five years, gets to order hir own select furniture and layout for hir very special, individualized office.  And then when the replacement comes, that furniture goes to surplus and the next administrator orders a new fancy whatever, because heaven forbid they sit their butts in anything that isn't individualized to their own specific needs.

Yep, I may be feeling a little resentful.

I need spring.  Soon.


  1. Eek! I'd hate not being able to set up my office the way I'd like! One thing I have done, though, because part of my office is a cement wall that I'm not allowed to drill into to hang things -- I've got large pictures that are on top of this credenza propped up against the wall. It looks kind of artsy, actually. All together, I have three large pictures leaning against the wall. But I also have about ten pictures hanging, too. So I don't know if the effect would be the same if all the pictures were leaning instead of some leaning and some hanging. Hm... Anyway, it's at least an idea...

    This reminded me, too, that the deadline for our incompletes are coming up, too. There's a kid that was in my class who took several incompletes. I'm not sure he's followed up with others, but I haven't heard squat from him. Sigh. It's stupid to go through school for 4.5 years and f it up on the .5 part of that.

  2. Dang, that totally sucks to have an office layout forced on you. And I completely agree with you about not wanting to have your back to the door and about wanting to be able to talk with students side by side rather than across a desk. Gosh, it's almost as though the people making all of these decisions aren't actually teachers themselves!

    Would it be possible for you to come in some weekend and paint the walls yourself whatever color you wanted? Would it be possible to salvage your current furniture and replace the big computer desk-thingy with your old one? I'm just wondering if there will be ways to circumvent the system at all.

  3. I'd hate the built-in layout, too.

    If I'm working with my back to the door, I usually leave the door partly closed because I'm one of those people who jumps about a foot and involuntarily whoops if someone comes in without my hearing them. This startles the students, needless to say.

  4. Oh, I hate the back to the door set-up - though I'm amazed that it appears to be the default option around here.

    If your campus is using Steelcase desks, they are modular, and we've been able to take out sections we don't want...that's how I got the extra bookshelves into my office!

  5. What, we're supposed to adapt our work styles to conform to design standards instead of adapting the design to conform to our work styles? That's inhumane.

  6. I just today made the long, cold walk to the registrar's office to turn in grade changes for incompletes. They were two legit medical emergencies, so I had to give them, but oh, how I hate them!