Thursday, September 01, 2022

Major Tom to Ground Control...

 Or lack thereof?

I'm usually moderately excited to be teaching new courses every fall, to be seeing students, and so on.  Planning my courses is usually fairly pleasurable; it's like a fantasy: what can we do this semester?  what can we learn?

This year feels different.  I just don't want to prep.  I've procrastinated about prepping my class way longer than I should.  (There's still plenty of time; I'm about half done, and my first class isn't until Wednesday next.)

Every afternoon lately, as I walk across the big shot parking lot next to my building (the big shots all have numbered slots in this special lot, which is why I knew that certain officials were rarely on campus last year and such), I just feel like I want to cry.  It's not quite at the point of actual tears, but close.  Why?

I don't feel like crying when I get up in the morning, when I go to work, while I'm at work... it's walking across the lot leaving.


Our administrators are so very out of touch with the teaching side of thing, and let's be real, the teaching side of things is where the revenue happens, so even if you don't give a [expletive deleted] about educating students, it's still [expletive deleted] important.  Here's an example, only the latest:

Chairs are on contract for various percentages most of the summer.  Then in early August, there's a two week lapse.  (I don't know why, but it's there.)  And then two weeks before classes start, new contracts start (so we can do prep and have endless meetings).

Some administrator has decided that all chairs and above need "media training" so that we can talk to the press.  (Yeah, imagine how well that goes over in the Journalism department...)  One day into our "no contract" period, we all got this doodlepoll thing insisting that we'd been assigned to a three hour media training and should choose a time, yes, during the two weeks we weren't under contract.  They had all summer, and they just then urgently need us to do that?  I call BS.  And so did lots of other people.

I guess they were talked out of insisting on that meeting and told to wait until we're back under contract.  At which point, if they had good sense, they'd look at the schedule for the two weeks before classes start, find the times with fewest meetings, and send out a doodlepoll for a couple times before classes start.

Alas, no, they sent out a doodlepoll yesterday, insisting that we all pick a three hour timeslot during the second week of classes.  I'm guessing the deans and such are pretty much booked most days so there's no free three hour slots.  I have a couple, but two of the choices happen while I'm teaching, so that's a no.


On the other hand, here's hope:  we got a notification that there are practice fire drills coming up.  We have these every semester, and let's face it, practicing evacuating a building is important.  Mostly, the times are pre-announced and set up so that they hit the last 15 minutes of an hour, cutting 5 minutes of class time.  Except that most classes at 2 pm on MW don't also run Fridays, but run an hour and a half, because few students want to take class until 3pm on Friday.  The chosen time was 2:45, which is right in the middle of the 2-3:15 class time.

So, I wrote a short, polite note explaining that to the person who'd notified us, and got a polite note back saying they'd check into it, and then, miracle!  a note thanking me and saying they'd changed the time, and then a note to all of us indicating that the schedule had changed slightly.  So there's someone over there who's actually willing to think about teaching as important!