Thursday, September 30, 2010

and there's still a day and a half of this week to go...

This is the first week of semester. Students are registering and doing all sorts of fun and cutesy 'meet the gang' activities. For example, one day academics have to stand at set locations in the local town being a 'resource point' whilst the students amble around in small groups following a trail to learn 'cool science facts about the modern urban environment' as well as where all the good pubs and coffee shops are. At the very least, the 'staff member as resource point' should be inside Starbucks, in my opinion - standing in the rain on the main shopping street with a special lurid coloured clipboard to make you spottable is no fun. There is a 'television style quiz' with prizes, lunches and all sorts of useful stuff. The tour of the library, however, happens next week...

The building is full of lost students. A legacy of working in an 80 year old building is that the presence of females is largely acknowledge via post-hoc amendments, which means that the women's toilets are in odd places half-way up stairwells etc., whereas the men's toilets are on the main corridors on each floor, and as a female member of staff I get very used to being approached by embarrassed girls looking for facilities. And of course rude, aggressive ones demanding to know why I haven't improved the signage/why they have to go upstairs to pee, and not saying please or thankyou. Then there are the ones who 'can't get out' - six inch high green and white fire exit signs abound, and they lead you inexorably to the two main doors. They are on walls, on chains hanging from the ceiling, on doors... but Susie and Stevie Snowflake aren't used to reading signs.

The timetable still has that well-known and hard-working colleague TBA* listed as giving various classes. And there is an entire first year practical class unscheduled - no time, no room. Can I just fit another 30 into each of the existing labs? It doesn't matter that the room is already full to bursting, after all, some of them will leave early...

And please can I incorporate all these last minute rule changes into my syllabi? And whilst I'm at it, how about we modify the curriculum for this team-taught module to help Dr I-Can't-Teach-Anything-Other-Than-My-Research-Topic out?


*to be arranged, not tertiary butyl alcohol.


  1. I can say nothing more than...that sounds hideous.

  2. Since TBA is such a popular instructor, I always assumed his/her initials stood for "Talented But Anonymous."

  3. TBA is my BFF. I love when TBA is on the schedule. Whenever I see TBA on the schedule, I send a cute baby or pet picture to the relevant supervisor of a previous adjunct post and then play dumb when he/she writes back "Adorable. Hey, it's great you dropped a line, we're scrambling around here trying to figure out who can teach _________ this term, are you interested?"

    I used to think "This is an ok place for a grad student, but wouldn't it be sad to be an undergrad here?" because my college was so nurturing and spirited. But boy oh boy, if I had to be a prop in an orientation week scavanger hunt, in the rain, OUTSIDE of Starbucks... I'd blow my brains out. Thank you, State College, thank you for not giving a shit what happens to them the second class is over.


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