Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Early Thirsty From the Wombat.

I have a new administrative position and I'm in charge of a few dozen adjuncts who we've flung all over campus in rooms we can't control. The chalk boards and white boards vary in quality from acceptable to crap. I was an adjunct for 11 years, schlepping myself all over god's green earth, and struggling to get supplies during off hours etc. I've made it my unofficial mission to set my instructors up for success and to treat them with respect and understanding.

One of the things that drove me mad when I was an adjunct was the expectation that I would supply my various employers with chalk and markers. I've taught labs that started at 9 pm, lectures at 6 am, and a variety of Saturday and Sunday classes. There's never anyone around to supply markers, and the ones you scrounge from nearby class rooms are always dead, that's why they're left behind. So the first i I'm going to dot is access to chalk and markers for my teachers. And since I can sometimes project my own preferences, I thought I'd poll les miserables for chalk and marker preferences. 

I need brands, formulas, colors, tip shapes. The courses my people will be teaching involve group problem solving sessions and team reporting on the part of the students. Roughly 5 groups of 4 students, 85 minutes per week. I have a total of 4 dozen sections. I'll take input about anything else you can think of. 

Q: How many colors do you like, how fast do you burn through them? If you were an adjunct what would you want me to provide you with to get through a lesson


-the Wombat of the Supply Closet

12 comments:

  1. Congratulations on a thoughtful and civilized approach to the supplies issue. I'd suggest starting by supplying them with 3 low-odor whiteboard markers, black/red/blue (or a box of chalk, if it comes to that), and see how that works.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The Wombat has transferred from the copier to the supply closet? Is this the End Times?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hmm, with a 4/4 teaching load, I usually go through three packets of red/blue/black/green markers a year, but I'm the only one using them; I think I might need more if I were regularly asking the students to problem-solve on the whiteboard.

    ReplyDelete
  4. 3 colors should be fine. Get a couple of erasers too. I'm not sure papers towels would work as well. If you've got blackboards, a couple of boxes of chalk would be good. I tend to break chalk fairly easily so I burn through a fair amount of it.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks - I'm glad this was taken seriously - I thought it would seem silly to care about markers - but that's like the little thing that slips through the cracks and derails the class. It's not my only concern - but it's something I think I have no excuse not to fix.

    ReplyDelete
  6. PS I'm still allowed to use the copier.

    ReplyDelete
  7. If you can get your adjuncts to actually keep the markers themselves, and not leave them in the classrooms, that should be fine. But if left in the classrooms, unless those classrooms are always locked, they will be poached by other faculty. You'll have to make regular re-stocking rounds to be sure there are still markers in classrooms where they are needed. My school tried to provide markers for all classrooms but the budget for markers, not to mention the labor involved in regularly restocking each classroom, got completely out of hand. Faculty now carry their own markers, I believe they can expense them, though.

    It reminds me of this one time I was at the ATM making a deposit and really vexed because yet again, there was no pen on the end of the chain. So I scribbled on my deposit slip "could you at least provide a pen to your clients, there is never a pen in this ATM vestibule!"

    To my surprise, a few hours later, well into the evening, the bank manager called me at home to apologize for the lack of pens. He told me they are stolen as fast as they can put them in the ATMs. He was extremely courteous and said they do their best to replace the pen once a week, but the bank didn't have the resources for a staff member to check the vestibule in real time for the pen to be stolen, then replace it as needed.

    Classroom whiteboard markers seem to be the same situation here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's funny. I have never seen any ATM where it is even necessary to write or add your own deposit slip. I find that really odd. I would type the amount and select the account on screen and the machine prints the transaction receipt. It is the envelopes that are sometimes missing.

      Delete
    2. I am 44 years old, you're probably a lot younger than me, too young to remember when you had to actually write out your deposit slip at the ATM.

      Delete
  8. Pilot Begreen V Board Master. Not too smelly, refillable, and the set of five colors comes in a clear plastic box that's handy to keep them all together while moving from room to room.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I like 3 colors. Per Programming Patty's suggestions, I'd have for each adjunct a pencil box with 6 markers (2 of each color) a new eraser, a bottle of whiteboard cleaning fluid and a rag. That would be easy for them to carry from classroom to classroom.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Just keep ALL the colors stocked consistently and continuously, and we'll be happy. Nothing sucks worse than not being able to find markers.

    ReplyDelete