Thursday, April 15, 2010

Protected Time, Wasted time.

Since I have gotten my energy back, and have felt my shoulders creeping upwards toward my ears, I have re-committed to getting to the pool a couple of times a week. It relieves the tension and staves off the back pain from my pregnancy. I really should consider it absolutely necessary.

Tuesday and Thursday afternoons I don't have classes, and this week I have been strong enough to resist the temptation to stay in my office in front of the computer. I made it to the pool both afternoons. While I would much rather go to the gym outside of traditional working hours, an 8 am class and day care/ Boydinner issues make it simply not possible.

Staying in my office seems like it would be productive, but it also invites drop-bys. As it is, I have enough scheduled meetings that seem like a waste of my time, I'm not going to invite any others.

A time-sucking drop-by happened the other day. I was working on something relatively pressing and my colleague was advising a student who had her heart set on studying something that we simply didn't have a major for (its typically a grad school field). She already had in mind that she would transfer to a school that did offer it as an undergrad major, but was curious _IF_ she stayed what courses she could register for that would transfer to her new school.

So colleague elicited my advice. Its true that I did have a few resources and ideas that he didn't, but it was a unscheduled, undesired suck of my time (~20 minutes). I learned something from the investigation I was recruited for, but it was a poor return on my investment.

I also have at least 4 hours of meetings this week with failing students who are going to beg me to give them extra credit opportunities, because they just now realized (after 15 weeks-- with one left to go) that they are in trouble. If I was truly efficient, I would simply deny their requests to meet. But their opinion of me helps get me tenure, and its my chance to give them a piece of my mind about not getting help sooner.

There's an old joke:

Patient: "Hey Doc, it hurts when I do this"
Doctor: "Well, don't do that, then"

That's me and these time-wasting student meetings. I feel a little trapped, unable to say no, so I bitch about them, and keep making them. I am to be an advisor and mentor and "in relationship" with them. At MINIMUM I must be available to them (that's on the course evals). Since I chose not to have set office hours this semester, I really do have to take requests meetings.

Here's an example:
i just wanted to either discuss my grades
with you on here or set up a time to do
that! let me know what's best for you..
the only major thing i wanted to ask
was if you thought id be able to get a
D for this semester. I know my grade is
low as a result of poor exam scores,
therefore, i am hoping i can at least
pull off a D to pass the class. Just
let me know! i would appreciate it greatly!
But basically I will tell them what they can (but don't want to) figure out for themselves. Its one of two things.

You are borderline. If you pass the final, you pass the class, if you fail the final, you fail the class.
There is no mathematical possibility of you passing. Stick with it, because what you learn now will help you pass next year.


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