The Office Hour

I love my office hour--I get a lot of work done. Sometimes, I read a magazine or scientific journal. Oh, and sometimes I see a student.

Years ago, I used to have a lot of office hours--more than 10 a week. That number has dwindled over the years. Now, I have only one office hour this term. That's partly due to the fact that I have to help my wife look after our kids; she's got her hands full with the baby--not to mention our other daughter who is feeling sadly neglected. But a big reason is that there's not much point to having a lot of office hours.

Even with the single solitary hour I've set aside, I hardly see anyone. Oh sure, I get a lot of emails. But not many people actually trek through all the construction to get to my palatial office.

So occasionally, I agree to meet with someone outside of my regularly scheduled office hours. This is not easy to do, with my other commitments like committee meetings. When my wife goes back to work after her maternity leave, we'll "trade off." This means that as soon as I'm done work, I'll race home to look after the kids so that she can go to work (and vice-versa). In a situation like this, it's really hard to set up a meeting with a student outside of office hours: it requires that I ask my wife to change her work schedule, which is not easy to do and requires several days advance notice.

We did the "trade-off" thing with our first child, and I tried hard to meet with students. And this is what happened, more often than not. My wife changed her work schedule so that I could meet with a student...and the student never showed up. No message, no apology, no nothing.

So if I'm not available much outside of office hours, the reason is that previous students have wrecked it. Oh well, there's always email.

Why aren't you studying?


Anastasia said...

"So if I'm not available much outside of office hours, the reason is that previous students have wrecked it."

That hardly seems fair to current students! (Yea yea, c'est la vie, but still...)

Karsten Loepelmann said...

@Anastasia: If a student wants to meet with me and can't make my office hour, I will make an appointment at a mutually convenient time. So it's not like I'm saying, "Come to my office hour, and that's it" like some of my colleagues do...

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