I was going through some of my old writing…from a couple of years ago anyway…and I realized I’d had some pretty valid concerns during my first year having been hired on a regular full-time contract. I’d been adjuncting as a full-time temporary instructor for my school for nine, dedicated, solid (well, relatively speaking) years before I finally got hired on tenure-track (or…well…”continuing contract”-track since there’s no tenure here in glorious Sunshine Central, home to utterly sociopathic politicos). During that first year, I’d agreed to teach at the newer, tiny campus about 25 minutes from where I live. Easy drive. I didn’t mind. They were all nice over there, too.
What I DID mind though was significant enough to warrant a request to return to my hometown’s campus…
So I’ve nothing more than a fancy cubicle for my office. I wouldn’t mind so much as it’s roomy and relatively comfortable. There are just a few nagging issues I think ought to be addressed:
1. There is no door. Again, I wouldn’t mind except there’s this lovely law of the land called the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) that requires faculty and administrators to keep certain things — like grades and absentee records — confidential. In other words, I may discuss a student’s grades and/or absences with him or her, but I may not disclose them to anyone else except the registrar and certain admin. My office, such as it is sans door, is not the most ideal space to discuss such matters with a student. In order to keep things private, I have to “show” the student everything instead, which is just stupid.
2. There is no door. Once more, fine, except this morning, I had a sounder of boorish workmen waddle into my cubicle space to take window measurements for some renovation plans, or something to that effect. They came in while I was right there, at my desk, grading papers. Their leader did not ask for my permission to enter my office space. They just came right on in and completely pretended as if I wasn’t there. I had words. Oh, did I ever. Stupid.
3. There is no door. At 12pm, I had a kind but sad-faced administrator walk in, unannounced, to chat with me about Reasons Why (You’re) Unhappy Teaching On This Campus. (Seriously. Does she not SEE the irony?)
4. There is no door. This morning, I had two students politely ask me if it was okay to enter. The rest — around 15-20 of them in all — barged right in with last minute essay assignments. No “Hello, are you busy?” No “Hope I’m not intruding.” No, “Sorry to bother you.” Yeah, entrez bloody vous s’il vous plait. By all means. Come right on in. I’d say “the door’s always open” except for one thing…
5. There IS no fucking door.