Thursday, June 02, 2011
The brief gap between graduation and the start of summer classes is blissfully quiet.
I can actually get some work done. I can even have open-ended conversations without looking at my watch every ten minutes. (Yes, Gen Y readers, I wear a watch. It’s a generational thing. Boomers wear digital watches. X’ers wear analog watches. Y’s just use their phones.)
These respites are fewer and shorter than they once were. There was a time, not too long ago, when summer classes were mostly afterthoughts. They still aren’t as popular as the regular semesters, but they have momentum. That’s mostly to the good; the literature I’ve seen on low-income student success suggests that continuity of study over the course of the year tends to lead to better results, since students can get into a groove and stay there. And I’m a huge fan of students who need developmental classes getting them during the summer so they can hit September on-track to graduate.
But there’s also something to be said for a moment of relative peace and quiet.
Earlier this week I had a glorious morning without a single meeting. I was able to spend consecutive hours -- plural! -- actually thinking about one project. By myself! As a parent of young children, that’s pretty much out of the question at home, and at an active campus it’s pretty much unheard-of at work. But this week, it actually happened. And it brought a clarity that wasn’t going to happen any other way.
But don’t tell anyone! If people find out how productive a quiet campus can be, they’ll start swarming in, and it won’t be quiet anymore.
It’ll just be our secret...
Yes, it's my phone.
Frankly, I am very surprised that any person teaching would not have a watch separate from their phone. How do you tell time during class? Do you leave your phone on for the two hours or more of each lecture? What if somebody calls you? Do you not teach in departments with policies about switching off your mobile phone? I have never worked in such a department, but then again I have never worked in the US as a lecturer. Are American students so well behaved regarding mobile phones that you do need such a policy?
Seriously, Dean Dad. I'm a Baby Boomer and I use my phone in place of a watch, and have always used an analog watch.
How do I tell time? Leaving aside the fact that my body clock knows how long a class period is, all of our rooms have analog clocks and computers with clocks and the all time classic: restless student clocks. Finally, like Dr. Crazy, I just silence my phone.
As for well behaved student phones, well, maybe Dean Dad could write about it from his perspective.
(a) a lot of my professional womens clothing has very small pockets, or non-existant in some skirts. i can usually fit my phone in a pocket but have to dig for it
(b) pulling out my phone to check the time in a meeting is pretty rude. Much easier to glance at my watch. This helped when I was a hard-working student as well, can you believe there's one gen Y person who thought it was rude to pull out their phone in the middle of lecture? there are probably more of us, problem with generalizations...