Thoughts on #dayofhighered
I started writing this blog post earlier today, and now I don't have it, so I suppose I'll start again.
I participated in #dayofhighered, and followed it as best as I could during the day. Monday brought some interesting surprises. We have our weekly office staff meeting, which created a three-page long to-do, check-up, please-remind-me list. I generally start my day with my email. I get in before most of the people in my building/college/school/etc. I get there when staff members are emptying garbage cans and the sidewalks are being pressure washed. So, I try to get as much done during that time so that when I work on stuff during the day and get interrupted I still feel productive.
Faculty can have it really rough. Classes include prep work, class time, homework review, then you have office hours, email, and stops in the hall, on top of all of that they have professional development and research and publishing requirements. They have a lot to do. There are upsides, such as tenure and work from home and travel reimbursement, but I truly understand there is a lot of work involved.
I've worked with faculty from a few different angles. I was a student, and I had some really awesome professors and some really terrible ones. I had a few who really helped me learn and others where I found the best I could do was do the work and get out. My grad school instructors were (mostly) on the fantastic side, I had one, yeah mainly just one, that drove me nuts. But, that's neither here nor there. I've been a wife of a student with terrible/fantastic instructors. I've been an RA who has heard about every instructor possible. I've been in administrative offices where I've read and typed course evaluations.
And then I've been a staff assistant with quite a few faculty members and chairs to keep track of. The culture of the program is "put out as many fires as fast as possible" not "prevent forest fires". My work, other than clerical duties, scheduling, event planning, is putting out fires. "Help my printer is broken", "help I'm planning this event for tomorrow and don't have my posters done", "the copier is jammed", and my personal favorite: accounting. I see faculty completely differently now. I work with some amazing people, people who have worked in their field and won awards, people with amazing talent, and people who are phenomenal with students. However, some of my faculty have very poor time management skills, some are not very organized, and others are kind of lost in life.
But with all of those quirks, and funny questions, and encouragement, without faculty there would be no classroom learning, and without that, very few colleges or universities. My motto when I served tables? "It takes all kinds"