They Didn't Ask Me (dr_phil_physics) wrote,
They Didn't Ask Me

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Cleaning the Office

It's been increasingly a problem that my office at work is so messy. Once I had a chair that students could sit in while asking about Physics problems -- that hasn't been "accessible" for a while. More recently, I had a pile of boxes slump and the "temporary" restacking resulted in making it difficult for students to even get into my office. (yikes!) But when a student looks around, and then says, "You know, I'm going to be available after the semester is over if you would like some help...", well, you know it's getting bad.

This is from over a year ago:

The Alignment of the Planets...

Yesterday we made a big stab at it. I don't have classes on Wednesday and my ex-student agreed to come in from 10 to 3... and so we started dragging piles and boxes into the conference room next door and started sorting. The university has these big yellow trash cans for recycling paper. I had run into the person who picks up the bins and empties them earlier in the week -- for some reason the room with the cart was locked up, so as she was being shown where all the bins were, I knew she was going to be back. We'd stolen/borrowed the big bin from the hallway and filled that, plus the smaller yellow bin in the conference room, all in the first hour. We were just about to move to Plan B, where we started filling some garbage bags with more papers to recycle, when the Recycling Girl came by with the cart. Yay! Empty those bins and let us start over! In the next hour or so we filled them again, only to have Recycling Girl come by again before she left, and she graciously dumped our two just-in-the-last-minute-again brimming fulls bins and we started over afresh. By the time we stopped sorting and started thinking about rebuilding the office again at 2pm, we'd filled the bins a third time. So six bins of papers -- gone.

Why So Much Crap?

At the end of the semester I have accumulated a lot of papers. This includes the science literacy book reports, and the final exams, which we don't give out, but I need to keep for three years. Then there are the extra handouts and exams -- though you and I might find it hard to believe, when I make enough papers for everyone, a large number of students don't ever come to class and pick them up. Also, when teaching more than one section of a course, I sometimes have to make extra exams just in case someone comes to the other class because it is more convenient.

The net result was that I had piles of papers from 1997-2003 which were deemed redundant and fit for recycling. Now, there are still LOTS more papers to go, but moving some of this stuff out means I now have maneuvering room -- plus I STILL have to bring in the papers from the semester just done. They're at home -- seemed no point in bringing those in before the cleaning operation, since by default, they need to be on TOP of the new generation of piles of boxes. Right?

No Favors Here

I run a scrupulous ship here -- though the student who helped volunteered her time, I insisted on paying for the five hours of work. After all, if she wasn't here to do Resident Hall Assistant training and working the 4am shift helping out with the Medieval conference just held, it'd be because she didn't need the money. (double-entry-grin) I assume most of my students are broke.

Now... what am I going to do with "all this room"?

Dr. Phil

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