Tuesday, August 30, 2005


It's 3:12 and I'm happy. Class was good today and there was a lot of discussion. Not like yesterday. Maybe it's the mix of students in the T/TH class or the fact that it's at 2 while the other class is at 3:30 and those folks might be tired. Could just be that I ran through this stuff once and am better prepared to talk about it. No matter what, I dig these students and am happy that I don't have class this evening and can head home. I am walking on clouds as I cross the street from the building where I teach to wait for the bus.

Fifteen minutes later I'm still waiting. All the buses that have come by have kept going. There's no room and everyone is standing. One of the other folks at the stop decides to walk to the quad. That's the main stop on campus and where the bus fills up. It's not far so I decide to follow. I get there, and another 15 minute wait -- most of the buses coming through are going to other places. Of course it's hot, it's Texas in August, temperatures are hovering near 100 and you just get cranky waiting. Finally a bus arrives and I get on. Standing room only. I raise my hands to hold the bars above my head and think it's a good thing I didn't go sleeveless today. I brace myself for the ride, trying to balance on my heels as the bus lurches forward. "At this point I could have walked to the parking lot," I think, except that my new shoes cut into my left heal the other day and now I am wearing a bandage trying not to walk much as my other dress shoes are rubbing against my sore. I feel the sweat rolling down my leg and try to keep my balance as the bus turns. Thank goodness I'm not lugging my laptop.

Once again I curse the university. Everyone else is wearing shorts and a t-shirt and don't look ready to topple; I am the only one on this bus in a skirt and heels. Then again, I am the only person on the bus who is a teacher. Yet that's not the way the university sees me. To them I am still a student. They've reminded me of this several times this week:
  • I'm not allowed a key to the mailroom, because policy says students can't have one. Never mind that the scantron machine that we use to grade tests is in there. During the day this isn't an issue because the door is unlocked; however, they tend to lock it at 4:45. One of my classes doesn't get out until then. Besides that, the fridge and microwave are in there. That means if I want to bring something to eat before my night classes I have to play hide and seek, looking for a professor unlock the door for me.
  • Originally I was told that as a student I couldn't get the electronic gradebook program put on my computer in my office. I'm not sure how they expected me log grades and send them to the student. (Now everything is electronic and teachers email students their individual grades after each test -- students know constantly what their grades are). Finally, the electronic gradebook has been okayed for me, but it hasn't been installed yet. Guess my students don't get the pop quiz I planned for this week. Not that it matters, as my scantron order hasn't come in yet. Sorry, I am just not grading 100 quizzes by hand.
  • Of course I have to park in commuter parking, which is way off campus, forcing me to add 20 minutes each side of my commute just to catch the bus to/from the parking lot.
  • To throw salt on the wound, the other day when I went to have lunch with my friend G, I found out that faculty and staff get a $1 discount for lunch in the dining hall. I would think that for the slave wages I make as an employee of the university, they could allow graduate assistants a $1 discount on our meals. Sorry, I guess being a student means we can afford to pay higher prices.

Since G is now considered full-time, tenure-track faculty, he loves to make fun of all the stuff they gave him at the beginning of the year. "Hey Dara," he teases, "did you get one of these book bags?" I see his humor in it and it is funny. Still, there is a feeling of being a second class citizen and not being taken seriously. It's also a matter of keeping face with the students -- they seem to respect me for my experience. What would they say if they saw me waiting for the bus while all the other instructors walk to their cars? At this point, I think it would have been better to quit my assistantship and become an adjunct faculty. I think the pay is the same and at least I could buy a parking sticker to park on campus. Of course, this semester the adjuncts don't even have an office to share, much less a computer. At least I have a computer, printer, phone and office that I share with 5 other people. I use this as my rationalization.

Of course, I am not thinking rationally. It's 3:55, almost 45 minutes after I dismissed class, by the time I make it to my car. I am hot and sweaty and crank the air to full blast. I just want to get home. At this point it doesn't matter if the class was good or not. It doesn't matter if I am a student or a teacher. All that matters is to see how fast I can get to Austin and how much of the rush hour traffic I will miss. This wouldn't have been an issue 45 minutes earlier.

1 comment:

SkiTheStars said...

You might want to check out "Rolling GradeBook" at www.swland.org.

Contact me and I'll send a copy for the price of postage and the disk, about $3, if it is something you could use.

I am now busily modifying it to add in an email addy page, thanks for the tip !