Getting Settled In–and Getting Some Work Done!

OK, I admit that I have been a bit jealous of the math professor a few cubicles down.  It seems there isn’t a day (or even an hour) that goes by that his students aren’t visiting his office for advice and support.  He patiently pours over their work, giving advice, asking questions, and enjoying some jokes.  He’s very amiable, and extremely kind.  If he were my math professor, I would probably visit him too–math isn’t my best subject, after all, and he seems so welcoming and supportive to his students!

“What am I doing (or not doing) that makes my students stay away?” I think.  Well, to be honest, maybe they aren’t “staying away. ”  Maybe they just have somewhere else to be . . . but still.  I wonder if I am being welcoming enough, if I am being supportive enough.  Or, maybe my students are so fulfilled, so well prepared for my lessons that they don’t feel the need to come see me. (Ha!  HaHaHaha!!  Yeah, right.)

So, what should I think about this office-hour king of the cubicles? Should I compare myself to him, or is he just an overwhelming exception?  I did have two students visit me so far, and another call and talk to me.  I guess that’s not too bad.  I mean, there must be some professors that never see a student all semester.  Perhaps I am just too sensitive to this whole issue.  It doesn’t seem to bother anyone else that they are alone during their office hours.  I guess I should just let this go.

I am getting some valuable work done during that time.  I have written a grant, so far, and gotten pretty far in the planning of a conference with that grant money.  And, I do spend a lot of my time alone preparing for my future classes.  I’m posting and writing and editing and grading–and, for one of the first times in 20 years of teaching, I feel pretty good about getting my students’ work back to them quickly.  That’s quite an accomplishment for an English teacher with five classes.

So, maybe I shouldn’t feel so bad about being all alone while I watch my colleague cheerfully and competently assisting so many fresh-faced math students.  Maybe he is looking over at me thinking, “What am I doing wrong that all these students are coming to me every day?”

Nah.  I don’t think so.  He’s just an amazing teacher, and that’s great.  Really.

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