Wednesday, April 4, 2007

By Appointment Only: The Futility of Office Hours

Being a minor government official (okay, it's student government, but you could probably guess that), I am required to hold office hours once weekly. I come to our little basement office every week for my 1/2 hour (I know, that's ridiculously short!) and balance my checkbook, write my blog, catch up on emails, make my lists and generally do things to help organize my life. I occasionally answer the locked door to allow students to come in and send a fax - I think I can count the number of times I've done this on two fingers.

I understand the reasoning behind SGA members holding office hours and I actually appreciate that I have a scheduled time set aside to write this blog and balance my checkbook as I consider these essential tasks that I might not otherwise have time for, but I can't help but consider this a bit of an exercise in futility.

Because I read the SGA minutes on my email whenever they arrive, I don't have to spend my 30 minutes doing that and no other members with whom I share business are available to visit with me during my hours, so I can't work on our committee projects. Students rarely come into the office on any business other than the very rare faxing which doesn't actually require my presence for anything more than unlocking the door and while the fax machine may require protecting, it seems like keeping it stationed in the always manned library may actually serve students better.

Moreover, with my goals of being an educator in future, I question the use of office hours amongst faculty members. I rarely visit my professors or other faculty members during their office hours, preferring to pester them during the 10 minute breaks we have between hours of class or hounding them at the end of class as they attempt to flee the scene. I wonder if other students visit these professors during their office hours or if they spend their hours catching up on email and blogging about that annoying student who chased them down the hall at the end of the last class?

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