Office Hours

We are obliged to hold office hours so that we are available for our students to meet us for questions and information. So every Tuesday I hold office hours from 9.30 to 10.30. This covers part of a break (9.30-9.45), so people who need signatures are sure to be able to drop by. I publish the times on my door and my web site.

I try to arrive by 9.15. I hang up my coat, make a cup of tea, water the plants. I dust my desk, collect up all the pens that got themselves strewn in the course of the week. I file papers, sort through administrivia, sign certificates. In general, no students come. Sometimes I get a telephone call, and today I even had a Master's student drop by to chat about her research topic. I generally hang out until lunch time, as there is a lot of administrative things to be seen to.

The moment I have my coat on and lock the door, people dash up. "Could I have your signature quick?" On the way over to lunch "Do you have time for a question?" After class I have six emails requesting information, two want me to print out something for them, sign it, put it in an envelope and walk down to the mail dropoff on the second floor. No, I don't have a secretary.

Office hours are times when I promise to be there for the students, but it doesn't fit their work schedules, it seems. So why do we keep up the pretense? Okay, my desk gets sorted out once a week. That's good.

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