Sometimes I wonder if I exhibiting the behavior of a professional or Grade A jerk.
Example: I handed out take home exams to a set of my classes last Tuesday. I informed them that they could not turn it in early and that they had to turn it in on the day of the exam. I did this so I would not have people dropping by my office at all times of the day, sliding it under the door, trying to turn it in early in class, etc. I have to keep track of these tests and the simplest way for me to do it is by setting a firm date and collect it all at once. I also told them they could not email it to me and it had turned in face to face.
So, today I am returning to my office after going to the restroom down the hall and as I approach I notice my door is wide open. I usually close it when I step out or at least leave it partially cracked. As I am wondering why my door is open as I step into the doorway I notice a student standing in the corner of my office. My first thought is did he enter a closed office.
He then asks me can he turn in his test right now because he won’t be able to come to class this Thursday because he has to “be somewhere.” I told him no he would not be able to and that I am only accepting them on Thursday at the time of his class. I then offer him the option of allowing someone else to turn it in for him but I can’t be held accountable for someone else turning in his work…. He said okay and left.
The entire time I was saying no I was wondering if I was being a jerk. However at the same time, he misses class often and once told me he overslept as an excuse for missing class. He even missed the class when the test was handed out and tried to have someone else pick it up.
Now that I have written this out I realize that I wasn’t quite being a jerk. I was probably reflexively reacting to his past behavior….. and he did invite himself into my empty office unannounced.
You know I often forget that I have a Ph.D. and sometimes I don’t even pay attention to the fact that I am an assistant professor. Even though my students address me as doctor (occassionally) and professor (some prefer Mr. as if they are still in high school), I am sometimes ambivalent to my accomplishments.
However, in class today I had a group giving their last presentation on the Uses and Gratifications Approach, which is often used in Mass Communication as a tool to understand how people use mass media. While they were presenting I had an epiphany. I remembered that as a doctoral student I had taken a class or seminar that dealt with the Uses and Gratifications Approach for an entire semester.
With only five of us as students and one professor, who was a pioneer in the field, we dissected, discussed and ballyhooed the Uses and Gratifications Approach twice a week, one and a half hour sessions or longer, for four mounths….
As my students discussed the theory (or approach) and as I realized that I was already intimately familiar with the information or it ‘rang a bell,” I realized, damn, I deserve my title of Assistant Professor. I have put in the time and in fact spent almost 5 years in a Mass Communication Ph.D. program learning how to be a researcher, writer and professor. While I was listening to their presentations I couldn’t help but think of all the research I conducted as a grad student, books and academic articles I’ve read, etc. I even taught at least 25 courses during my time as a doctoral student and candidate.
I often forget in my day to day activities, but I have to start remembering why I went after a Ph.D. and I need to make sure I keep putting it to use. For me that means research….
I have been keeping it under wraps, but I have a new blog, Jiu-Jitsu 365 http://jiujitsu365.wordpress.com/ . I have taken on a challenge to perform Jiu-jitsu for 365 continuous days and to see what happens. Of course I have to be smart about it but I have been at it for over 2 weeks straight now and I’ve seen significant results…
Check it out at: http://jiujitsu365.wordpress.com/ , offer some advice or encouragement or just enjoy the content….