12 January 2009

New semester.

I'm teaching in a basement classroom that must have been a storage room at some point. Low ceilings, floors with lumps beneath the carpet (seriously, it's as if they simply rolled some carpet out over a bare dirt floor and said done with it -- I nearly tripped waltzing around the classroom), and some bizarre paneling like it was someone's mid-70's basement rec-room redo.

However, the absolute best thing about the room is that when I stand at the podium with built in computer console, my ass hits the blackboard. My back is quite literally against the wall in this class. So I need to watch my use of chalk, lest I end up powdering all my clothes. Additionally, the podium is placed so that, unless I contort my body and lean further into my little corner, I'm blocking about a fifth of the screen when I use the LCD projector.

I suppose I shouldn't complain, since I do have a computer and LCD projector, but I have almost no room to roam at the front of the classroom, and I like to roam. I like to move from side to side in front of the rows. In this class, I have about ten feet to move across. That's three, four paces, then I'm up against either my immobile podium or the extra student desk they crammed into the front of the room.

Does anyone take classroom design into account when they're counting on how many tuition paying students they can cram into a space?


asia said...

I have worked in some really awkward classroom like the one you described. Good luck, at least you dont have a couple of interpreters jockying for space in the front of the class.

JES said...

Sounds like Milton in Office Space. (Don't tell us they took your red Swingline stapler, too!)

Not sure which would feel more soul-sucking to me -- this, or one of those gigundo lecture halls with nominally 100% enrollment but 50% empty seats. But yeah, this one would drive me crazy in short order.

When I was teaching high school I was a roamer, too, and constantly doodled on the blackboard. I have no idea how my students took any notes or, for that matter, even if they took GOOD notes how they made any sense of them later.

In retrospect, those students were awfully nervous.