another rant…

The same guy keeps coming to my office outside of office hours.  Always when I’m busy (but generally doing something like writing). We even discussed in class why it is important to come during office hours and not outside of office hours.  (Note:  lest you think I’m a horrible selfish person, this is a BIG required core course.  If I let everyone who has just one quick question interrupt me, I would never get tenure.  There is a reason I have office hours, and generous ones.  There’s also a TA for the course they could ask.)

Today I said…
“Have we had this discussion before?”
“… Yes…”
“Is it office hours?”
“… No…”
“What are you supposed to do if you have a question outside of office hours?”
“Ask it on Blackboard”
“So, can I ask you a question now?”
“No.”
Then my phone rang.  Otherwise I would have asked him why he has to know the answer *right now* but it is never important enough for him to put the effort to ask it on Blackboard.  Or important enough to ask during office hours.
It’s like… his time is way more valuable than mine.
Anyhoo… I know I should be all sweet and stuff and say oh, no unfortunately I’m really busy right now, but if you come back during office hours yadda yadda… but man, it gets on my nerves.

Update:  I was teaching my seminar class with the door open (it gets stuffy and claustrophobic without) and the same kid stuck his head in the door and asked if I could help him with his homework from a class I don’t even teach!  During a class discussion that this kid was not in.  Luckily his friend was there and said something to the effect of, “Dude, that’s a class.  She’s in the middle of teaching.”  After my class was over he caught me again, and boy did I chew him out.  His friend (also in my class) helped.  I told him in no uncertain terms that I did not want to see him anywhere near 2pm on Tuesday (his favorite time) this coming week.  (Wed, Thurs, Friday all have office hours and the TA does too.)

What do you do when someone trespasses on your time?

24 Responses to “another rant…”

  1. Sandy L Says:

    Wow..tough one. This kid probably doesn’t even realize how rude he’s being because he’s probably used to just behaving like that at home where the parents dropped everything for him. Good reminder to make my kids wait for stuff despite their incessant whining sometimes.

    If someone calls me to chit chat and I need to get crap done, I just usually tell them, Sorry, can’t talk now. Gotta go. Since Babci can call me 100 times a day when it’s not gardening season, I get plenty of practice.

  2. Jacq @ Single Mom Rich Mom Says:

    Hmm, now I’m wondering if my ex has gone back to school and you’re teaching him ! :-) I also used to have a boss that worked in a time zone 2 hours away. He’d always call at 5 pm my time and want to talk for 2 hours. I paid way too many late fines at daycare because of him… I just stopped answering the phone after 4 p.m.

    FWIW, I’ve found these people (that don’t respect boundaries) can’t be trained long term – but if you just need to get through the semester you probably have to be prepared to sound like a broken record. And maybe if you look at it/him like a psychological experiment it won’t annoy you as much and could even be a bit of fun!

  3. Everyday Tips Says:

    Sounds like you have an admirer!

    I used to work with someone that would not stop talking. Even when I had to leave, he would walk me to my car (in the winter) and would just keep jabbering.

    I think some people will just never get it. I think you are doing exactly what you need to. I love that he even asks about classes you don’t teach! That is gutsy.

  4. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    Ha! No, not an admirer. He’s been lecturing me on how his professors at his PREVIOUS school let him walk in anytime, and isn’t teaching my JOB? And why should HE wait for my office hours when he’s working on my homework NOW? He’s just a user. Makes me want to work from home, except… meetings. Note that he does NOT do this to his male professors, just me.

    Right now the story has gotten around about him walking into my other class (I may have let it slip in class) and everyone is shaming him. Excellent. *muahahaha*

    Oh man, my evals may not be excellent this semester, but my time is way more important.

  5. Roshawn @ Watson Inc Says:

    I typically reiterate my boundaries, provided that I have already informed this person of the breech, I’m not too tired (some people like to argue and when you are already exhausted), and I have the impression that it is not something urgent and important. The person doing the interrupting and the frequency of their interruptions also factor into my decision. Thus, if it is urgent an important because he is irresponsible (typically the case), I’m not as likely to bend. This factored into my decision to not pursue a career in academia!

  6. Becky Says:

    What a selfish jerk. Public shaming might be what is needed for him to realize that the world doesn’t revolve around him and his preferred schedule. No one else gets that privelege, why should he?
    Interesting that it’s a male student who thinks this, and that, as you said, he only does this to you; not to the other male teachers. Would bringing this to his attention work/be worth it, or would it be just dragging other people into it?

  7. Comrade PhysioProf Says:

    Wow..tough one.

    No, this is an easy one:

    You’ve already been told that I do not meet with students outside office hours. You must leave my office now, and do not return outside office hours. Goodbye.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Yes, but when you’ve done that 3 times already and yet he still comes? (And, in fact, he can recite back to you exactly what you said to him those 3 times.) It’s like a mosquito.

      He’s not very bright, I think is kind of the problem.

      So far I haven’t seen him since the rest of my class snickered at him in the last class. So public shaming…

  8. Invest It Wisely Says:

    Use peer pressure and ostracism to put him back in line. Maybe make a mild example out of them. Just don’t be too hard on the poor kid; he’s probably just lacking social skills. You can train him.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Public shaming seems to be working! He just asked when my office hours end. (Some of the students in my office were discussing him earlier… very funny.) :)

      ETA: AND, upon leaving office hours he asked when tomorrow’s were. Then he said, oh wait, I can just look at the syllabus. A miracle!

  9. Donna Freedman Says:

    Yahoo! He’s starting to understand the world does NOT revolve around him, and that he doesn’t get to tell you what your job should be like (i.e., it should cater to his every whim as it occurs).
    I think part of it IS that we’re socialized as women to, well, cater to every whim — and our kids/coworkers/bosses know it. After all, they’ve grown up being cared for by women who put their own needs on the back burner to tend to the needs of others.
    Otherwise, he’d be barging into his MALE teachers’ non-office hours and monopolizing their time.
    Stay tough, is all I can say. You’re actually doing him a favor, whether he likes it or not.

  10. frugalscholar Says:

    Oh, that kid is not respecting you! Explaining to him just gives him more of your time. Can you keep your door open when you have hours and shut when you don’t?

  11. Holly Says:

    Put a blind or shade on the door so that maybe he will think you are not there?

    I thought he might be crushing also … Lol!

    I don’t know why your blunt refusal still wouldn’t drive him away. The public shaming may work in time. Yikes.

  12. Donna Freedman Says:

    Initially I wondered if the young man has some form of Asperger’s. My friend’s kid has it and he doesn’t understand boundaries, nor can he interpret people’s facial expressions as indicators of their moods. (He’s actually taking classes on how to do this!)
    But the fact that he has learned that “no means no” would indicate that he doesn’t have a neurological problem — he’s just entitled and/or clueless.

  13. Money Reasons Says:

    What a high level of arrogance! You should implement a policy where any questions asked after hours will take points off of they grade for the class. I be you won’t see him after than during off office hours!

    Kids sure does sounds annoying! I would never do that to my instructors! This kid must be stupid or have a mega ego!

  14. SonyaAnn Says:

    He seems a little slow. Sorry but he doesn’t seem to be getting it. Maybe try a little louder.
    Have a great weekend if you can get out on time.

  15. Molly On Money Says:

    My desk use to be in a high traffic area. My solution was to put my bright yellow ear plugs in. I could actually hear people but when they saw I had my plugs in they turned right around and walked away. It worked EVERY TIME!

  16. Weekend Reading: Fall Foliage Edition | Invest It Wisely Says:

    […] another rant… (Grumpy rumblings of the untenured) […]

  17. Jacq @ Single Mom Rich Mom Says:

    Hey N&M – have you ever read this author’s work?
    http://genme.livejournal.com/19931.html
    I couldn’t help but think of your situation when I ran across her book / that post.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      ha! no, that looks like a great blog though.

      Recently I had a similar situation with an undergraduate. He sent a brief email asking if he could set up an appointment to talk about a class assignment. After waiting a day I sent him information on my office hours for the next week. Of course, he showed up the last day of office hours 10 minutes after they ended. I sent him packing, but felt guilty about it. But I had 20 min until my next meeting and a class to finish prepping.


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