Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Top 5 Tips for Leaving a College Classroom Ready for the Next Professor

College profs are nomads.  Our classes are often in different rooms each semester.  Plus, with widely variable schedules, each semester brings new experiences about how we find our rooms when we walk in--especially if one teaches late in the day.
Don't leave your classroom boards looking like this.
Click for photo credit.

I tend to teach late in the afternoon, so my classrooms are used by several professors and their classes by the time I take over for my hour and a half.  In most cases, I have found classrooms totally clean and ready to go.  However, in other cases, I have found classrooms less than ready for productive work.  So, today, I present to you my top tips for how to leave a classroom in good shape for the next professor.

Pick up a messy classroom before you leave.
Click for photo credit.
1.  Stop on time.  It takes me about 5 minutes or so to load my power point slide and get myself together once I enter a classroom.  I usually try to show up 5-10 minutes early so I am ready to go when class is scheduled to start.  However, I've had some semesters when the prof before me regularly went on through the 10 minute break period between classes and ended just when I should be starting.  When this happens, it takes time for students to exit and time for my students to get settled and thus puts me behind 5-10 minutes after the class start time.  Some profs also linger into the next class time in the classroom to talk to students in the classroom without logging off of the projector system or without making an attempt to clear the lecture podium. 

2.  Clean the workspace before leaving.  One semester I had a prof before me who always left student papers, half filled coffee cups, and various sticky substances on the prof workspace.  It was really quite gross and inconsiderate.  I spoke to her about it, and it got better for a while but it kept happening.  I eventually just started throwing everything away.

3.  Clean the whiteboard.  Before one class I taught several years ago, a math prof wrote across the three-tier whiteboard, filling every space.  He left without cleaning it, leaving me with a mess to clean up and hands and clothes stained black from the massive amount of ink he used.  I wrote to him about it and he was very apologetic and it never happened again.

4.  Deal with problems.  I've walked into classrooms with overflowing stinky garbage, spills, broken heating systems, and projectors that don't work.  In each case, the previous prof didn't contact the appropriate party to try to solve the problem.
With all of the to go containers and coffee cups on campuses
the garbage in classrooms is sometimes out of control.
Click for photo credit.

5.  Put seats back in order.  Many profs like to use group work in their classroom.  In doing so, the room order gets out of line and chairs and desks become disordered.  I've walked into classrooms that were a disaster from group work when the prof didn't have the consideration to put it back into shape before leaving.

I am sure that I've caused profs that follow me great consternation when I left a classroom, so I don't want my readers to think that I'm without sin.  However, I thought I would provide some suggestions.  Am I missing anything?  If so, please add it in the comments section.

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