Excuse Me, Your Ignorance is Showing

Ignorance in Academia | New Faculty


I never fail to be surprised by the things that people and colleagues say to me without thinking. Admittedly, I’m also guilty of living in my own little world, so fear not, I’m not without my own judgement of myself from time to time here. I share the three antecdotes below as a lesson to my peers, my graduate school readers, and my colleagues. Don’t be like these people. 😀 

I deliver lots of professional development (PD) as part of my job. I love it (truth). We bring in folks to help us out, sort out curriculum, and get all the teachers ready to deliver. It’s a fun part of the job (truth). The last set of PD was equally good and I’m excited to implement a new curriculum to the middle school students.

Someone who had come in to help out with the PD had forgot several (and key) things. She looked at me and asked if I knew anyone who could ‘do all this stuff for her in the next hour?’


My reply was simple, “no, b/c everyone I know is at work.”

I told her I could do it during the lunch break if she could be patient. She could not be patient.

Her reply, “you don’t any friends who don’t work?”


“No one who could just run out and do this right now?”


What assumption was she making? Do we all have people who stay home? That’s ok, but guess what? Everyone in my age demographic is working their ASS OFF in this game and I’m really proud to say that! Friends who don’t “work” are running their house holds and asking them to pack up kids for a few items was not the kind of favor I was going to ask.


Fast forward another week. A grad student stopped me in the hall as I was closing my office door on a Friday afternoon. “Hey doc, you heading out for the weekend?”

“No, I have meetings for the next four hours straight dear grad student.”

“You guys (the faculty) are never here, are you working?”

“Yes, we don’t like interruptions….”


The same grad student about 3 days later sent me an email requesting a meeting “as soon as possible.”

My reply, “I’m free on Monday at 7 p.m.”

“7 p.m. is too late in the day for me.”

“7 p.m. is my earliest appointment as I finish my other commitments around 6:30, it’s the best I can do.”

“Ok, i guess so…..”

In academia and in life, we often draw a mass set of assumptions about people, circumstances, and life. Even if that’s not our ‘reality’ at this moment-it’s important to take it into account, even if it’s not YOUR experience at this moment. I’m not upset that my colleague assumed I knew people who were at home eating bon bon’s, waiting for me to call them, I grew irritated because she kept pushing the issue and started to behave poorly when she wasn’t going to get what she wanted immediately after realizing her mistake. I grew impatient with the grad student who thought that the faculty aren’t working if we’re not sitting in our offices and that my schedule was so massively inconvenient for him.

A little tolerance anyone?

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: