As I’m writing this, I’m trying to watch a video online for my next class. I’m in my cubicle. I should correct myself; I’m in our cubicle, the one I share with about 13 other adjuncts. At my community college, we sign up for times to hold our required office hours. Now is my time.
I can see the video fine, but I can’t hear it. My neighbor, whom I’ve never met, is obviously trying to find a video for her class. She probably teaches a foreign language; the videos she’s watching are in another language. Maybe Spanish? I’m not sure, but I do know it’s loud and distracting.
I got the corner spot in a row of free-standing cubicles. They are about 8-feet tall, but don’t reach all the way to the ceiling. They are only lit by the florescent overhead lights in the hallway, save for a few desk lamps “donated” (or forgotten) here and there by other adjuncts.
In our office are two, three-drawer filing cabinets. All of the drawers have names on them. That’s why I keep my things in a stack on my desk, which is more table than desk. I keep my really important items in my bag and in my car; usually I can find them when I need them. Usually. I get to use the computer for a few hours, and I get to use other resources, like the telephone, so it’s not all bad. I even have my own semi-secure file on the computer where I can keep saved documents.
But sometimes I think it’d be nice to be able to sit here for longer than my allotted time and finally finish grading that stack of papers; instead, I have to leave when my “shift” is up. And wouldn’t it be nice to be able to put a poster on the wall, something that is all about me, about my personality? It seems that if I were more comfortable in this office, that would translate into the classroom. Also, it sure would be nice to meet with students in confidence, knowing that our conversations would only be between us and not easily heard through the thin, fabric divider.
Right now, what I would really like is something that seems so basic: a wall. I would really like to be able to hear the video I’m trying to watch rather than my neighbor’s.