Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Annoyed at My Colleague

Dear MAA, 
I just started a position at a new college. When I was teaching as a graduate student, it was expected that you would leave the remnants of your lecture on the blackboard at the conclusion of class. Last week I had a colleague yell at me, in front of students, that I was rude for not erasing the blackboard. Who is correct?
Annoyed at My Colleague

Dear Annoyed, 
There are many correct answers to this question. Blackboard etiquette and etiquette about how to leave the classroom at the conclusion of a lecture varies from school to school. While at your graduate school it was normal to leave your lecture on the board, at many places it is typical to erase the board at the conclusion of your lecture.

It was definitely inappropriate for your colleague to yell at you, especially if you are new to the campus and especially in front of students. It would have been much more appropriate for your colleague to mention to you that things are different in your new department and explain the expectations there.

However, you should try to pay attention to what others do at the conclusion of their classes and leave the classroom in a state like you found it at the beginning of your class.

This question was answered in the August/September issue of MAA FOCUS.

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