Organised chaos

10 September, 2008

I’m one of the demonstrators for a third-year module on OOP, and they had their first lab sesson today.

  • 9pm on Tuesday: Mel tells me that the TA is away this week and asks me to fill in.
  • 9.45am on Wednesday: go and check that the lab is ready, only to discover it’s been booked out for a conference.
  • 9.47am: check the relocation lists. Nothing there.
  • 9.49am: check with conference organisers that, yes, the room is definitely needed.
  • 9.51am: recheck email. Lab is definitely a) on and b) in that room.
  • 9.53am: check other third-year labs. All booked out.
  • 9.55am: go to Mel’s office for advice. He’s not in.
  • 9.57am: ask Patricia (compsci administrator and general Important Looking Pirate) for help. She suggests moving it to a first year lab upstairs.
  • 9.59am: find first year lab, which contains some of the OOP students and one of the other demonstrators. How this happened remains a mystery to me.
  • 10.01am: introduce self and hold quick strategy meeting.
  • 10.03am: go back downstairs and scribble an update on the relocation lists.
  • 10.05am: ask conference organisers to redirect lost students to new room. Soon there is a steady stream of students arriving at the lab.

    Redirection, old-school style

    Redirection, old-school style

  • 10.07am: lab now running smoothly. Help with installation of Eclipse, CDT, JRE and OOP coding. See at least one instance of punch-the-air-yessssss-my-code-works. This feels good.
  • 10.55am: sudden influx of more students who stand about looking confused.
  • 10.56am: interrogate newcomers. They’ve been redirected here for a lecture. This is supposed to be a two-hour lab.
  • 10.57am: quick strategy meeting with other demonstrators. Decide to wait for lecturer and see if the two can run concurrently.
  • 11.02am: lecturer arrives, takes one look at the situation and orders all our students out. “But we have a lab!” they complain. “No you don’t,” he retorts. We concede defeat. This feels rubbish.
  • 11.05am: relay events to Mel and suggest rescheduling remaining lab time.

Here’s hoping that next week runs a little more smoothly, and involves less running up and down the stairs.



  1. As a recap, Lecturers > Demonstrators > Students

  2. I like that undergrads and lemmings are synonymous….

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 )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ 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 )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: