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Unfiltered Story #247755

, , | Unfiltered | November 15, 2021

As a teaching assistant, I lead discussion sections on Fridays in addition to the professor’s lectures. On the first day, I hand out a discussion section syllabus–it’s just one page with three class rules and, at the top, my name, email address, office location, and the dates and times for my office hours with a note saying “Or by appointment.” I draw a box around this information and make it bold. After one of my sections, a student comes up to me, still holding the syllabus in their hand.
Student: When are your office hours?
Me: Mondays and Thursdays, from 2 to 4. They’re listed right there on the syllabus. *pointing*
Student: And where are they?
Me: *still pointing* In this building, Office 789, just two floors up from here.
Student: I don’t think I can make those.
Me: That’s okay. Email me and we can figure out a different time.
A week later, I get an email from the student.
Student: Hi, [my name]. When are your office hours?
I was a little annoyed at this point, because my university email address is unusual, and hard to guess if you only know my name. In order to reach the right person, the student must either have a pretty good memory–which doesn’t seem likely at this point–or literally have the syllabus in front of them.
Me: Hi, [Student]. My office hours are Monday and Thursday, 2-4, as listed on the syllabus. I’ve attached a digital copy in case you’ve lost yours.
Student: And where are they held?
Me: Usually they’re in my office, [Building Name] Office 789. However, this Monday is a holiday, so the building will be closed; if you want to meet Monday, we can meet in the lobby of the library.
Student: Okay. I can’t make your regular office hours–can we meet on Monday at 2 PM instead?
I agree, and politely decline to point out this is the exact time my regular office hours start. To my surprise and relief, the student does show up at the library, on Monday, at 2 PM, and we have a productive meeting. A week and a half later, the professor tells the class that their first quiz is coming up, and I get another email from the same student.
Student: Hi [My Name]. I could really use some help studying for this quiz. Are you going to be hosting your usual Saturday morning office hours in the library this week?

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