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Room For Error

| Learning | March 5, 2015

(All the buildings on campus are assigned a letter of the alphabet, and room assignments are given as the room number followed by the building code letter. For example, ‘212B’ is short for room 212 in the building with the letter code ‘B.’ I teach in Whitehead Hall, which has the letter code ‘A.’ I am hurrying up the stairs on the first day of classes, trying to make it on time to the class I am teaching, when I am stopped on a landing by a very confused and anxious freshman. She is staring at the class schedule she’d gotten from the registrar, looking very upset and perplexed.)

Student: “Excuse me, I can’t find my room anywhere. Can you tell me where room ‘TB’ is in this building?”

(My mind is on my upcoming class and I haven’t been teaching here very long, so I just shrug and say I don’t know before resuming my run up the stairs. Only after I’d gotten another flight up did it suddenly dawn on me what must have happened: the room assignment had never been put into the registrar’s computer, so the classroom was still listed in the system as “to be announced”—TBA. I turn back to clue her in, but the confused student is already long gone. Later I told the story to my colleagues, laughing at my own obtuseness as much as anything.)

Colleague: *with an evil gleam in his eye* “You should have told her it stood for ‘The Basement.'”

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