a rant about classrooms
So, last night one of my graduate classes met for the first time for well over three hours in a basement room of a hideous building. The ceiling was ripped out, so the narrow room had this increasingly claustrophobic affect, with all of the exposed air ducts, hanging wires, and flickering fluorescent lights. In a word, it was hellish. If I hadn’t already been on campus for ten hours, I probably would have appreciated the Brazilian aspects of it more.
But I’ve been thinking. What the heck is up with college classrooms? Maybe I’m just a victim of big institutions, but they overwhelming, vast majority of classrooms I’ve ever been in are frickin’ butt ugly. Especially for those of us that they keep patting on the head and telling us we’re here to “become better artists” (note: aka, no job prep), I think we deserve better. I’m not demanding the Louvre, but surely some aesthetic appreciation is warranted. Is it that impossibly hard to have even a starbucks-like workspace, rather than a Folsom Prison atmosphere? I’d buy coffee for every class if they gave me a nice chair and some color to look at (let alone a window).
And I don’t drink coffee.
Is everyone else just numb to the horrors of their learning environment after years of mind-numbing lines of concrete, drop ceilings, and flickering lights? If so, chalk one up for homeschooling. My “school room” had art on the walls and windows to look out.
Or is it an inherent flaw only in “higher” education, due to the clamor for multi-use workspace? If so, I think it’s a flawed model, at least for the humanities. Why can’t we have dedicated workspace? Why can’t my classroom look like the offices of my professors? Bookshelves at least would be an improvement over the rat-like subterranean warren of cells and halls where I’ve spent the better part of four (going on five) years.
And for those of you that went to mundo-expensive, small, liberal arts colleges and lounged around in oak chairs while staring out leaded-glass windows, fingering the pipe in your pocket…I don’t want to hear from you.
After all, suffering is supposed to produce better artists, so my book is going to be better than yours.