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My wife and I teach at different universities. This is the first year that we have run into a timetabling conflict that makes dropping our son off at school difficult. The conflict involves wife's 200+ person lecture that is centrally timetabled in a lecture hall that is in near constant use and my 30 person lab in a relatively unused computer lab. It is unlikely that any type of changes could be made to my wife's class that would help with the conflict. I teach one of 8 sections of the lab. While all the sections occur on the same day they happen in a number of computer labs which have some unused time on that day. I would like to see if I can reschedule, or adjust the schedule, of my teaching. The lab is scheduled to start at 9:00. My son's school starts at 9:00 and I could start teaching at 9:30. Who do I approach and what do I ask for?

I feel like I could try and swap sections with someone else (mine is the only section that starts at 9:00) or I could also ask the organizer for the lab if I can move my section. Is there another option? What is the best way to approach this?

  • I'm neither a parent nor a university professor so maybe I don't understand the gravity of situation. With that being said, how about taking your son to school half an hour earlier? – Pouya Sep 12 '14 at 10:29
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    @Pouya in the UK (as well as the US, and probably many other countries), you cannot just leave your child outside school unattended, especially a 5 year old like my son. – StrongBad Sep 12 '14 at 10:34
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    @StrongBad I would add this to the question. In Austria, you could easily drop off children at least one hour before school started (with supervision, of course), so it is not a given that that's not possible. – xLeitix Sep 12 '14 at 10:54
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    @StrongBad, I see. I suggest you add the age to the question. In my place it is part of school life to be there half an hour earlier to socialize with other kids or prepare for the classes (granted that school principals are already there). – Pouya Sep 12 '14 at 11:16
  • Does the kindergarten have any zero period activities? Did you look into before-school daycares near the school? – Village Sep 12 '14 at 12:41
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I don't think you can ask to move the start of your lab section. As in the other related question about class times, those times are fixed by the university and not really movable without lots of notice. Your best bet is to get together (physically or virtually) with the other section teachers and find someone willing to switch with you. Then you can propose it to the lab organizer.

Outside your university, you might see if there's a friend or neighbor you trust who can drop your kid at school or a way to arrange with the school to drop your child half an hour early. It can't hurt to ask them.

  • What I was trying to say is my lab is locally timetabled by the department and not centrally timetabled by the university. Our term has not yet started and the students do not know their lab section yet so changing it should be relatively easy and not disrupt students planning, since we haven't let them plan yet. – StrongBad Sep 12 '14 at 12:46
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    OH! You should definitely see if it can be moved if no one wants to swap with you! – Bill Barth Sep 12 '14 at 13:04
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    I don't have constraints like getting a child to school, but I routinely (perhaps once a year) ask the department head for schedule adjustments because the adjustment will make my life easier. They've always been granted. – Bob Brown Sep 12 '14 at 14:15
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I assume getting a baby sitter or a before-school childcare is not an option? In our case, we have the children signed up in the before and after-school program on as needed basis.

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