Sunday, February 7, 2016

Office hours

As settlers moved west across what is now the United States, towns would get started here and there. They need judges and physicians and dentists and other services but were too small to support them full time. One solution was circuit riding, where someone had a usual pattern of visits.  They might be in A-ville on Monday and B-ville on Wednesday.

I was impressed when a local Lutheran pastor said she was on her way for her downtown office hours.  I asked her if she had an office downtown, since I know that her church is several miles in the other direction. She said she held office hours in a central coffee shop.  I could see her in my mind's eye talking to anyone interested about any aspect of life.  Since she is often at her office in her church building and also keeps hours downtown, I got to thinking about circuit riding.  We have doctors locally who have hours in this town and in others.

Even in the UWSP School of Education, we have circuit riding of a sort.  Part of teacher training is a semester where the student teacher works in the classroom of a teacher, moving from periphery to solo teaching.  While those days are going on, a student teaching supervisor from the School of Education will visit, observing the student teacher in action and conferring with her about how the experience is going.  Most student teachers are young people in their early twenties.  That is a period of self-development and discovery anyhow but the semester of student teaching is full of opportunities to see one's self and life in general through new eyes. So, the circuit-riding supervisor may encounter some high emotions during those classroom visits.

It seems that small town coffee bars and unused office space would be a good place for office hours for professionals of several kinds.  Could I set up one of the tables with my homemade spaghetti sauce, trying to sell it?  Can I offer geography lessons?  I bet I could interest people in the use of their iPads, with maybe a couple of used ones there for sale.

I am beginning to see a version of the farmers' market with coffee, tea, beer or wine available.

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