EducationPop Quiz

Pop Quiz: Temperature Control!

This past week I took a look at my work clothes to assess whether or not I need a few more short sleeve shirts and cardigans in my wardrobe. Every new semester it is a crap shoot as to whether I will be dying of heat or freezing to death in my classrooms. The temperature controls are never comfortable. In the hallways it may be sub-zero yet in the classrooms it is a sauna. I may teach in one room that the Sun has been blaring into the windows all day and then the next classroom I go to I deal with a meat locker.  The temperature never reaches a happy medium.

I remember when I was in high school there was no air conditioning at all. We were just hot and we dealt with it.  It never stayed that way for too long but it was a pain in the butt. No one could concentrate on the lessons and the teachers were extra grouchy.  I remember one class I had in my sophomore year where the teacher brought in three box fans just to move the air around. She couldn’t lecture over the noise so she assigned reading assignments and we were told not to move too much.

What is super awesome is that most of the time when I call the heating and cooling people they move on the problem at a snails speed or I am told that’s just the way the room is because of where it is located in the building there is nothing that can be done. Perhaps if I cook an egg on the floor someone will get the hint?

How is the temperature in your room(s)? Can you get the students to concentrate in uncomfortable temperature settings? How far have you gone to alleviate the problem?

The Pop Quiz is a question posed to you, the Scholars of Doubt. Look for it on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in the afternoon (ET).

Featured Image:   Temperature Today, Hastings Weather Station by Nigel Chadwick

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JoDee is an adjunct faculty instructor of astronomy and physics at various colleges around her hometown in the midwest. When she is not trying to get her cat, Pixel, off of her laptop she is observing variable stars and researching black holes.


  1. September 7, 2014 at 6:44 pm —

    Our buildings have essentially two settings: boiling or arctic. The students generally come prepared with layers to remove or add as needed, as do the professors. The underlying reasons are the primitive boiler and air handling systems in the “old” buildings and the gremlins in the new ones. I personally prefer arctic and often deliberately make that happen as it is easier to keep students focused and not pass out myself. Our maintenance people do their best but there really is so much that they can do with what they have access to. I have contemplated chicken sacrifices to the gremlins, but…

    • September 7, 2014 at 6:57 pm —

      Do gremlins eat chicken? I know they eat tires.

  2. September 8, 2014 at 5:54 pm —

    The only air conditioning in my building is in the offices and the computer labs. There is a classroom that gets direct morning sun and has the hot water pipes that run along its wall that reaches over a 100 degrees on hot days, it got up to 103 oF when the outside temp was 95 oF. I thank who ever had the fore-sight to plant a tree outside my window 20 years ago since that is the only reason why my room was a cool 93 degrees that day. In the winter they set the heat to I think 67 oF, just barely at the comfortable level with multi-layers of clothes. It does not help that I have stone lab tables that are just heat sinks and since the thermostat is set to just above pipe freezing temp over night my room is perpetually cold. Though this is a lovely turn of evens in the spring during the heat. My room is able to remain comfortable for 1 day into the heat.

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