From my pseudo-scientific, statistically invalid poll yesterday, it seems clear that students are a lot more comfortable about sharing a campus recreation facility with professors than we professors are about exercising with our students. > 90% of students like or don't mind encountering their professors at the rec center, whereas a majority of faculty either avoid campus rec centers entirely or go anyway, despite preferring to be in a less student-dominated environment.
One of my colleagues commented that it would have been interesting if the poll had been further divided by gender, but I deliberately kept the poll quite general just to get a first-order idea of how people feel about faculty and students sharing campus rec center facilities.
Note: If you haven't voted yet, the polls are still open! If you are a grad student who teaches, vote in the 'faculty' poll (and thanks to the commenter who brought this up).
Why are professors so much less comfortable about being at a student-dominated rec center? Hypotheses (not necessarily mine), some of which were touched on in yesterday's post, include:
Hypothesis 1 - Many professors aren't comfortable interacting with students (and others?) outside the classroom/lab milieu.
Hypothesis 2 - A corollary: In a classroom, professors are in control (or, at least, we think we are) -- we are knowledgeable and we set the rules. At the rec center, we are in a totally different situation, and some/many might find it embarrassing to be seen sweating on an elliptical trainer or treadmill.
Hypothesis 3 - Professors are typically older than students, and we are reluctant to put our aging bodies on display to the extent that we have to in a gym/pool/locker room setting.
Hypothesis 4: We so dislike (or are tired of) the surprised reaction of students encountering us in a non-classroom setting that we avoid places where this is likely to occur. As we are always teaching different students, there is an endless supply of those who will be shocked that we have emerged from our professor lairs to mingle with real people.
Hypothesis n: ?? (leave a comment if your reason for not wanting to work out with your students is missing)