Thursday, January 29, 2009

Teach-Wear

A quick survey of the FSP archives reveals that I have discussed the general issue of Professorial Attire approximately 8-9 times, most directly in some posts in 2006 (here and here). It is clearly time for another.

Several days each week for the next few months, I have to remember to wear a particular type of garment that allows me to attach a microphone clip somewhere not far from my face. The wireless microphone in the auditorium in which I teach has no other attachment mechanism, and I must use a microphone so that the students who are sitting 0.25 kilometers from the front of the room can hear me.

I have considered rigging up some sort of string-like attachment that I could wear around my neck. These days, many conferences offer string attachments for badges, and this is much more convenient than the old clip-style (or worse, the treacherous safety pin). A string would be much more convenient and would free me from having to spend time in the morning figuring out whether my apparel is mike-appropriate.

Earlier this week I made the Wrong Decision one day and the microphone kept flopping around too much, and it even got tangled in my hair and made horrible scratchy sounds, distracting from my attempt to make an Essential Point. Do I also have to wear my hair in a nice Science Lady bun so that I don't have these issues whilst teaching this term?

I really do like the courses I am teaching this term, but the logistical aspects are proving to be rather severe.

18 comments:

Anne M. Archibald said...

Apparently Jocelyn Bell dubbed that the "male chauvinist pig microphone" problem. The version she was using also required a shirt pocket to put the transmitter in.

lizzyshoe said...

Could you wrap the cord around your neck and attach the mic to itself? Not sure if this would help the positioning or not. Maybe talk to classroom resources about putting a headset mic in the room. It seems like something the university should be concerned about.

Susan B. Anthony said...

I went to a conference recently where the nametags had little double magnets on the back instead of pins. I loved them! No more dorky strings or holes in my nice sweaters. Seems like it shouldn't be too hard for someone to develop something like that for a microphone.

Alternatively, you could get a headset type of thing like the rock stars use. :)

Rachel said...

I have this problem too - in fact it's a major consideration for any professional speaker choosing a working wardrobe.

NSA and NSANZ training advise and switch its radio frequency to the room you are in.

Maybe you could do the same? A nice headset microphone would be far more comfortable.

iayork said...

Do I also have to wear my hair in a nice Science Lady bun so that I don't have these issues whilst teaching this term?

You could wear a hair net, to keep strands of hair from entering the nutritious nuggets of learning you're serving the bright young lined up at the smorgasbord of education.

alh said...

Funny I was just remembering to wear heels today so I can reach the top of the board!

daisy mae said...

you should get a headband-mic... the kind they use in cycling and aerobics classes.... hands-free, doesn't need to clip to anything, and if you get really creative you could use it to hold your hair back!

in all seriousness though, that's a tough one... have you tried keeping 1 or 2 mic-friendly shirts in your office?

dr. dave said...

There is always the Britney/Madonna style headset mic!

http://pro-audio.musiciansfriend.com/product?sku=270389X

profJ said...

I have to jump to reach the cord to pull the screen down, and, as a MSP, it never occurred to me to wear heels. But I think the University would frown on any hint of cross-dressing by its faculty. At least my graph-paper shirts always have a place for the microphone.

Anonymous said...

At one talk I gave, the microphone clip was meant for men's button-down shirts, not women's, so every time I walked, it produced the hissing noise.

butterflywings said...

Ha! Oh the myriad subtle ways society is sexist!

I like Professorish Science Lady buns, though :-) - better than the frizz that is my loose hair.

caroline said...

If it's long enough, wrap it around your neck like a necklace! Don't use a real necklace - one prof did that and all we heard the entire class was the jingling of her charm as it bounced onto the microphone. Grr.

Hmm. I choose what I wear based on how far away the classroom is. If it's far, I don't wear my heels. Also, no skirts in the classroom where I need to stand on a chair to manually turn on the overhead projector...

Thomas Joseph said...

Wear a lab coat with a lapel.

Not Just Academic said...

I once gave a talk where the radio mic had hissing interference whenever I clipped it on, although it was fine when others tried it. It transpired that the underwire in my bra was interfering with the signal... as I tested for myself in a quiet moment the next day.

Apparently, the audiovisual quirks in that room were well-known to local female teaching staff, but not the (male) conference organisers.

Comrade PhysioProf said...

Do I also have to wear my hair in a nice Science Lady bun so that I don't have these issues whilst teaching this term?

Comrade PhysioProf likes nice Science Lady buns.

EuropeanFemaleScienceProfessor said...

(Somehow, I think Comrade PhysioProf has misunderstood something...)

The lab coat is a great idea. Makes you look like a "real" doctor. I usually wear a men's suit jacket - roll up the sleeves, and enjoy a garment with lots of well-placed, deep pockets inside and out. I get them at thrift stores and wear snazzy dresses underneath.

EliRabett said...

You could always use bluetooth (would require the local geek to do a bit of work) The headphone mic idea ain't bad either. Good point tho.

drspouse said...

It's the ones that require clipping on to a belt, when I'm wearing a dress...