Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Back Again

I'm back again. I do tend to have these lapses as things get busy, but I think I'm justified this time. I spent the last five weeks with a double summer session load, teaching for about two hours in the morning and three hours in the evening on Monday through Thursday. Then spending two and a half hours in office hours each afternoon, to which some of my students actually came on a regular basis. I had to resist the tendency for it to become "The professor does your homework for you" afternoons. We had a prof in grad school who was famous for that, actually. When I am relatively rested and alert, homework questions always turn into "20 questions from the Prof", which start with "What are they asking you to do here?" and end with "And does that answer the question we started with?" Very Socratic of me. When I am worn out, my answer tends to more sound more like "take the limit; watch your algebra; you'll get 13/4.")

We did not end up on strike, although we have yet to see (and vote to approve) the final agreement. At least I got to finish my session without interruption. It felt rushed regardless. (I still seriously can't believe anyone can learn calculus in three hours a day, four nights a week.)

And since I'm not teaching, I can just be amused at hearing the students streaming by my open door in the hallway this morning on the way out of a quiz, saying:
"It probably would have helped if I'd done my homework."
"Yeah--I just put down whatever I thought it might be."
Ah, the wonderful sounds of Not-My-Problem. In fact, I've had a passably good afternoon. I think I've even proved something, which makes me feel like a real mathematician. (I ran across an interesting probability problem in considering the distribution of candy in my candy bowl just before the session started, and I've partly solved it now. But the bowl is empty now, so maybe I won't get any more inspiration.) And thank goodness I did, because one of the things I still have to do this summer is get something published.

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