1.05.2009

The sum and its parts

Someone get daddy a drink; that was a lot of math class. 

Here's what we know: not so many smart kids, but a few. The prof is awesome: dry sense of humor, used verrrry sparingly. He knows the score, and it's Teacher: 1, Students: stupid. He's Greek and has a thick accent, which is charming, and the pitch and timbre of his voice exactly match the father in My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

This class is a survey of all the maths, and it moves fast. We started our journey at 1pm with natural numbers and whole integers, and finished up using the quadratic formula on equations with imaginary numbers. And whole bunches of stuff that didn't look much like math to me in between. I took eight pages of notes.

Here's the thing about me and math. I essentially don't get it, especially anything theoretical or conceptual, but give me the rules and I can play the game. So while everything he said was gibberish, I'm quick enough to sort it out while I take notes and understand how to use it by the time someone needs to raise their hand to be the smart one. That was me, several times. 

There's one exam, the final, and it's only worth 200 points. The remaining 2,000 points come from problems we solve as homework, and sweet fancy MOSES (am I using that right, Elise?) are there a lot of those. But, homework is collected once a week, at the beginning of the week, so I don't have the pressure of processing the shit each and every night. I promise not to wait until the last minute and cram every Sunday.

In addition to the syllabus, we each received a class contract titled We Do Not Allow Classroom Incivilities. The list of incivilities is further broken down into these categories: Disrespectful Interruption, Insolent Inattention, and Cheating. My favorites include
  • Early rush out for no legitimate reason and too often
  • Want to ask a question, but quit in the middle impolitely
  • Talking about irrelevant things
  • Talking too loudly even about relevant things
  • Ostentatiously looking out of the window
I love this man. I don't love the class, but I am, after one session, not dreading going back tomorrow. He's fair, smart, and knows how to explain the subject clearly (even though I thought he might cry at one point: he showed us a handy shortcut for solving some kind of equation and we all stared at him, wondering why we couldn't just use a calculator). Which we can't, by the way. Ever. And we have to show all our work for every problem. Which I suppose makes sense if you're into math. Which I'm not. At one point he remarked that if we were all just going to use calculators there would really be no point in taking the class, to which the woman behind me muttered, "That's my point exactly." I could have sworn it was Erin

Another bonus: the class is scheduled from 1-4pm, five days a week. We will always go the full time, but we don't have class on Fridays so that we can work on our problems. If he had any idea the full scope of my problems he'd cut it short on Thursday, too.

So, in conclusion: 1 math class down, 16 remaining. I will amaze you with some math problem-solving at a later time. I plan to amaze myself now at the speed with which I polish off this cocktail.

4 comments:

rootbeerlady said...

Sounds like you are a lucky man to have found such a teacher. Usually being good at math and being a good teacher of math are not related. Excellent.

Is this on the list of incivilities? Asking a question but falling asleep before the teacher finished answering it. That happened to John (the teacher) and no, he said it wasn't an extremely long answer.

Meema said...

Would your prof include iPhone photography and surreptitious blogging during class as incivilities, or would he find them terribly civil?

Nice jaerb on the SFM usage!

(His personality sounds a bit like a male version of Prof K.)

Scott Rohr said...

In my defense, I blogged before class began, and on the break. Not during.

Tom said...

Sounds like a math class you'll be able to ace like everything else you do.

We do need a picture of Dr. Kyriakos. Post it post haste, please.