Friday, April 15, 2005

This Does Not Require Form 1099-B*

Last night I made a deal: he would do my taxes on TurboTax, and I would do his Thursday evening office hours. I thought that I was getting the good end of the deal; even though his class had homework due today, they had an exam on Wedneday (which should have had them all mathed out for the week). And it was just some flavor of calculus, anyway. I brought the textbook for my class for pre-service teachers and hoped to plan my lesson.

A few minutes into office hours, a student shows up. A student so desirous of knowledge of calculus (or, rather, how to do the calculus homework) that he was willing to talk to me (an imposter!) instead of his professor.

Bad news. Not just some flavor of calculus, but multivariable calculus. And it being near the end of the semester, anything could happen, as I believe there is a theorem about multivariable calculus classes diverging after triple integrals. Worse news: both times that I took multivariable calculus and the only time I taught it, we skipped the section on coordinate transformations and change of variables out of a single-minded insistence that we MUST get to line integrals by the end of the course. So you can guess what happened. Fortunately, the student had made some progress on the problems, and I was able to ask leading questions ("What did you do here?" or "Why do you know that's true?" etc.) and to find his mistakes.

Other bad news: didn't get much planning done for the pre-service teachers. However, with their exam scores, I knew that I had to give the course evaluations BEFORE I returned the exams, so I bought myself some time by having them fill out the evaluation forms at the beginning of class. The topic of the day was Pythagorean Theorem, which I've taught many times before, so I resurrected some classic examples; we will prove it at least 3 different ways on Monday.

In the good news file, I only owed an additional $246 in taxes.

*This was an informal exchange on a non-commercial basis, so it did not qualify as a Barter Exchange.