Sunday, April 23, 2006

Fan Mail

I am somewhat tempted to write a note/letter to one of my students, just in case he doesn't realize what a spectacular student he is. On one hand, I'm thinking "how could he not?" But then I remembered that academic egos run a pretty wide spectrum; he might not know to what extent he stands out. Especially since he doesn't have the highest average in my class.

He's not one of those "gets a B despite working hard" students (those are never my favorites, as they so often seem a little dull). But he's also cleary not a "math person," and I'm continually surprised by the good-faith attitude that he has despite not loving the material.

Where he stands out is in asking and answering good questions. In small group discussions, large group discussions, and in written submissions he always raises amazingly thoughtful points that consistently stand out from the rest of the class. While some of them might be better at the specific calculations that we do, he excels at careful reading, at synthesizing the information, and at putting it in context. Clearly an all around sharp guy and also quite engaged in the class.

His classroom presence has been so positive that for his project I am letting him teach the class tomorrow! We shall see how that goes and whether my opinion still stands.