Monday, October 08, 2007

Self-Destructive Decadence

Don't worry about my recent silence in this space. Nothing terrible has happened. I haven't been a victim of our recent on-campus crime spree (five violent crimes in a week!). It's not that the students in the Calculus Circus have miraculously gained the ability to accuratetly differentiate basic functions, leaving me with nothing to write about. (Rather, some of them seem incapable of taking the derivative of y = ex, and if you can't take the derivative of y = ex, either you are not studying or you are totally hopeless.) I haven't thrown myself into my work.

Rather, I've been ignoring all my real responsibilities. I've ignored the petty problems of students who can't follow directions. I didn't write the rest of Chapter 12. I didn't make the slides for next week's class.

Instead I watched The Fountain, baked a loaf of buttermilk-lavender bread, and knit a few more inches of the socks that I'm making. Played a bunch of Scrabble with The Topologist.

I suppose that I could complain about my TAs for the Calculus Circus. One put the graded-but-not-totaled and unsorted exams in my mailbox. I sorted the pile by TA and put the exams in the TAs' mailboxes for them to total the exams and record the scores. The TAs get double teaching points for being TAs for this class because it involves so much grading and scutwork -- by departmental tradition. I'm not required to do any grading, and yet I choose to do over 1/4 of the exam grading. Just wait until these TAs are promoted to teaching their own course (which doesn't come with double teaching points). They'll either get a wake up call or else you'll be reading something in this space when the undergrads start to complain.