Saturday, September 17, 2005

Things Like This Only Happen When I Teach Calculus

Friday night around 9:30pm, I got an email from a calculus student asking about one of the homework problems.

First off, my gen-ed students never send email about homework problem. If they can't do a problem they... I don't know. But they don't ask me about it. And I'm pretty sure that very, very, very few of them are thinking about doing math problems at 9:30pm on a Friday evening.

Now I realize that there are a number of possible scenarios here. My last two years of college, I lived at my House, and since we were a late-night house, our parties didn't officially start until 11pm and didn't really get going until 1am. So I would often be doing homework at 9:30pm on a Friday evening while waiting for things to get started. It's not that I'm accusing my student of being a loser with no social life or anything like that.

But now I am old and boring, so I had no Friday night plans (because Proof is only open in very limited release). I very well could have written back to my calculus student explaining that instead of trying to factor, it really is easier to do long division. But I didn't, as I don't want them to think that I am available to talk about calculus problems on Friday nights. Instead I waited until this morning to respond with the solution.