Monthly Archives: February 2010

Mathochism: Second chances

One woman’s attempt to revisit the math that plagued her in school. But can determination make up for 25 years of math neglect?

The professor was late again, though only by five minutes or so. But even five minutes irritated me, since I got to class early and had not brought something to occupy my time other than grid paper, and there are only so many little squares you can fill in before it gets tiring.

But my irritation really stemmed from the fact that it seems unprofessional. And, considering his comments last week, I get the feeling professionalism is not high on his list of priorities, which makes me cagey.

There’s some good news, though. First, this course has a lot of material I’m already familiar with, so it’s a good way to really review and make sure my knowledge is solid. Second, once the Brofessor finally got to work, he knows his stuff. He’s also interested in making sure students understand why things work the way they do, which is good.

I worry that his way of explaining the way things work is a bit wooly, but I’m hoping that this is when my reporter training will kick in, and I will feel comfortable asking him to explain himself.

There are a few brodudes in class, but fortunately Jersey Shore boy is gone. I hope he won’t be back.

There is also a young woman — she may be deaf, I’m not sure — who has two aides with her. The aides take turns recording everything the Brofessor says, and she reads it on a computer screen. It’s an interesting way to deal with not being able to hear the lecture.

But I wonder how much she will get out of the class. What about questions? Will the aides ask for her? I’ll be interested to see how it works out.

All text copyrighted by A.K. Whitney, and cannot be used without permission.

Mathochism: Not a great start

One woman’s attempt to revisit the math that plagued her in school. But can determination make up for 25 years of math neglect?

The spring semester started this week, and I had my first Algebra II class last night.

All I can say about it so far is “Meh.”

I was excited about this class at first, but that excitement dissipated when I got a letter from the college last month telling me the dapper professor’s section had been cancelled. Dammit, dammit, dammit! I hope the reason was that he got a better job, but selfishly, I really wish that hadn’t happened.

Still, I felt lucky to get a spot in another section, since math classes are still scarce. But once I got to the classroom (in another building, without an elevator, with my knee misbehaving), it was stuffy. I got a desk next to a Jersey Shore-looking dude who texted non-stop.

The professor was late, and when he finally got to class, he spent the next two hours ranting at us about the lottery, credit card rates and car insurance.

Nope, no algebra.

His excuse? “I don’t like to get intense in the first class.”

He also made it clear teaching the class bored him, that he understood if we found it boring and that he planned to slip in plenty of “life lessons” with the xs and ys. The man looks to be in his mid-30s. To be brutal, I have no interest in being lectured on life by someone who was likely in middle school while I was in college.

I know my life lessons. Let’s focus on some polynomials, all right?

But I will give him a chance. Maybe when he finally gets around to teaching, he will redeem himself. I hope so. The dour professor was no charmer, but at least he taught. And if it bored him, he didn’t show it. Now there’s a life lesson.

All text copyrighted by A.K. Whitney, and cannot be used without permission.