Mathochism: Parting is NOT sweet sorrow

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

Algebra II is officially over. The final was tonight. I studied very hard, and hope it paid off; at any rate, there were no surprises on it, though I know I messed up on all three of the word problems

I have no idea how I did on the last chapter test, because the Brofessor couldn’t be bothered to grade it in time. We did go over every problem on the test (that was his idea of a semester review), but I was annoyed, because I couldn’t see where I may have gone wrong.

But that’s how it’s been all along, and I am officially done getting pissed about it. My average, should I have done worse on that test (I fear I did) than on the third test, is 85, since the Brofessor drops the worst grade. I’ve done all my homework. So if I get at least an 80 on the final, I’ll get a B. Hopefully I won’t get a C, though I don’t trust the Brofessor an inch.

So much for continuing my A streak! I take solace from my best friend, who told me that grasping the material is more important than getting a good grade. And I have grasped the material — logarithms, imaginary numbers, functions and matrices no longer faze me. I’m obviously having issues with word problems, who have become that frenemy who damns me with faint praise. I’m hoping said frenemy and I can mend our relationship at some point.

But an A would have been nice. Sigh.

Interestingly, the Brofessor attached a class evaluation to the final, and assured us that if we filled it out, but wanted to be anonymous, we could just hand it in separately. He promised a negative evaluation would not affect a student’s grade.

Riiight. Both the evaluation and the final are handwritten. It doesn’t take a graphologist to make a quick match between the two. And considering how defensive he has been whenever students have been even remotely critical of his teaching, I have zero faith that he would keep his word. I left it blank, and hope that won’t hurt me either. But it might.

I plan to evaluate him later, once the final grades are in. And then, I will send a copy of said evaluation to the chair of the math department. And I foresee an entry about it, and his response, on this blog.

At least the semester is over. I’m tired and relieved all at once. I can’t say I learned nothing, because I did. But this experience certainly lived up to the series name, and sadly, most of the pain I endured had nothing to do with the math.

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


  • This is just a thought. If you worry about retribution, you could always have someone else handwrite your evaluation. Or type it. Congratulations on having finished with the Brofessor!

  • Congratulations for sticking with it 🙂
    Also, re/ the professor – that’s an extraordinarily unhelpful way to get feedback. “Won’t affect your grade”, my arse – it sounds like you’re spot on in not believing that. Besides, unless you get the exam scripts back, with the marks attached, you’d never know whether your feedback had affected your mark. Good luck with the evaluation saga.

  • That strikes me as a highly unethical way to do evaluations. Where I work, the instructors can’t be in the room when evaluations are filled out, and the completed ones are taken, by a student, in a sealed envelope, to the department secretary. We don’t get to see them until after final grades are submitted, by which point handwriting recognition doesn’t matter. I don’t blame you for not trusting him.

  • This wasn’t a department affair — this was his own thing. Which made me even more wary!

  • At my college, our evaluations were put on separate sheets of paper and not seen by professors until after they’d turned in grades. I still wouldn’t tell professors I hated what I honestly thought, though.

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