Thursday, February 13, 2014

a cynical rant on .. you guessed it: teaching!

i hate to say this .. but the more i think about it, the more it makes sense that good teachers slowly become negligent, if not bad, teachers.

at the moment i'm grading exams. for one problem, i'm quickly realising that most of my students weren't paying attention to me when i was patiently .. doing my best .. to explain how to deal with this one particular concept.

that's not the only exam problem where this phenomenon has come to pass.
if the students aren't paying attention to you, then what's the point of putting in the effort to teach them carefully?
coupled with the constant excuses of "i had to miss class because .." or "but my high school teacher told me .." it's enough to make you wonder how students ever learn mathematics at all, and if you were some sort of social mutation to whom maths was somehow natural ..
(to their credit, students rarely (if ever) complain further,
once they realise you are being fair with them .. well, in my experience, anyway.)

teaching well is as equally frustrating as doing good research .. the problem is that the former task has no real guarantee of working. it really depends on the students in your class, particularly their disposition. i've heard pundits made casual demands of educators, where
..if you're a good teacher, then you always get through to your students and they can succeed.
i believe that as much as if you work hard enough, then you can become a multi-millionaire. it is surely possible, but the odds are bad and most of the time, circumstances don't favor that outcome.

epilogue (as of 15 feb): on these student papers i seem to be writing "irrelevant" just as often as i write "false" or "incomplete" ..

on a related note, i wish i had some mind to talk about my research .. but this new professorial life makes it all but impossible to get anything done ..

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