Tall, Dark, and Mysterious

3/1/2005

Another one bites the dust

File under: Those Who Can't. Posted by Moebius Stripper at 10:48 pm.

The recent drop deadline did not give rise to quite the eleventh-hour exodus that I’d anticipated, alas. But, as they say, quality over quantity. The girl who calls out “I don’t get it” whenever I finish an example - the one who finds everything I say to be hysterically funny - the one who bitches periodically that probability is tooo haaaard and that she wants to do eeeeaasier stuff and why do we have to do those questions about insurance policies and false positives on cancer tests and safety regulations on airplanes because that shit is like totally irrelevant to real life - she, unfortunately, is still enrolled. However, the girl she spends the entire class bitching and giggling TO, has taken leave. Drawing on my observations from junior high - because, I swear, that corner of the room is like SO junior high - I’m optimistic that the former cannot exist in her present form without the sympathy and validation of the latter. And my illusion that I was hired to teach grownups will survive another term.

How the mighty have fallen

File under: Those Who Can't. Posted by Moebius Stripper at 8:26 pm.

Sad day for student snark: it seems that my time with one of my muses, the clueless kid who signed up for eight classes (down to six, at last check of the database) - perhaps better known as the kid with the sandwich - has come to an abrupt and premature end: he’s transferring out of my class. This does not shock me: after the first class I taught with him, I predicted that he’d reveal himself as something other than a mathematical genius as soon as we moved onto material he’d never seen before. I was correct, but I could never have anticipated a decline as steep or as dramatic as that which came to pass: from brownnoser to bottom of the class in six short weeks. His performance on the last test (abysmal) prompted him to request entry into another instructor’s section of the course, explaining to said instructor simply that “[his] learning style was incompatible with [my] teaching style.”

Normally this is the sort of critique I’d want fleshed out in more detail, as I’m sensitive to my students’ differing means of processing knowledge, and I strive to accommodate them. In this case, however, there was no need, as my student had been so kind as to provide me with a glimpse into his unique learning style four weeks prior: slamming his notebook shut before I’d finished writing some assigned questions on the board, he declared, “I never do homework.” Sure enough, this is a learning style that is incompatible with my teaching style. Unfortunately for my former student, however, his new instructor’s teaching methods, while differing from mine on many fronts, share the bizarre and contemptible characteristic of requiring students to do some work outside of class. As the Nice Teacher was given the boot at the end of last semester, I fear that there’s no one in the math department currently fostering a flexible learning environment in which misunderstood geniuses such as my ex-student can thrive. In any event, not my problem anymore.