Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Mathsquath IN.

Hey all,

Life has been hectic for me since I left CM. But, it has all slowed down a bit and I feel comfortable taking a correspondent position once more. And, since this is what CMers seem to like, a bit of smackdown!

Sorority Susan: You came to class the first day and then the next time you came back, you brought the wrong book. It is not my fault that you didn't listen when I told you which bookstores in town to go to. The Barnes and Noble at the local mall was not the right place. If you had bothered to read the ISBN I so helpfully put on the syllabus against the book you bought, you would have seen your mistake. Also, glaring at me while I graded your pitiful work did nothing to endear you to me. That your parting words were, "I'm not going to take this class again in a lab setting, since it doesn't help me," made me happier than you can imagine.

Mommy Maureen: I realize that it is tough to raise seven children and deal with a nagging spouse. I also realize how much working the swing shift can royally suck. But, you contracted to do the work when you signed up for the class. You were nowhere even close to earning an incomplete. That your life sucks is not an excuse. My life sucked this quarter and I still managed to get to work on time. (Well, I was 20-30 minutes late one snowy morning, but, otherwise, I was there on time.)

Procrastinating Penelope: I warned you at the beginning of the quarter that you would not be able to complete the entire class in the last few weeks. It being a lab class was part of it, but it was also a sincere way of trying to help you to manage your time wisely. You tried and showed me that you were at least capable of the work, but you did not complete the work, so you got an F. See you next quarter. Hopefully this time you will listen to me.

Touchy-Feely Thomas: Um, I know that you were trying to be nice, but touching me is off-limits. A handshake is fine, but a pat on the shoulder is uncalled for in 99.99999999% of the situations in which there is a teacher and a student. I do not pat students on the shoulder and they should not pat me on the shoulder. The only exception would be if you were family. But my family are either through with math or live far enough away from me that my teaching them would be near impossible. (My sister is the only exception and that was tutoring over the phone. Trust me, it's extremely difficult to tutor Math over the phone.)

Well, I don't want to sound too bitter about this past quarter, so I will end with some positives.

Boss Benny: That you went out of your way to make sure that I had what I needed to teach is fantastic. As far as the union thing goes, I say, "Fuck the union!" But it is not that simple, is it? I would not put your job in jeopardy to assure that I could go full-time sooner rather than later. You are the best boss I have ever had. Thank you.

Aides Aisha and Anica: You two were the best two work-study students I have ever seen. Thank you both for your continued help with the work. I would not have survived the last two week without your help. Saying thank you is hardly enough for all the work you did for me.

Mathsquatch out.
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  1. Good stuff... and it almost sounds like we have some students in common!

  2. You've got to stare at them and growl when they screw up.


  3. Return of the MATHS!!!

    Pleased to see you back with such a fine smack!

  4. Greetings, Mathsquatch! It's great to see you back, and in fine fighting form. Penelope, especially, sounds familiar (and semesters just give her sisters-in-spirit greater scope for succumbing to their predilection for procrastination).

    But I have to ask: "Fuck the union!"? Admittedly as a relatively low-paid academic employee in a right-to-work state, I have a bit of union envy, and no actual experience with the plusses and minuses of membership, but, if a union would speed you toward full-time status, or at least fairer pay for the work you do, wouldn't that be a good thing?

  5. I just finished grading my final exams, and, inevitably, I get a "love note" from at least 1 student begging to pass the course. This semester, it was a student with an average over four exams of 24, and out of 13 homework sets, submitted 5, with an average of 13. The overall grade is a weighted average of 65% of the exam average and 35% of the HW average (this is a pre-calculus course).

    I can't get over how every semester it is the same general scenario: the student that has the least chance of passing writes a note begging for a passing grade.

  6. Omigod I snorted cocoa out my nose at that username, LH. Excellent.

  7. @Contingent Cassandra: In this case, the job I have would go to a person above me with seniority regardless of the fact that I love my job and the boss and other workers seem to like me a lot. So, I am stuck in an adjunct position when, logically, the position should be full-time. So, in this case, Fuck the union! Otherwise, the benefits and fair-ish wages is a nice part of the union.


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